The House
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...

The House Details

TitleThe House
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseNov 2nd, 2017
PublisherPenguin UK
ISBN-139780241296547
Rating
GenreThriller, Fiction, Mystery

The House Review

  • Paromjit
    January 1, 1970
    This is a wonderfully dark and twisted psychological thriller by Simon Lelic. It shifts and runs into unexpected places, different from the blurb given about the book. Jack has uncomfortable feelings about a London house that his girlfriend, Syd Baker, thinks is perfect for them. To their surprise, given they tendered a lower offer, the owner chooses them. When something is too good to be true, they should have been more wary, but they move in without a second thought. The previous owner has lef This is a wonderfully dark and twisted psychological thriller by Simon Lelic. It shifts and runs into unexpected places, different from the blurb given about the book. Jack has uncomfortable feelings about a London house that his girlfriend, Syd Baker, thinks is perfect for them. To their surprise, given they tendered a lower offer, the owner chooses them. When something is too good to be true, they should have been more wary, but they move in without a second thought. The previous owner has left behind all his belongings, which the happy couple begin to sort through. However, there are strange sounds, and gruesome discoveries in the attic. There is a child's treasure box with a familiar name on it. The story begins with the police watching the house, with Jack and Syd writing down their experiences of living there, with the occasional contentious perception. This is a novel about the past haunting the present with its firm and tenacious grip.The narrative is delivered through our couple, Jack and Syd, documenting how their lives begin to spiral out of their control. Jack is a housing officer who goes out of his way to help his desperate clients. He is not close with his middle class parents who disapprove of Syd. Syd's past contains trauma and drug taking, making her a more volatile character, but she is committed to Jack, hoping for a more settled future with him. Syd's mother visits and recognises a picture on their wall. Syd finds herself becoming close to Elsie Payne, a young girl that lives locally. We learn of the details of the historical past of Syd and Jack, and how it connects to their dire present situation. This is a story that covers the issues of dysfunctional families, fathers, trust, loss and the search for justice, by whatever means possible.Lelic has a gripping writing style that just grabs the reader right from the beginning. His plotting is remarkably well handled, and the narrative is so compelling, tense and suspenseful, driven by the well executed twists. I find psychological thrillers a hit or miss affair, this is a hit in every sense, I can see this being a bestseller, and deservedly so. What is really outstanding is the characters of Jack and Syd, they are superbly developed, particularly Syd. A morally ambiguous and brilliant read that I highly recommend! Many thanks to Penguin for an ARC.
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  • Amalia Gavea
    January 1, 1970
    ’This thing I’ve planned for so carefully: it has all gone drastically, horribly wrong.’’ Well, this proved to be a very difficult review for me to write. Not because I didn't like the book, obviously. I didn’t just ‘’like’’ it, I enjoyed it so much that I started composing bits and pieces of my review at around 50% mark. The ‘’problem’’ is that there are so many twists and turns and hidden secrets in the story that I was terrified I would slip up and spoil everything. So, this is going to be s ’This thing I’ve planned for so carefully: it has all gone drastically, horribly wrong.’’ Well, this proved to be a very difficult review for me to write. Not because I didn't like the book, obviously. I didn’t just ‘’like’’ it, I enjoyed it so much that I started composing bits and pieces of my review at around 50% mark. The ‘’problem’’ is that there are so many twists and turns and hidden secrets in the story that I was terrified I would slip up and spoil everything. So, this is going to be short.We follow the story of Syd and Jack, a young couple who has just been offered a deal for a house that they’ve never believed would come to them. The house is an impressive building, in a beautiful London neighbourhood and it is as if it ‘’chose’’ them for its owners. However, Jack has a feeling that there is something dodgy with the house and especially with the circumstances under which the previous owner left all of his belongings behind to start a new life in Australia following a woman he met online.The writing style is something that I haven’t seen recently and it is engaging and makes the book flow nicely. It is an exchange- in written form- between Syd and Jack, their experiences before they met each other, their life together, an attempt to clarify their thoughts and make sense of the things that have happened to them.Because of this technique, we don't have elaborate speeches and complex descriptions. We have clear interactions and everyday language, but given in a coherent way, as if we’re eavesdropping the discussion between two people, as if we’re reading their diaries.There is nothing pretentious and Simon Lelic has done a wonderful job.To say anything about the characters is a risk, because I’m unable to refer to them without giving away parts of the plot. I’m just going to say that Syd and Jack are people you will care about and they will lead you safely throughout the story. Syd was especially interesting, a complex character that was well-matched to her more vulnerable, more thoughtful partner.Also, there are two ‘’fathers’’ whose behaviour is going to a) make you furious, and b) give you nightmares.The moments where the writer takes us back in time and lets us into the past of the characters are amazingly composed and they are integral to the whole story. They aren’t just background information, they are linked to the troubles of the present. Here is where writers show their ability to go back and forth in time, all the while keeping the readers interested and invested in the plot. I’m saying this because one could risk a comparison between ‘’The House’’ and ‘’The Upstairs Room’’. And yet, these books couldn’t have been more different. ‘’The House’’ achieved everything ‘’The Upstairs Rooms’’ tried to do and failed.Simon Lelic has created a unique thriller. It starts with suspicions that something paranormal might have taken over the house, it has strong elements of domestic thriller and themes like violence, secrets, despair, the wish to right the wrong and learning to live with wounds that refuse to heal. It is a novel that will not disappoint you and thank God I concluded this review without any spoilers.Many thanks to Penguin UK and NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Maureen
    January 1, 1970
