Monday, October 10, 2016

The Graveyard Apartment - For Sale - Cheap! (review)

TITLE: The Graveyard Apartment
AUTHOR: Mariko Koike (translated by Deborah Boliver Boehm)
PUBLISHER: Thomas Dunne Books
PUBLISHING DATE: October 11, 2016

FROM GOODREADS: A terrifying tale of a young family who move into an apartment building next to a graveyard and the horrors that are unleashed upon them.

One of the most popular writers working in Japan today, Mariko Koike is a recognized master of detective fiction and horror writing. Known in particular for her hybrid works that blend these styles with elements of romance, The Graveyard Apartment is arguably Koike’s masterpiece. Originally published in Japan in 1986, Koike’s novel is the suspenseful tale of a young family that believes it has found the perfect home to grow in to, only to realize that the apartment’s idyllic setting harbors the specter of evil and that longer they stay, the more trapped they become.

This tale of a young married couple who are harboring a dark secret is packed with dread and terror, as they and their daughter move into a brand new apartment building built next to a graveyard. As strange and terrifying occurrences begin to pile up, people in the building begin to move out one by one, until the young family is left alone with someone... or something... lurking in the basement. The psychological horror builds moment after moment, scene after scene, culminating with a conclusion that will make you think twice before ever going into a basement again.

MY THOUGHTS:  I really had to give this rating some thought and vacillated between 3/5 and 4/5 for quite some time. However, in the long run, I decided to go with 4 stars because I really did enjoy the story and there were quite a few creepy factors.

In the very beginning, Misao and Teppei, along with their daughter Tomao and dog Cookie, move into the a new 4th floor luxury apartment. The deal they got on the place seems too good to be true and everyone ia happy, at least for a few days. The trouble starts when the family bird, Pyoko, dies the first night in the apartment. Now right from the bat, I found this little bird ghost extremely creepy because he returns to the apartment to deliver messages to Tomao and leaves little feathers as reminders from time to time. I don't know why I found Pyoko horrifying, but I did. There was just something about him. Soon, the family learns that something mysterious is going on in the basement of the apartment where everyone has a storage unit. In addition, the high rise has been built right next to a historic graveyard and crematorium.

Soon Misao and her neighbor figure out something is haunting the building and after a few strange occurrences and an injury or two, everyone, including the caretakers, move out, leaving Misao and her family all alone. They are desperately trying to move, but since they sunk most of their money into the new mortgage, it takes them quite a bit of convincing.

This books is a new translation from an 1980's Japanese horror novel. Overall, I think it was done very well and "The Graveyard Apartment" was quite an easy read. Also, although not easily scared by books, I found this book to be high on what I like to call "the creep factor." The plot kept me guessing and I found myself always wondering what would happen next. Also, I really have to give the book extra points for the cover. - it's beautiful and creepy and everything else I want in a horror cover. These are the main reasons I went with a 4/5.

That isn't to say I don't have a few issues. I have mixed emotions on the ending and while I don't hate it, I really wanted more (once you read it you will understand). Also, Misao and Teppei began their relationship while Teppei was still married to his first wife, who eventually killed herself. Perhaps because of this, I didn't really like either character very much and this tragedy keeps hanging over the family's head throughout the novel, but in actuality, doesn't play that large a part in what the family is experiencing. I think the suicide could have been worked in a tad bit better. In addition, who puts a storage basement in an apartment building that can only be accessed by an elevator and not stairs? Is this even legal? Enough said.

Overall "The Graveyard Apartment" really was a good read, especially since Halloween is right around the corner. It definitely has Japanese horror movie vibes, and I think it would make a pretty good screen adaptation. If you like horror, it's definitely worth giving it a try.

On a completely unrelated side note - I am an animal lover, especially my pups. The entire book I kept waiting for the shoe to drop on Cookie and couldn't help but think she was placed in the book only to meet some horrible outcome. This anticipation did slightly take away from my enjoyment of the book. I do realize this is probably not something others will have an issue with though. If you need to learn more about Cookie's fate prior to picking up "The Graveyard Apartment," private message me and I will clue you in :)

I received this book from Thomas Dunne Books in exchange for an honest review.




  1. Sounds absolutely chilling - and eep, you have me nervous now about dog's fate, but I will resist the curiosity and wait to find out when I read this, hopefully soon.

    ~Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

  2. Okay, now I am really curious and I have this one to read. Fingers crossed I will like it, the bird sounds

  3. Oh no Cookie! I do find that I cringe every time there is a dog character in a horror novel because, well, you know what normally happens. I'm a bird person as well as a dog person so I'm not too happy about poor Pyoko but very curious to see why he's so creepy. Can't wait to read this!

  4. Great review and I love that you said, "Run, Cookie, Run!" I really wish horror as genre would stop with having animals being harmed. Anytime there is an animal in anything horror (whether the animal eventually comes to harm or not) I just cringe. I agree with you that this book is pretty creepy. I really enjoyed it and well you already know how I feel about the ending. ;)