Top positive review
From "The Horror Fiction Review"
November 30, 2012
Anything but "ho-hum another haunted house book," The Haunted opens with a stylish nod to the all-time classic Hill House. The house should just be left alone. The locals know that, and for the most part respect it.
But someone, or something, must not agree ... because when the old `For Sale' sign out front eventually falls down, it's mysteriously replaced ... and from time to time, outsiders move in.
The latest outsiders to do so are Sarah and Cap, who've put everything they've got into making this new start. They've got a baby on the way, and they're eager to escape a painful past that Sarah refers to as The Before.
This is of course a maddening tease most skillfully handled by an author who really knows his stuff. You're wild to know what tragedy and trauma constitutes The Before, while at the same time you're desperately worried for Cap, Sarah and the baby.
The house starts in on them when they haven't even gotten all the boxes out of the moving truck yet. They go through the usual, logical mental steps that anybody would take to try and explain the first few weirdnesses - imagination, stress, crazy pregnancy hormones, etc. - but they've barely begun unpacking when those excuses are no longer options.
Vivid nightmares, creepy phenomena, terrifying images on the nursery monitor ... they know they should leave, they want to, but they can't. They can't for mundane reasons (money) and personal territorial/stubborn ones (this is THEIR house!), but also because, while the house is seemingly demanding they go, it also won't let them get away.
It might seem like straightforward haunting fare up until that point, albeit exceptionally well-written haunting fare because Collings is one prizefighter of a writer who should, in a just world, be raking in the fame and big-money book deals by now.
Then he finally hits you with The Before, and it's a TKO. Bam. Down. Kissing the canvas. Little stars and tweety birds wheeling around your head. I mean seriously, I got chills and goosebumps, I had to step away from the book a moment and walk around going, "wow ... damn ... oh wow."
Superstar. I'm telling you. This guy deserves to be a superstar. Wow.