    * 3.5 STARS*When Jack and Syd buy their first home together in London, they feel like they've hit the jackpot. It's a big rambling old house, and although it needs lots of work, they got a really good deal because the owner wanted a young couple to have it, and accepted their lower bid. But you know the saying " If it seems too good to be true, then it probably is" Well that's certainly the case here!Jack though, took an instant dislike to the house - he found it dark and creepy, and that was ev * 3.5 STARS*When Jack and Syd buy their first home together in London, they feel like they've hit the jackpot. It's a big rambling old house, and although it needs lots of work, they got a really good deal because the owner wanted a young couple to have it, and accepted their lower bid. But you know the saying " If it seems too good to be true, then it probably is" Well that's certainly the case here!Jack though, took an instant dislike to the house - he found it dark and creepy, and that was even before he made a grisly discovery in the attic! They decide to keep the discovery to themselves, but keeping this secret means they've made a really bad call, leading to some life changing events.The narrative is told in the form of individual journals written by Jack and Syd. It was an intelligent ( if unusual ) style of writing, but I quickly got used to it and actually enjoyed it. It certainly gave great insight into their lives, both in the present and in the past. The characters are a little strange, but work well within the storyline. It had a fairly creepy feeling, especially at the beginning, and produced some really tense moments ( together with an all pervading air of menace ). There were some good twists and turns. Although it wasn't the most gripping psychological thriller that I've read, it was certainly gripping enough to retain my attention.*Thank you to Netgalley and Penguin UK for my ARC. I have given an honest review in exchange*
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  • Miriam Smith
    January 1, 1970
    It's impossible to start this book and not become addicted to it instantly. The way the book is written - Jack and his girlfriend Syd, write their side of the story as a journal in alternating chapters - just intrigues you so much you have to keep reading. What is it about the house that's so troublesome? What's that smell? Who is Elise? Admittedly I would have liked a little more 'goings on' with The House - since that's the title of the book - initially you believe that because there's a grisl It's impossible to start this book and not become addicted to it instantly. The way the book is written - Jack and his girlfriend Syd, write their side of the story as a journal in alternating chapters - just intrigues you so much you have to keep reading. What is it about the house that's so troublesome? What's that smell? Who is Elise? Admittedly I would have liked a little more 'goings on' with The House - since that's the title of the book - initially you believe that because there's a grisly find in the loft that the story will take off in that spooky direction but sadly it doesn't. This is much more a character driven novel which still definitely works, and because of the way the book is written you are sent deep inside the heads of Jack and Syd and therefore know exactly how they're feeling and what they want you to see.This book may not be quite as riveting or compelling as some psychological thrillers during the main part of the story but it's still a very intriguing and entertaining read which you want to see to the end nonetheless. And the ending, well I didn't suspect it would go that way and found it very fitting to the main plot. This is the first book I have read by Simon Lelic and I'd happily read his work again, the new slant to the unique way he has written this book was quite daring but it worked and I would recommend this book as a really good physiological thriller. 4 stars
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  • Bentley ★ Bookbastion.net
    January 1, 1970
    Damn, this book was GOOD!Fun fact about me first: I've been dying to crack into the suspense/thriller genre again for a long time now, so when I came across this book on NetGalley I had to put in a request for it and was elated to find that I was approved. It shot up my TBR list just because it fit the bill for what I was craving perfectly, and boy am I glad it did because Simon Lelic's prose alone was enough to keep me totally invested in this story from start to finish. "When you're caught ins Damn, this book was GOOD!Fun fact about me first: I've been dying to crack into the suspense/thriller genre again for a long time now, so when I came across this book on NetGalley I had to put in a request for it and was elated to find that I was approved. It shot up my TBR list just because it fit the bill for what I was craving perfectly, and boy am I glad it did because Simon Lelic's prose alone was enough to keep me totally invested in this story from start to finish. "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."I cannot say enough good things about Lelic's command of language and the conversational tone of his prose. Written in an alternating first-person point of view between Jack and Syndney's perspectives, The House was totally gripping from start to finish. First-person point of view and I sometimes have problems. I find that a lot of newer authors writing from this POV tend to focus too heavily on action and forget to include prose that engages your mind. Lelic never does. The plot moves along at a snappy pace the entire time, but the prose never suffers. In fact, it's quite beautiful throughout. Plus, the story is absolutely peppered with little landmines that urge the reader onwards. Fair warning, the places this story goes end up being quite dark, but the journey is well worth it. I was on the edge of my seat the entire way through.I can't say enough good things about the characters of Jack and Sydney. I feel like they were both especially well developed. Not going to lie, of the few suspense/thrillers I've read before, the leads have been mostly contemptible. Here though, I feel like their characterizations totally make sense given all that we come to know about them. I was rooting for both of them from start to finish, and that's really the most that I can ask for of any story, isn't it? I'll admit that while I'm not well versed in suspense as a genre (yet- although I'd love to get more well acquainted in the future!) I think Lelic has a very promising future ahead of him. The House is full of compelling characters and twists and turns that really threw me for a loop. I loved this book enough that I plan on buying a physical copy when it releases, and I'd definitely recommend it to anyone who is a fan of the thriller genre at large. The only reason I'm faulting it half a star is that there's a subplot with Jack about halfway through that I felt could have been done without, but it really didn't detract too much from the story at large. 4.5 out of 5 starsSee this review and more like it on my blog: Book BastionThanks to Netgalley and Penguin Books (UK) for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Louise Wilson
    January 1, 1970
    Jack and Syd moved into the house a year ago. Their dream home with tons of space, in the perfect location and a friendly owner who wanted a young couple to have it. But they find something grisly in the attic and they have chosen to ignore it. But now someone has been murdered outside their back donor.The book is written in an exchange form by Jack and Syd and tells us about their background before they met, and their lives together now. There is a lot happens in this book. It gives off a creep Jack and Syd moved into the house a year ago. Their dream home with tons of space, in the perfect location and a friendly owner who wanted a young couple to have it. But they find something grisly in the attic and they have chosen to ignore it. But now someone has been murdered outside their back donor.The book is written in an exchange form by Jack and Syd and tells us about their background before they met, and their lives together now. There is a lot happens in this book. It gives off a creepy and mysterious vibe. I liked the references to pop culture that's thrown into the mix. The characters are believable. This is a twist turning, gripping, tense and creepy thriller about lies, revenge, control and relationships. I was hooked from the beginning and I did not want to put this book down.I would like to thank NetGalley, Penguin Books (UK) and the author Simon Lelic for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Nicki
