By Kate Ward
February 04, 2009 at 05:00 AM EST
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When Kate and Stuart decide to move into a charming fixer-upper to repair their marriage, they have no idea that the house was once the scene of a murder — or that Walker,? the man helping Kate with the renovations, is actually the killer on parole. This isn’t a haunted-house story in ?the traditional sense, but it’s still just as chilly. Valerie Laken’s eerily enticing home with a bloody past forces its present and past inhabitants into a kind of spooked hopelessness, squashing any possibility of fulfilling the American dream. Laken juggles the multiple story lines in Dream House with ease, but doesn’t have the same deft hand with her characters, particularly the annoyingly clichéd Kate and Stuart. B

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