The House by Simon Lelic – A Review

Advanced download via Netgalley
Publication Date: 17th August 2017

When I read the blurb on this book via Netgalley, I knew I had to request it because it sounded right up my street.  I’ve made no secret of the fact that I love a book based around a house, especially if they are sinister or creepy in some way and this one definitely sounded just that.

Now, based on the premise I was expecting something a little different than what I actually ended up reading, but in a good way. I think I initially expected more of a supernatural element and I’m not sure why.  What I got was a twisty turny crime/psychological thriller which surprised me at every turn and kept on surprising me throughout.

So what’s the story? Well, we start by meeting young married couple Sydney and Jack who are at an open viewing of a house.  The house itself is portrayed as being quite unusual, filled with the previous owners artifacts and belongings which were left behind when the owner left fairly quickly.

Jack and Sydney end up purchasing the house and events unfold from there.  The story is told via both Jack and Sydney’s points of view and the idea is that the story is a document they are producing to keep track of the various events and happenings at the house in order to show somebody some evidence of what’s been occurring should they need to.  I must admit that at first I didn’t like this writing style.  I enjoy a dual narrative but Jack and Sydney seemed to communicate to each other via this ‘manuscript’ they were writing, each picking the other up on things they’d said in the previous section.  Luckily, this only continued for a few pages at the start and then fell back into a normal dual/split narrative with them each telling the story of events from their point of view.

This story in the main focuses on Sydney’s troubled abusive past with her father, and her current relationship with Jack which is tested to it’s limits.  Sydney also gets involved with a young girl living across the street from her who is pretty much living the same troubled childhood as Sydney did.

As I said earlier, I didn’t expect some of the twists, and I enjoyed the little cliff hanger sentences at the end of some of the sections which you then had to wait until that person spoke again to pick up where they left off and explain what they meant!

It is not by any means an easy read in terms of content, there are lots of examples of abusive situations, both physical and psychological but I don’t think it in anyway sensationalised the subject.  It wasn’t just thrown in for shock value and at times there were parts of the story and exchanges between Jack and Syd that were quite amusing (without taking away from the serious central storyline).

There is an overall sinister vibe running through this story and some of the little happenings in the house build on this.  Ultimately I enjoyed this book despite taking a little while to get into the story and writing style.  If psychological thrillers are your bag then I would definitely recommend this one.

This was a solid 3 star read for me.
Mand xxx



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