    January 1, 1970
    Although this riveting story is titled The House it does not in any way resemble The Girl Before nor is there any supernatural elements to the story.Yes the house is pivotal to the plot but this is a gripping human character based story that had me hooked from the first page and I honestly enjoyed reading a lot more than the afore mentioned book.Syd and Jack have just moved into their forever home and are still struggling to get over the shock that out of all the people who where at the viewing Although this riveting story is titled The House it does not in any way resemble The Girl Before nor is there any supernatural elements to the story.Yes the house is pivotal to the plot but this is a gripping human character based story that had me hooked from the first page and I honestly enjoyed reading a lot more than the afore mentioned book.Syd and Jack have just moved into their forever home and are still struggling to get over the shock that out of all the people who where at the viewing theirs was the winning bid.Not long after they have moved in Jack starts hearing mysterious noises at night then he discovers something strange in the attic.Following more sinister events cracks start to appear in their previously happy relashionship and after a body is discovered in the alleyway behind their home the couple find themselves being scrutinized by the police.The story is narrated in the alternating perspectives of Syd and Jack and is split into two parts.The first half of the book is written in the form of a journal charting Syd and Jacks thoughts and feelings as events unfold in the present day as well as how and where the couple met and syd recounting memories from her past.One character`s thoughts pick up straight after where the previous character`s ended giving the reader a insight into what each character is thinking about the previous character`s thoughts.This is a clever way of keeping the reader turning the pages and in no way interferes with the flow of the story.The second part of the book is set in the present and charts events after Syd and Jack take their journal to the police. Syd and Jack are realistic,believable characters who's lives and behaviour have been heavily influenced by people from their pasts.This is a gripping,twisty thriller about relashionships,lies,revenge and control.I thoroughly enjoyed this riviting book and look forward to reading more books by this author in the future.Many thanks to penguin,random house uk for a arc of this book via netgalley in exchange for a honest review
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  • Gary
    January 1, 1970
    This is the first book I have read by author Simon Lelic but I thoroughly enjoyed it and will be looking out for more of his work to read.When Londoners Jack and Syd move into their new house it seems like they have found their dream house, it has lots of space and situated in a perfect location and the friendly owner wanted the young couple to have it. So when they made a grisly discovery in the attic, Jack and Syd chose to ignore it. This book is very entertaining and is narrated in the altern This is the first book I have read by author Simon Lelic but I thoroughly enjoyed it and will be looking out for more of his work to read.When Londoners Jack and Syd move into their new house it seems like they have found their dream house, it has lots of space and situated in a perfect location and the friendly owner wanted the young couple to have it. So when they made a grisly discovery in the attic, Jack and Syd chose to ignore it. This book is very entertaining and is narrated in the alternating perspectives of Syd and Jack. The book is written as a journal / diary of Syd and Jack's thoughts and is well paced making this an excellent psychological thriller. I would like to thank Net Galley and Penguin Books (UK) for supplying a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Dannii Elle
    January 1, 1970
    You can find my full review of this book and many others at United by Pop.London is an ordeal for any young couple making the daunting first leap on to the property ladder. All the desirable future homes are unobtainable and, well, all the obtainable ones are undesirable. That's why it seemed too good to be true when late-twenties couple, Sydney and Jack, beat all the other prospective buyers for their dream home. But when it seems too good to be true, that usually means it is.Purchasing their d You can find my full review of this book and many others at United by Pop.London is an ordeal for any young couple making the daunting first leap on to the property ladder. All the desirable future homes are unobtainable and, well, all the obtainable ones are undesirable. That's why it seemed too good to be true when late-twenties couple, Sydney and Jack, beat all the other prospective buyers for their dream home. But when it seems too good to be true, that usually means it is.Purchasing their dream home soon awakened their worst nightmares.The previous owner left every object from his past life for the new owners to uncover. Hidden treasures and forgotten favourites are discovered in amongst the rubbish, but so too are haunting links to the past and things better left unearthed.But it's not only the interior they have to worry about. When a stranger shares too much of Sydney's past life and when Jack's career is under threat the couple must decide whether to turn on each other or unite and fight. For with the return of their past fears, suspicion runs rife over who, or what, is tormenting them.The unique style of narrative immediately intrigued me. The novel alternated between Jack's and Sydney's perspectives and they often conversed directly to each other from their shared memoir. Their log of the mystery haunting them provided both an insight into the nature of their relationship and carefully unfolded the troubled pasts both had thought long buried. Simon Lelic cleverly used their reticence to clearly voice their concerns to leave the reader shaded in the dark for ultimate impact when their secrets are ultimately revealed. It is very clear that their penned thoughts record a 'before' to the 'after' that dogs them.There is a lot that takes place in this novel. What begins as a seemingly simple chronicle of one couple's inner-demons, soon twists into a running commentary of London's prominent 'don't look don't ask' mentality and the implications this has for those who seek help. When none are willing it leaves the individual to take matters into their own hands, with often drastic consequences.The aftermath of these consequences are explored and whilst Simon Lelic handles each troubling subject matter with a grace and sensitivity, this could prove triggering for some readers. The moralistic ramifications are left for the reader to explore and it was interesting to see where my own feelings about the events that took place lay, and how my priorities had shifted over the course of my reading this.This is a thoroughly spooky tale with an absence of anything supernatural. It evoked the classic Gothic vibes of the historical haunted mansion and managed to brilliantly transpose it onto a modern, urban landscape. This served to heightened the horror and made the events all the more conceivable. You might want to check that you've locked the door before you start reading...
