M. Verano’s Diary of a Haunting begins in the style similar to the novels of yesteryears- with an authority. Just as Le Fanu presents the story, Carmilla, as part of the casebook of Dr. Hesselius, Verano opens with an editor’s note from Montague Verano, Ph.D. Professor, Department of History, University of Idaho. This "documentary evidence" is interesting because Verano is indeed an associate professor of history. Verano acts as author, editor to this note, and later as a character. Nice.
The story follows Paige as she posts private diary entries online. Her parents have just divorced (a high-profile divorce since her parents have worked in LA in the movie business) and she has moved to Idaho with her mother and brother. They’ve moved into an old Victorian home that from the descriptions sounds like a Queen Anne.
Immediately, Paige is troubled by the swarm of flies that surround the front entrance (in WINTER!) and too many spiders to count. Oh, she has a phobia of spiders. To come to terms with the nature of the home and the infestation, Paige follows her brother’s recommendation and makes this more of a scientific pursuit. She counts and records details about the spiders and flies daily. This reminded me a great deal of Renfield in Dracula.
Aside from Paige becoming a social outcast and having to befriend the only goth girl in town, odd things begin to occur. There’s an odd neighbor, closed off windows and doors to rooms in the home, groceries disappear and reappear, words appear on a wall, and there is that pesky buzzing. As an aside, my fella just had me read an article about the hum. There’s an interesting parallel there.
Oh right, and the house that they’ve moved to use to be the home to an occultist/ cult leader.
The story is accompanied by pictures. I bought the hardback copy because, yeah, I’ll admit that I preferred the vellum cover.
This was a super quick read (two days?!? But then I do have a rather long train ride). It’s gotten pretty good reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. I would have loved it more but I recently read (and loved) Paul Tremblay’s A Head Full of Ghosts: A Novel (2015). They’re not that similar in plot but something resonated making Verano’s book liked just a bit less.