Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads

The House – Simon Lelic

Psychological Thriller
5*s

Wow!! Words fail me – well almost because this wouldn’t be much of a review if it had no words at all.

In short this book is scary, not altogether surprising since it features an old house in London jam-packed with the previous owner’s belongings including a collection of stuffed birds.

Told through a written letter between Sydney Baker and Jack Walsh detailing all the events and most intriguingly the secrets they’ve kept from each other. The author’s choice of this somewhat unusual writing style becomes absolutely clear but not until far later, in the meantime the freshness of the exchanges between the pair are hypnotic and make for totally compelling reading.

When you’re caught inside a dungeon, even the faintest flicker in the dark is like a promise of daylight. And if it turns out not to be, if it turns out instead to be a burning staircase… Well. You take your chances anyway.”

Now I don’t usually go in for gothic type books but if they are all as excellent as The House, I might well change my opinion. Only incrementally are the cause of the strange smells, the sounds that keep Jack on edge at night and the other events that turn their new beginning into a nightmare revealed in what I think is a masterclass of suspense writing. Yes, so far, all so textbook, albeit in the advanced section, but there is an element which really brings this book to life. The narrative in the first person is so well written, so close to actual speech that you can hear Syd and Jack talking to you it felt that real. There are moments of tenderness which alternate with phrases that capture the language those who practice defiant guilt, we hear of hard times behind the couple and hopeful times ahead and mixed amongst all of this are some genuinely funny moments as well as phrases that conjure up a whole heap of emotions behind what appears to be the throw-away lines.

Now I’ve seen enough horror films in my time to know never to go wandering about alone when there’s a suspected zombie in the vicinity, feline or otherwise. But there was no way I was going back to sleep, not until I’d at least had a quick look around. Plus, countering whatever fear I felt, I heard my dad’s voice telling me to stop behaving like a six-year-old.

About the only thing my father was afraid of was the prospect of maybe one day being called upon to express and emotion that wasn’t indignation.

There is misdirection aplenty and with a setting in a creepy house, two very dissimilar protagonists, ex-junkie Syd and the more laid back, but not entirely without issues Jack. Add to that the background of the purchase I was unsure what direction the book was going to take from the outset, but boy did I enjoy the journey.

But honestly right? The truth, the whole truth and nothing but. Honestly then, what I thought when I walked into the house was that it was somewhere Jack and I could be together until we were old. A forever house, that’s what they call it on the property shows, which when I hear it always makes me want to puke. But that didn’t stop me thinking it even so.

In case you haven’t got it, I loved this book, it is definitely one of my books of the year because not only was it compelling reading (if I’d known how compelling I would have waited for a less busy time so that I didn’t keep having to put it aside) but it had dark parts, light parts and each one was perfectly placed. The House delighted me whilst scaring me, it engaged me and inspired me to really look at the writing to try and work out what it was about it that made this book one that I’d have happily started all over again the instant I turned the last page.

I’d like to say a huge thank you to Penguin who allowed me to read a copy of The House prior to publication on 17 August 2017 (psst it is currently at an absolute bargain price for pre-order for the eBook in the UK) and the author Simon Lelic for delighting me, this review is my totally gushy but absolutely unbiased thanks to them.

First Published UK: 17 August 2017
Publisher: Penguin
No of Pages: 342
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Amazon UK
Amazon US (Audible only)

 

 

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (August 2)

This Week In Books
Hosted by Lipsy Lost & Found my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I am reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words

I have just started The House by Simon Lelic which will be published on 17 August 2017.

Blurb

Whose story do YOU believe?

Londoners Jack and Syd moved into the house a year ago. It seemed like their dream home: tons of space, the perfect location, and a friendly owner who wanted a young couple to have it.
So when they made a grisly discovery in the attic, Jack and Syd chose to ignore it. That was a mistake.
Because someone has just been murdered outside their back door. And now the police are watching them.

THIS STORY IS THEIR CHANCE…
TO PROVE THEY’RE INNOCENT.
OR TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER. Amazon

I have just finished Murder is Easy by Agatha Christie which was my thirteenth read for 20 Books of Summer 2017  (yes, for those of you keeping up, this is just how far I am with my review writing!!)