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  • Paul O'Neill
    January 1, 1970
    But that was a mistake. Because someone has just been murdered. Right outside their back doorUtterly riveting, cunningly written and bursting full of character. The book follows Jack and Syd as they buy their first house, which is a strange deal and include all of the previous owners stuff. The story follows Jack and Syd as something terrible happens and a body is found just outside their house. Above all, this story was about family. It made me realise that I'm extremely lucky with the caring f But that was a mistake. Because someone has just been murdered. Right outside their back doorUtterly riveting, cunningly written and bursting full of character. The book follows Jack and Syd as they buy their first house, which is a strange deal and include all of the previous owners stuff. The story follows Jack and Syd as something terrible happens and a body is found just outside their house. Above all, this story was about family. It made me realise that I'm extremely lucky with the caring family I have and made me think that not everyone is quite so lucky. It tells of Syd’s story of her abusive parent and the scars that her childhood has left on her as an adult. CharactersBoth Jack and Syd are written with such depth that you can't help but care for them. There are so many parts where I actually laughed out loud, especially during that electric banana incident. Lelic does a fantastic job of drawing you into the characters and above all, they seem like pretty normal people, with realistic flaws. Plot deviceThe format was unique. The book is basically a diary written by Jack and Syd, who take it in turns to recall the events that have played out. These make up the different chapters. This allows the story to be told in a very human voice, it felt like Syd and Jack were sitting on the couch opposite me telling me their story.It also allowed for Lelic to write in a very different voice for both characters, which added a lot to the story.WritingThe device used to tell the story makes the writing style very unique. I really enjoyed it. I think Lelic done a marvellous job painting a very real couple, going through extraordinary events, Here are some of my favourite lines from the book. the paintwork about as attractive as a skin complaint. Great way to create an image of the house. She stops me gazing at my feet so much; I stop her floating off into the sky. Great way to introduce the characters. Basically everything you need to know about both of them in one sentence. If this really were a Stephen King novel there’d be cats turning into zombies by chapter three. Great nod to the King himself. …what I’m not sure he’s ever understood – is how desperate I was to feel something other than what I felt. For a way out. Any way out. 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. This…just…wow. This is Syd talking about turning to drugs after her childhood. like just because you know your boyfriend takes a shit every morning, doesn’t mean you want to see him on the toilet. Oh my God. Where did that come from?? I think this illustrates my point about the writing device best. It’s like that bit in Friends, where Joey is so terrified of The Shining he keeps the book in the freezer? No explanation needed. She’s like a butterfly caught in some malformed web and though I keep hoping she’ll find the strength to break free, whenever I check on her she appears more ensnared than she did before.Final thoughtHighly recommended and up there with one of the best from the genre I’ve ever read. I'll certainly be looking into more of Lelic’s work. Read more of my blogs at http://constantreaderpauloneill.blogspot.co.uk
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  • Zuky the BookBum
    January 1, 1970
    I had heard some good things about this book so before I started it, I already had a reasonably high expectation of it. I went into it enjoying it, but that gradually went down and down and down. What I’m saying is, I didn’t love, or even really like this.Mainly, it was the characters that ruined it this for me. Syd I didn’t like from the get-go. I thought she was selfish and always so hypocritical. She was allowed to act one way, but as soon as Jack began acting the same way she judged him for I had heard some good things about this book so before I started it, I already had a reasonably high expectation of it. I went into it enjoying it, but that gradually went down and down and down. What I’m saying is, I didn’t love, or even really like this.Mainly, it was the characters that ruined it this for me. Syd I didn’t like from the get-go. I thought she was selfish and always so hypocritical. She was allowed to act one way, but as soon as Jack began acting the same way she judged him for it. Damaged characters can sometimes be a breath of fresh air and other times they can be so “oh-woe-is-me” and hate the world that they just get on my nerves. Can you guess which one Syd was? As for Jack, I began the story a fan of his. I thought he seemed sweet, but gradually he became more immature.Whenever either one found out that the other one was “holding something back” neither one took the higher ground and tried to get to the root of the issue, they just acted like a child – “well if he’s keeping a secret from me, I won’t tell him what I know”. Real life relationships don’t work like that, and I think that’s why I felt no real chemistry between the couple. Nothing about their pairing was enjoyable to read.I didn’t have as much of an issue with the plot, the premise was originally what made me want to read the book after-all. But I tell you what, I’m sick to death of the same themes running throughout mystery thriller books at the moment. (view spoiler)[Child abuse, rape, possible infidelity etc (hide spoiler)]. There was literally nothing about this book that was unique in anyway, apart from maybe the prose, which I thought could work really well, but in this case didn’t.In terms of the prose, this is written as though Syd and Jack are writing to each other, and then reading what the other says and writing a reply for their own chapter. There are definitely ways this could have worked in favour for the novel, but to me, it felt messy. It was probably meant to portray chaos but it didn’t work. The characters just ended up babbling to each other, not finishing sentences and half finishing stories.In the end, this one really disappointed me (could you tell?). There was none of the promised suspense and grisly drama and it ended it the most predictable way possible. What a shame.Thanks to Netgalley and Penguin Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review. Sorry I didn’t like it!
