Please note that I gave this book 3.5 stars, but rounded it up to 4 stars on Goodreads.
The facts are these:
On November 13, 1974, Ronald DeFeo, Jr. shot and killed six members of his family at 112 Ocean Avenue, situated in a suburban neighborhood in Amityville, on the south shore of Long Island, New York. He was convicted of second-degree murder in November 1975.
In December 1975, George and Kathy Lutz and their three children moved into the house. After 28 days, the Lutzes left the house, claiming to have been terrorized by paranormal phenomena while living there
Jay Anson then wrote a book about the Lutzes experiences they had and what ultimately caused them to flee the house.
First off, if this was a fiction book I would have given it 5 stars. Parts of the book you start to think of as too outlandish to be true (I will get to that later), but Anson takes a deft look at George and Kathy and manages to make you feel everything that they experienced. The story is broken up between these two and a priest that came to bless the house who reportedly became ill shortly after visiting, and felt as if he was being spiritually attacked by a presence from the house.
The reason why I gave this 3.5 stars is what I found out after i finished this book.
I did not really like George Lutz most of the book. It didn't make a lot of sense what was going on with him. I think that Anson also unwittingly revealed an angle for why the Lutzes would lie about something like this too based on a couple of things that George was upset about (IRS audit, paying a lot of money for the home, etc.). Kathy I felt detached from a lot in the book because we don't really get a sense of her until things progress further along. I had a lot of questions about her first marriage, how she met George, and her family. The two of them felt very cut off from me as a reader.
The priest in the story didn't come off well at all (he pretty much leaves the Lutzes to their fate) and that whole aspect didn't really make a lot of sense. Plus I was curious how Anson would go and interview someone and get them to admit that they pretty much didn't care about an innocent family, he just wanted to be safe from harm.
The writing definitely sets the mood and you keep waiting for something more terrible to happen to the Lutzes. Part of you starts to wonder if they are not just feeling things because they moved into a home where several people were murdered.
The flow at times gets a lot choppy because a lot of things really didn't make sense here or there (the pig named Jodie) and the book at times would have an event happen but the family would ignore it.
Anson brought in some details about the home (there are drawings included), but not much about the neighborhood or even the founding of Amitville. George Lutz makes an outrageous claim about a former owner and an Indian burial ground (isn't there always one) and it doesn't appear that Anson fact checked him at all.
Now onto why I only gave this book 3.5 stars. After I completed this I of course found out that it is more than likely (99 percent true) that the Lutzes in league with a defense attorney of Ronald DeFeo Jr. fabricated this whole story in order to make money. The Lutzes were in trouble with the iRS, they had spent too much on the home. At one point a brother in law comes over and his money is misplaced and the Lutzes heavily imply the spirits must have done it (yeah my bet is they stole it). The Lutzes went and sued a host of people (just Google) and the trial showed that the book was fiction.
I am honestly wishing I had read another book for this square, oh well. I do say that since it is a classic horror novel (I read this not only for bingo, but also for my Horror 2016 book list) that is recommended to horror readers, I am glad that I finally read this.