Blurb

Luke Fitzwilliam could not believe Miss Pinkerton’s wild allegation that a multiple murderer was at work in the quiet English village of Wychwood – or her speculation that the local doctor was next in line.

But within hours, Miss Pinkerton had been killed in a hit-and-run car accident. Mere coincidence? Luke was inclined to think so – until he read in The Times of the unexpected demise of Dr Humbleby… Amazon

Up next is Before the Poison by Peter Robison from my 20 Books of Summer Challenge

Blurb

After years of Hollywood success composer Chris Lowndes wanted only one thing: to take his beloved wife home to the Yorkshire Dales.
But Laura is gone, and Chris is on his own.
He welcomes the isolation of Kilnsgate House, and the beauty of the dale. And it doesn’t surprise him that a man died there, sixty years ago.
That his wife was convicted of murder.
That something is pulling him deeper and deeper into the story of Grace Elizabeth Fox, who was hanged by the neck until she was dead . . . Amazon

So that’s my reading week – What are you reading? Do share in the comments box below

Posted in Weekly Posts

Weekly Wrap Up (January 15)

Weekly Wrap Up

Considering this is a book review blog there has been a reduction in these here this week but I have now belatedly put up my page for my 2017 reviews which will keep me motivated, I hope.

This Week on the Blog

On Monday I launched a new project Put A Book On The Map which aims to bring authors, bloggers and blogs together based around the location of a UK crime fiction novel. This took off far better than I expected and I am working through everyone who contacted me to join in, in one capacity or another. Thank you so much for all your offers of help, I will be in touch very soon, if I haven’t been already. I’m pleased to announce that we have the first blogger author pairings for the first four posts so watch this space!

My excerpt post this week came from Tattletale by Sarah J Naughton with a description of a pool of blood, sorry for anyone who was trying to eat while reading that one.

My This Week in Books post was very special as it announced the first author to feature in Put A Book On The Map as Mary-Jane Riley with her Alex Devlin series, I’m reading After She Fell – if any bloggers want there review to feature on the day and you haven’t already done so, please drop me an email or comment below.

Finally I posted a review of A Dangerous Crossing by Rachel Rhys which I’m pleased to announce got the full five stars.

This Time Last Year…

I was reading The Widow by Fiona Barton, a tale of the widow of ‘A Monster’ as the media proclaimed him to be. With a three-way narrative between The Widow, The Reporter and The Detective that made me forget that this was actually fiction as events over four years were revealed. You can read my full review here

The Widow

Blurb

We’ve all seen him: the man – the monster – staring from the front page of every newspaper, accused of a terrible crime.

But what about her: the woman who grips his arm on the courtroom stairs – the wife who stands by him?

Jean Taylor’s life was blissfully ordinary. Nice house, nice husband. Glen was all she’d ever wanted: her Prince Charming.

Until he became that man accused, that monster on the front page. Jean was married to a man everyone thought capable of unimaginable evil.

But now Glen is dead and she’s alone for the first time, free to tell her story on her own terms.

Jean Taylor is going to tell us what she knows. Amazon

Stacking The Shelves

Well I was being good but there were always going to be some exceptions to me gaining more books and one of those is when it is an author whose book I simply must have… as in Elly Griffiths and her latest in the Ruth Galloway series, The Chalk Pit which I was lucky enough to receive a copy via NetGalley. The Chalk Pit will be published on 23 February 2017.

the-chalk-pit

Blurb

Something evil is waiting in the dark tunnels under Norwich – forensic archaeologist Dr Ruth Galloway had better watch her step

Boiled human bones have been found in Norwich’s web of underground tunnels. When Dr Ruth Galloway discovers they were recently buried, DCI Nelson has a murder enquiry on his hands. The boiling might have been just a medieval curiosity – now it suggests a much more sinister purpose.