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  • Liz Barnsley
    January 1, 1970
    Brilliant. Brilliant. This is how I like my psychological thrillers. Clever, twisted and unexpected.Long wait for this one but seriously I had to read it now - fuller review nearer publication.
  • Sue1958
    January 1, 1970
    Link to my bloghttp://sueandherbooks.blogspot.co.uk/Every time someone asked me if I was enjoying the book I either said "Not much" or "Not really". Mostly they were avid reader friends like myself who already were part way through the book. I love keeping folk guessing, sometime it makes them relook at the book or if they haven't read it, they go find out more about it. OK I'm a tease!!At the beginning of the book though, I was getting into it find. Where Jack and Syd are viewing this house wit Link to my bloghttp://sueandherbooks.blogspot.co.uk/Every time someone asked me if I was enjoying the book I either said "Not much" or "Not really". Mostly they were avid reader friends like myself who already were part way through the book. I love keeping folk guessing, sometime it makes them relook at the book or if they haven't read it, they go find out more about it. OK I'm a tease!!At the beginning of the book though, I was getting into it find. Where Jack and Syd are viewing this house with the aim to buy, Syd really loves it. Then a little way through I struggled a little bit, that's when friends were asking me if I was enjoying it, I wasn't that sure at that stage, then it picked up for me with enough twists to grab my attention again. Its really well written. Although this is titled "The House" there are no real overly substance to that, for example, supernatural or anything like that, its more a character driven novel for me. The previous owner has left lots of objects from his past that Jack and Syd gradually discover and some needed to remain lost and buried. Then along comes a stranger in the mix.This could easily unarm Syd and her marriage. The chapters were unique in which they were narrated from either Jack's memoir or Syd's oftentimes talking to each other via the memoirs which was a great angle on this story for me.There is so much within the pages of this novel that I urge you to take a chance on it. My thanks to Penguin House for my copy.
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  • Lucy Banks
    January 1, 1970
    I received a copy of this book from Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.Less a thriller, more a fascinating exploration into the long, lingering impact of abuse.I've got to admit, it was the front cover that pulled me in. A sinister glimpse of a staircase, the menace of that title - how could I not request this book? Likewise, the description sounded fabulously sinister; strange things afoot in a new house, a murder, plenty of intrigue... just my sort of thing. Interestingly enough, this I received a copy of this book from Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.Less a thriller, more a fascinating exploration into the long, lingering impact of abuse.I've got to admit, it was the front cover that pulled me in. A sinister glimpse of a staircase, the menace of that title - how could I not request this book? Likewise, the description sounded fabulously sinister; strange things afoot in a new house, a murder, plenty of intrigue... just my sort of thing. Interestingly enough, this book was less than that, but at the same time, so much more. It's told through two narrative viewpoints - Jack, an affable, scruffy bloke with a kind heart, and Sydney - a damaged young woman with an incredibly dark past. We swiftly learn that something majorly awful has happened, though like all good books, the actual reality of the situation is kept from us until the bitter end. In terms of building up atmosphere, there are moments where this book nails it entirely. The unexplained noises in the house, the mysterious box full of 'treasures' in the attic - these are all moments of pure eeriness, which are handled excellently. However, if you're expecting a Stephen King (or even a Patricia Cornwall), don't. It really isn't like that at all, and for the most part, there isn't too much 'thrill' or fear-factor. It transpires that this book is far more about character than the actual plot itself. Jack is an entirely loveable character (though perhaps a little too perfect at times? I enjoyed it most when he lost his temper - I found myself thinking 'hooray, he's actually a human after all'!). Sydney is far more complex and satisfying to read, and as for Elsie, the teenager from across the road... well, her character is quiet heartbreaking. And this is where the book excels. Without spoiling too much, this is a dark exploration of abuse - which the author handles very well. Abuse not only acts as a powerful reminder of the past, but a driving force for the future - and it propels the book towards its final outcome. The ending was perhaps slightly anti-climatic, but satisfying nonetheless, and about as close to a happy outcome as you might expect. Overall, it's definitely worth a read, and top marks to the author for daring to try something a little different in this genre. A highly compelling, enjoyable book.
