Give me the short version:
Haunted house is haunted. I'm no high-and-mighty literary sort. My favourite books are long ones that bring on the giggles during the day and gibbering horrors come nightfall. Or, as in the case of House of Dead Trees, have me lying in bed for hours with eyes resolutely clamped shut, running through a neurotic list of things I shouldn't think about lest they lead to nightmares. House of Dead Trees is, quite frankly, charming and it's all about the characters in their flawed human glory. Dedicated horror readers will also pounce on the little pastiche of references sprinkled throughout with the glee of children on a scavenger hunt. In light of the main bulk I felt the ending rather rushed; similar to closing time when you're really enjoying yourself at a pub. The lights go up and suddenly you find yourself blinking and bewildered out on the cold pavement. Luckily the story's fun doesn't reside within the house, but rather in joining the characters in getting there.