Reviewing The House by Simon Lelic

I am part of a book blog tour! I love these because a) I get to read a book well before publication, and b) well, I get to read a book well before publication.  Initially I wasn’t sent an actual copy of a The House. I was sent an envelope with a set of keys and a clue to unlocking a website….

Once I managed to solve that clue I was sent a copy of this book. It arrived almost perfectly as my holiday to Canada began so into my hand luggage it went. Enter stage left my mum who decided that she wanted to travel to Canada without hand luggage. I don’t know what her plan was – to survive a ten hour flight on wishful thinking and glitter? – but she lasted about three minutes after take-off before asking me if she could read The House. Since I am The Best Daughter In The World, I gave her the book and then spent a sizeable amount of time watching her plough through it, trying not to scream at one more exclamation of shock.

And this is why she was so thoroughly enjoying The House:

THE PERFECT COUPLE. THE PERFECT HOUSE. THE PERFECT CRIME.

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.

Once I was able to get my hands on the book, I read it during evenings relaxing in Canada feeling very, very thankful that my life wasn’t anything like that of Jack and Syd: my attic is full of empty suitcases and lego and nothing belonging to the previous owner.

The two of them are very normal – wonderfully so. The House is told from both their points of views (in alternating chapters) so as the novel unfolds we find out more about them, their relationship with each other, the secrets they are hiding from each other, and their motivation for their actions. I wanted to know what was happening so badly and only when I was able to read it did I understand why my mum was completely absorbed!

With each chapter the two of them rebut and answer questions the other one raised in the previous chapter. I found this really interesting and so much more absorbing than a more ‘normal’ diary style narration. It was as if the two of them were talking to each other via me as the reader.

In the end I didn’t like either of them but that didn’t stop me loving them, if that makes sense! Once upon a time I used to have to like characters in order to love them but the more I read the less important liking becomes. There were well written, very convincing, and nicely developed. I didn’t agree with their decisions or judgements but I understood how they got there and why they acted how they did.

The House is creepy. Oh so creepy. I never read horror (or watch horror) and Lelic had me ploughing through a story combining horror with suspense and thriller. I had no idea what to expect even if my imagination was going crazy. The twists and turns were clever and unexpected and all credit must go to Lelic.

I have tried to keep this review as spoiler free as possible because discovering exactly what’s happening without knowing anything was so satisfying. This book is excellent, unputdownable, and has me very excited to read what Lelic writes next. What I didn’t expect was that the story would linger long after I finished the last page but linger it has. It’s a really good book – I highly recommend it.

As I said I am part of the blog tour for this book. Have a look at the other amazing people taking part and make sure you check out their posts!

Disclaimer: I was sent this book for free as part of the blog tour. This has not influenced my review at all. 

 

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