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  • Susan
    January 1, 1970
    Jack and Sydney are a young couple, hoping to be able to afford a house in London. They attend the Open Day of what appears to be their dream house. The estate agent tells them the owner has gone to Australia and left the house, furnished. They put in an offer and, to their surprise, find it has been accepted. However, before long, Jack especially, begins to feel uncomfortable. There is an uncomfortable atmosphere, then an odd discovery in the attic…We hear of many of the events in this book aft Jack and Sydney are a young couple, hoping to be able to afford a house in London. They attend the Open Day of what appears to be their dream house. The estate agent tells them the owner has gone to Australia and left the house, furnished. They put in an offer and, to their surprise, find it has been accepted. However, before long, Jack especially, begins to feel uncomfortable. There is an uncomfortable atmosphere, then an odd discovery in the attic…We hear of many of the events in this book afterwards, as they are written down by Jack and Sydney. Jack is a little too nice – a housing officer in London, he is very caring and does not want to upset Sydney. Indeed, he is very protective of her. We know that Sydney had a troubled childhood and these past events are brought into focus after she befriends a local girl, Elsie, who reminds her of her own struggles as a young girl.The central theme of this novel is abuse and the way that the past impacts on the present. Although it seems that Sydney has escaped her own demons, and created a happy life with Jack, if things appear too good to be true, they often are. Being chosen as the buyers for a large property in London, when your bid was surely not the largest, is found suspicious by the couple, even at the time. Understandably, though, they ignore their misgivings and, initially, just feel lucky.The beginning of this novel was very enticing. Although Jack seemed just too good to be true, I enjoyed the unfolding of his and Sydney’s story. However, once I could see where the plot was going (which was quite early on in the novel) it was a bit of a disappointment. An average thriller, which begins well and does not quite turn into the page turner you hope it will. Rated 3.5
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  • Kirsty White
    January 1, 1970
    This is a gripping story from start to finish. I really enjoyed it. It starts at a frenetic pace and doesn't let up til the end. The story is alternated by the 2 main characters: Jack & Syd as they move into a dream home, befriend a local girl who is being abused by her father which brings back bad memories for Syd, who has also suffered this way.Confronting him though only brings about shocking results including the bad guys death. So who killed him and why? There are lots of twists and tur This is a gripping story from start to finish. I really enjoyed it. It starts at a frenetic pace and doesn't let up til the end. The story is alternated by the 2 main characters: Jack & Syd as they move into a dream home, befriend a local girl who is being abused by her father which brings back bad memories for Syd, who has also suffered this way.Confronting him though only brings about shocking results including the bad guys death. So who killed him and why? There are lots of twists and turns with an interesting twist of an ending. I often complain about lack of backstory but it's not a problem in this book as the history of the characters plays a HUGE part in the book. The key players are well developed, the bad guys are suitably evil and deserve everything they get and a big plus for me we have an ambiguous ending rather than a neatly sewn up Hollywood one.A brilliant book, well recommended.Free arc from netgalley
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  • Warrengent
    January 1, 1970
    Brilliant novel with a fantastic but intriguing situation that they find themselves in. My wife recently wanted to move house and I point blank refused a awesome novel highly recommend it
  • Karen
    January 1, 1970
    The marketing for this book was very intriguing. First in the post arrived a key, with a code to a website link which when unlocked, then showed details of the book. Genius!The proof cover doesn’t give anything away so when I started reading I went in blind – and was very quickly hooked. The story is told by both Jack and Syd in turn, each recounting events and their thoughts as journal entries. Sometimes this format can be difficult to connect with but this was well done and worked well for me. The marketing for this book was very intriguing. First in the post arrived a key, with a code to a website link which when unlocked, then showed details of the book. Genius!The proof cover doesn’t give anything away so when I started reading I went in blind – and was very quickly hooked. The story is told by both Jack and Syd in turn, each recounting events and their thoughts as journal entries. Sometimes this format can be difficult to connect with but this was well done and worked well for me. You didn’t get a complete retelling of the story but an insight into their personalities and backstory and also their comments on what each had written about the other.The story began with a creepy premise. When Jack and Syd move into an old house, complete with the previous owner’s contents and belongings, it all felt a bit weird. After all, who sells their house and doesn’t take their things with them. Apparently the seller had a change of personal circumstances and decided to offload the whole shabang. Anyway Jack and Syd have a monumental task on their hands, trying to clear out the unwanted items, including some taxidermy animals (yuk!). However when Jack goes up to the loft whilst trying to discover the source of a particularly nasty smell, what he discovers is rather unpleasant and decidedly sinister.There are various strands to the story and at first I couldn’t understand how they connected to the house. There are some disturbing themes here too, no spoilers but what kept my interest was how these threads would come together and what the impact would be on our two main characters.This was a suspenseful and twisty read but not quite what I expected. I was anticipating that the story would focus more on the house and that there would perhaps be a supernatural/horror element, but instead it took a slightly different turn and focused primarily on the two main characters and how events in their past and present impacted. I felt that far from being a main character, The House was relegated to the role of an extra.Despite my slight confusion was to where the story was heading, it turned into a very good dark and disturbing read which I enjoyed. There were some truly horrible characters here and if you’re like me, you will be silently wishing every last plague and pox on them whenever they appear. In my opinion it was more of a crime/suspense thriller than a true psychological one but whatever, it still makes for a tense and chilling read.
