by Balog, Cyn

Seda, sixteen, feels her invisible childhood nemesis, Sawyer, growing stronger just as a group of stranded teens takes shelter from a blizzard in the dilapidated mansion Seda's mother inherited.

At first Seda, 16, enjoys exploring the cavernous Bismarck-Chisholm House, the remote mansion deep in the mountains, that her mom inherited. Once a murder mystery hotel, it's still decorated like a gothic horror film set. Months later, however, Seda is tired of her nightmarish new home, where her siblings (two sets of twins, ages 4 and 6) are her only company. Time alone isn't good for Seda, who is plagued by a dark voice she believes is her unborn twin. Seda has a bad feeling when a group of teens takes shelter at the mansion during a blizzard, and it's borne out when everyone agrees to play the macabre game her mother has designed. This is the perfect premise for a chilling tale, and Balog fills every inch with classic horror references, red herrings, and uncertain motivations. As Balog gradually builds tension and paranoia, she manipulates reader expectations to set up several possible endings, yet still manages to end with a shocker. This is fantastically creepy psychological horror. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

A thriller in a decrepit, isolated mansion—and in the double-occupancy mind of a teen girl.When Seda's professor mother, a horror-film scholar, inherits the crumbling remains of what was once a rural hotel used to host murder-mystery events, the family's supposed to have a quick summer to tidy it up for sale. But her mom stalls and vetoes any prospective buyer who doesn't want to run it as-is, leaving her and her children (Seda and two sets of younger twins, each a boy-girl pair, ages 6 and 4) stuck on the mountain come fall. Seda wishes she could be more alone in her own head, though—she's plagued by her lifelong imaginary friend, Sawyer, who tells her to hurt herself and others. Seda suspects he was her own twin, absorbed in the womb. Sawyer knows it's a bad idea to let the teens stranded by a snowstorm into the house, but Heath, their spokesman, is cute, and Seda's mom insists, roping everyone into a murder-mystery game she's written for Seda's birthday celebra tion. Just when readers are lulled into a false sense of security—and even Seda notes Sawyer's silence—the elaborate game heats up. Each new bit of information builds, and in a house full of potential victims, readers will be compelled to rush and unravel the twisted mystery. Aside from one Chinese character, the cast is white; at one point Heath playacts Robert E. Lee. A bloody, wonderfully creepy scare ride. (Horror. 12-adult) Copyright Kirkus 2017 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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