Meanwhile, DS Judy Johnson is investigating the disappearance of a local rough sleeper. The only trace of her is the rumour that she’s gone ‘underground’. This might be a figure of speech, but with the discovery of the bones and the rumours both Ruth and the police have heard that the network of old chalk-mining tunnels under Norwich is home to a vast community of rough sleepers, the clues point in only one direction. Local academic Martin Kellerman knows all about the tunnels and their history – but can his assertions of cannibalism and ritual killing possibly be true?

As the weather gets hotter, tensions rise. A local woman goes missing and the police are under attack. Ruth and Nelson must unravel the dark secrets of The Underground and discover just what gruesome secrets lurk at its heart – before it claims another victim. NetGalley

I also have a copy of The House by Simon Lelic which isn’t going to be published until August but sounds fascinating and I loved The Child Who by this author.

the-house

Blurb

What if your perfect home turned out to be the scene of the perfect crime?

Londoners Jack and Syd moved into the house a year ago. It seemed like their dream home: tons of space, the perfect location, and a friendly owner who wanted a young couple to have it. So when they made a grisly discovery in the attic, Jack and Syd chose to ignore it. That was a mistake. Because someone has just been murdered. Right outside their back door. And now the police are watching them… NetGalley

And then I was extremely lucky to win four, yes four, books from Chrissi Reads who was celebrating, you’ve guessed it, four years of blogging. I have followed Chrissi’s brilliant blog which takes in her career change to primary school teacher, since I began blogging and urge you to check her out too.

You can imagine my delight to look through my rather large wishlist to select my four choices, I eventually came to a decision…

Presumed Innocent by Scott Turow

presumed-innocent

Blurb

Prosecutor Rusty Sabich enters a nightmare world when Carolyn, a beautiful attorney with whom he has been having an affair, is found raped and strangled. He stands accused.
‘One thing is certain: if you start Presumed Innocent you will finish it – it grips like an octopus, and Scott Turow unwinds the plot with brilliant cat-and-mouse meanness’ Sunday Times Amazon

Then I moved to something a little lighter; That Girl From Nowhere by Dorothy Koomson – this book will be passed to my dear booklover friend as her books were how our friendship was forged many years ago.

the-girl-from-nowhere

Blurb

Where are you coming from with that accent of yours?’ he asks.
‘Nowhere,’ I reply. ‘I’m from nowhere.’
‘Everyone’s from somewhere,’ he says.
‘Not me,’ I reply silently.

Clemency Smittson was adopted as a baby and the only connection she has to her birth mother is a cardboard box hand-decorated with butterflies. Now an adult, Clem decides to make a drastic life change and move to Brighton, where she was born. Clem has no idea that while there she’ll meet someone who knows all about her butterfly box and what happened to her birth parents.

As the tangled truths about her adoption and childhood start to unravel, a series of shocking events cause Clem to reassess whether the price of having contact with her birth family could be too high to pay… Amazon

I also chose Broken Heart by Tim Weaver as I hadn’t got this, the latest in the David Raker series.

broken-heart

Blurb

Where did she go?
What did she know?
A woman drives to a secluded beauty spot on the Somerset coast.
CCTV watches her enter but doesn’t see her leaving.
In fact, Lynda Korin is never seen again.
How can someone just disappear?
Her sister calls missing persons investigator David Raker.
For him, the mystery of where she went is only the start. The real question is why a woman with no reason to run would choose to leave her entire life behind?
Was it her decision? Or did someone make it for her?
Raker is an expert at following the echoes of decades-old lies. But only Lynda Korin knows the most shocking secret of all – and she’s missing, presumed dead…Amazon

And lastly I chose Bonjour Tritesse by Françoise Sagan which I came across a brilliant review for on Jaqui Wine’s Journal and she enjoyed it so much she featured it in her best reads of 2016.
Blurb

Bonjour Tristesse tells the story of Cécile, who leads a carefree life with her widowed father and his young mistresses until, one hot summer on the Riviera, he decides to remarry – with devastating consequences. Amazon

What have you found to read this week – do share!

tbr-watch

Since my last post I’ve read 3 books but gained a grand total of 6 new ones giving the grand total of 187

Physical Books – 106
Kindle Books – 70
NetGalley Books – 12