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  • Laura
    January 1, 1970
    More book reviews on www.snazzybooks.com The House is the kind of thriller I love - complex, a little bit creepy and peppered with twists and surprise to keep the reader guessing!It's told in a fairly unique way - at first it seems like the two narrators, couple Jack and Syd, are writing letters or diary-style entries to each other and communicating that way, so we learn a lot about their thoughts, feelings and things they may have kept from each other before. As the novel goes on this style is More book reviews on www.snazzybooks.com The House is the kind of thriller I love - complex, a little bit creepy and peppered with twists and surprise to keep the reader guessing!It's told in a fairly unique way - at first it seems like the two narrators, couple Jack and Syd, are writing letters or diary-style entries to each other and communicating that way, so we learn a lot about their thoughts, feelings and things they may have kept from each other before. As the novel goes on this style is maintained but it feels less like diary entries and more recounting of the story, making it easier to get into the narrative. It also jumps back and forwards in time a bit; at some points I wasn't sure whether we were in the 'present day' (whatever that was exactly) or further back in time, before whatever the awful incident that happened, actually happened! It all adds to the edgy sense of the confusion this novel manages to portray, and I felt myself getting increasingly on edge at some of the more suspenseful points.And I should mention - this novel is pretty creepy at times! I love a good horror, and though this doesn't really fit into that genre, there were still plenty of parts that made me feel uneasy along with all the novel's mystery and suspense. There are also some darker themes running through this book which give you pause for thought; Simon Lelic's writing is spot on and, as the novel continues, the story skillfully (and teasingly) reveals more and more about what exactly happened, with layer upon layer of deception becoming apparent... I hugely enjoyed The House, racing through it in a matter of hours as I just didn't want to put it down, and I would definitely recommend it as a fast-paced, suspenseful and very entertaining read![Rating 5/5]Many thanks to the publisher, Viking, for providing a copy of this novel on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.
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  • Jessica Gonzatto
    January 1, 1970
    Read it thanks to NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. I reviewed it on my blog: https://bitesizerevs.wordpress.com/20...I read this book in one day. I wouldn't say it's one of my favorites, but it was certainly very good and interesting. The unusual way it is written (I can't describe it better than a past double first-person testimony until the middle and then afterwards a present double first-person. Confusing.) could have gone totally against the narrative, but actually, I enjoyed it Read it thanks to NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. I reviewed it on my blog: https://bitesizerevs.wordpress.com/20...I read this book in one day. I wouldn't say it's one of my favorites, but it was certainly very good and interesting. The unusual way it is written (I can't describe it better than a past double first-person testimony until the middle and then afterwards a present double first-person. Confusing.) could have gone totally against the narrative, but actually, I enjoyed it.It's different, alright, but that adds to the story. All of the insights provided by the author create a real sense of closeness to both of the main characters - which, I gotta say, took me a while to like. I still dislike Sydney. But that doesn't interfere in the enjoyment of the mystery, even though it did took me a while to accept them as the leads of the story and stop judging. Once I did that, it became a really good novel.The plot is very rich: it alternates between a confusing present and an abundant past, which was imperative throughout most of the book. All of the characters are well written and believable, although the bad guys felt a little stereotyped. Nevertheless, it actually scared me a lot, and the psychological aspect to the relationships between the characters is really well supported and juicy. There's plenty of Lelic's thoughts and opinions about life between the lines, and that makes a strong case for a recommendation of The House.Although the pop culture references were a little annoying, sometimes they were fun. The genre may be mystery/crime, but there's a lot more behind this fun, dark and complex story. I greatly recommend it.
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  • BookwormCatLady
    January 1, 1970
    I was a sucker for the cover on this book and I really liked the writing style in that it skipped from past to present day with diary excerpts.It's a slow burner, then picks up the pace which turns into so many threads you struggle to keep up. For some readers this is a positive aspect but for me it got irritating and confusing.For people I recommend this to I will make a point of emphasising that the synopsis and title is quite misleading and that I would categorise this as a mystery rather tha I was a sucker for the cover on this book and I really liked the writing style in that it skipped from past to present day with diary excerpts.It's a slow burner, then picks up the pace which turns into so many threads you struggle to keep up. For some readers this is a positive aspect but for me it got irritating and confusing.For people I recommend this to I will make a point of emphasising that the synopsis and title is quite misleading and that I would categorise this as a mystery rather than the intended psych thriller.
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  • Sam (Clues and Reviews)
    January 1, 1970
    DNF --- I am really disappointed that I have to add this one to my DNF pile. This was so highly anticipated for me but in the end, the narrative style completely threw me off. I couldn't get behind their relaxed back and forth narrative and the bickering had me irritated instead of interested in what happened. Sadly, I wasn't the right reader for this one.
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  • Kat
    January 1, 1970
    This is my first book by Simon Lelic; I enjoyed his writing and the format of the book with alternating chapters between the two main characters. I thought I knew where the story was heading, and for some parts I was bit underwhelmed but when it came to the surprising parts I was gripped and couldn’t turn the kindle fast enough. I look forward to more from Simon and I hope it’s the same format as this one as it was easier to follow. This book will be out on 17th August Thanks goes to net galley This is my first book by Simon Lelic; I enjoyed his writing and the format of the book with alternating chapters between the two main characters. I thought I knew where the story was heading, and for some parts I was bit underwhelmed but when it came to the surprising parts I was gripped and couldn’t turn the kindle fast enough. I look forward to more from Simon and I hope it’s the same format as this one as it was easier to follow. This book will be out on 17th August Thanks goes to net galley and the publishers for providing me with a kindle and paperback copy in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Cleo Bannister
    January 1, 1970
    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 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, 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 ex-junkie Syd and the more laid back, but not entirely without issues Jack. Add to that the 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.
