First off -- I obviously did a lot of reading yesterday. (g) The good news is that I got my cookies baked and shipped off to big sis. Secondly, I'm WAY behind on reviews, so some of these may be short.
Brief Synopsis: On a deserted backroad in Alabama, two couples find themselves stranded when both of their vehicles are sabotaged. Left with no other option, they take refuge in what appears to be a charming country inn. However, looks are very deceiving. (muhahaha) The couples find themselves captives of the three "inbreds" who live there, and pawns in a game being played by a serial killer named the Tinman. What they soon discover is that the inn is no ordinary house, and the only way out is to play by his rules. In order for three to live, they must kill the fourth.
This book was...bizarre. I honestly can't say I enjoyed it much, though it kept me turning the pages -- mostly out of a pure need to understand wtf was up with this house. (g) So on that score, it succeeded.
Unfortunately, it failed on many levels. I didn't really get a great sense of the characters -- they were a bit thinly drawn and not all that likeable. I didn't find myself cheering them on and their survival honestly didn't matter all that much by the end. The "locals" were too stereotypical and their inclusion seemed unnecessary.
The plot was a bit confusing -- it DID make sense in the end, but well, I'm not sure it tied up in a satisfactory manner. To be honest, I felt like the religious angle (introduced rather late in the book) was a bit preachy. And the supernatural elements...eh, I think they would make more sense in a film, but were exceedingly difficult to picture on the page. I think the combination of the two is what really turned me off here. I've read several of Peretti's books--which have all had a religious message of some sort--and enjoyed them greatly. Something was just off here.
The end? CHEESE. (g)
Anyway, it's a fast read -- the writing is clean, though a bit uneven in spots. The supernatural elements were interesting, though I'm not sure they were terribly unique. Overall, not a book I would probably want to read again. I'd give it a 2/5 stars.
Buy or Rent? Rent.