Suburban Hell by Maureen Kilmer is a horror-comedy ready to make you pour one out with your PTA. Amy Foster has a great friend group in her little suburbs, but things go awry when Liz gets…possessed?
All quotes are from an advanced reader copy, and may or may not reflect the published edition.
Amy Foster considers herself lucky. After she left the city and went full minivan, she found her place quickly with neighbors Liz, Jess, and Melissa, together snarking the “Mom Mafia” from the outskirts of the PTA mom crowd. So, one night during their monthly wine get-together, the newfound crew concoct a plan for a clubhouse She Shed in Liz’s backyard – the perfect space for just them, no spouses or kids allowed.
But the night after they christen the space with a ceremonial drink, things start to feel…off. What they didn’t expect was for Liz’s little home improvement project to release a demonic force that turns their quiet suburban enclave into something out of a nightmare. And that’s before the Homeowners’ Association gets wind of it.
Just as Liz is turned into a creepy doll face overnight, cases of haunting activity around the neighborhood intensify, and even the calmest moms can’t justify the strange burn marks, self-moving dolls, and horrible smells surrounding their possessed friend, Liz. Together, Amy, Jess, and Melissa must fight back the evil spirit to save Liz and the neighborhood…before the suburbs go completely to hell. But at least they don’t have to deal with the PTA, right?
Characters: 7 | Atmosphere: 7 | Writing: 5 | Plot: 5 | Intrigue: 5 | Logic: 8 | Enjoyment: 5
“It was time to fight, and moms were the ones on the front lines.”
This book wasn’t bad, but it also wasn’t the humorous horror I was looking forward to reading. I’m not sure if this is the fault of my own expectation or the way this seems to be marketed. Most of the humor here is more in the irony, rather than anything that would make you laugh out loud. Our main characters are your standard “I’m not like other moms, I’m a cool mom” suburban mothers, each clinging to who they were prior to suburbia heavily.
“Our sanctuaries were about to become her playgrounds.”
I found the horror aspect of this really pulled from 80’s exorcism movies and this was done pretty well. The comparison to Grady Hendrix made sense here, as his book “My Best Friend’s Exorcism” does…well pretty much the exact same thing. The concept of suburban moms turned [insert horror trope here, lol] isn’t too new, and unfortunately, this book didn’t really bring anything new to the table to set it apart.
“If this was true, then the antidote was clear: Friendship. Camaraderie.”
Some of the plot points felt jagged and detached, but it all comes together in the end, though, of course, the power of friendship. This is definitely in the category of a beach read horror for me, a very quick read without heavy emotional baggage attached to it. Not bad but, not exactly mind-blowing either.
“Moms were the ones who had to fix problems. From small things like a skinned knee to bigger ones like supernatural forces trying to take over our families. It was up to us to save the neighborhood. And I knew that was how it had always been and how it would always be.”
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.