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  • The Book Review Café
    January 1, 1970
    All my reviews can be found at http://thebookreviewcafe.comReview to follow as part of the blog tour
  • Ana
    January 1, 1970
    https://anaslair.wordpress.com/2017/0...The House had quite a peculiar narrative style. Jack and Sydney, our main characters, are also our narrators. They write the story as a way of coping with the grisly events they have faced as well as figure out what to do next. It is almost a form of couple therapy too, since they end up writing as much to each other as to the one they want to read the manuscript. The narrative evolves at first as you would expect from someone who is not used to writing, g https://anaslair.wordpress.com/2017/0...The House had quite a peculiar narrative style. Jack and Sydney, our main characters, are also our narrators. They write the story as a way of coping with the grisly events they have faced as well as figure out what to do next. It is almost a form of couple therapy too, since they end up writing as much to each other as to the one they want to read the manuscript. The narrative evolves at first as you would expect from someone who is not used to writing, gradually becoming more cohesive and culminating in a chilling diary for both parts.The House was extremely enthralling. I could not bring myself to put it down and ended up reading it in two sittings, several hours past my usual time to turn in.There were a few things I am still not sold on. (view spoiler)[I needed to know why a man would hate his children so much - thirst for control is not nearly enough to cut it for me because he was just plain malevolent and considering I read and watch a lot of profiling stuff I don't remember coming across anything quite like this. I think that when Syd mentions her therapists would be a great opportunity to insert some relevant researched information about what would make someone tick like that. (hide spoiler)]Some things felt like plot devices to make the story move along a certain way, that the characters came across certain information only later on to cause the plot twists. For example, (view spoiler)[Jack not asking for Evan's future contact since he basically told him he would be moving. Or Syd's dismissal of her mother's attitude towards the picture. I don't get why she didn't remove it from the frame then since it was obvious her mother knew that person and expected Sydney to know her too. And I feel that the owner leaving absolutely everything behind was not realistic at all - he should at least have taken some personal items that meant more to him; that was just too convenient. (hide spoiler)]Other than those things, this was a superbly written book featuring very real, vulnerable characters struggling to find happiness. Even if at first I did not like Syd's voice (she came across as a wee bit bitchy and implicative), she grew on me and I felt all characters were pretty well developed, even the secondary ones.The House is an utterly amazing read that will surely have you glued to the screen/pages, flipping them as fast as you can.Disclaimer: I would like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Tracy Shephard
    January 1, 1970
    It was the cover that attracted me to this novel.Jack and Syd were chosen to purchase their first house after attending an open viewing, the owner requested that a young couple buy the house and inherit all the belongings left inside.Syd is an 'ex' junkie however at the smallest chaos can easily turn to her help of choice and Jack being very laid back is quite the opposite.After moving in Jack notices a smell and discovers something in the attic. We are led to believe this is something grisly bu It was the cover that attracted me to this novel.Jack and Syd were chosen to purchase their first house after attending an open viewing, the owner requested that a young couple buy the house and inherit all the belongings left inside.Syd is an 'ex' junkie however at the smallest chaos can easily turn to her help of choice and Jack being very laid back is quite the opposite.After moving in Jack notices a smell and discovers something in the attic. We are led to believe this is something grisly but I was disappointed and felt very early on that the blurb to this book had left me feeling deceived.I loved the suspense of The House, but overall felt that this was book that started out leading one way and ended up another. I feel that the whole plot gave me the impression of being about a house but in reality was more about the people that lived there.I have to be honest that whilst I enjoyed the read I didn't love it. It is grippy and I was compelled to turn the pages but Lelic left me feeling flat. This was mainly due to my expectation not because it isn't written very well, or that there is isn't a story in the pages.  I just thought that it would be more like the one described on the back. The cruelty of the fathers was horrendous and I think could trigger some deep emotion among some readers. This is going to be a 'marmite' read. Some will love it and some will not. However, this was not for me but I haven't been put off reading more by the same author. Lelics style is good to read and this was a mystery that will appeal to most. 
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  • Lisa-Marie Forge
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I give this book 3.5 stars, but will round up to 4. I can see from other reviews that I'm in a minority to have not LOVED this book. I mean I liked it, but love is a strong word.The House isn't a 'horror', although the title and cover suggest it is. But the House is central to the plot. Jack and Syd have just bought their first home, when they get wrapped up in a story of murder, and the past comes back to haunt them. I'm a bi I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I give this book 3.5 stars, but will round up to 4. I can see from other reviews that I'm in a minority to have not LOVED this book. I mean I liked it, but love is a strong word.The House isn't a 'horror', although the title and cover suggest it is. But the House is central to the plot. Jack and Syd have just bought their first home, when they get wrapped up in a story of murder, and the past comes back to haunt them. I'm a big fan of psychological thrillers, and this didn't disappoint! The reason I didn't love this book, is because I didn't like anyone in it. I get we're supposed to root for Jack and Sydney, but I just didn't like them enough. The twist was good - but I did guess it, probably cause I knew there was a twist coming. Worth a read! Definitely- and I can see it becoming a hit on release!
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  • Shawna P.
    January 1, 1970
    I see I am against the majority on this one. I had such high hopes for this. Syd and Jack luck into a house, but soon things begin to happen that are unsettling for the couple. Throw in a young neighbor girl with a secret, and this could make for a creepy book. There were maybe two points in the book that invoked the creepy atmosphere I was hoping for....but that's about it. This book was written like a diary Syd and Jake. At first it was very hard to get into, but once I saw the reasoning why, I see I am against the majority on this one. I had such high hopes for this. Syd and Jack luck into a house, but soon things begin to happen that are unsettling for the couple. Throw in a young neighbor girl with a secret, and this could make for a creepy book. There were maybe two points in the book that invoked the creepy atmosphere I was hoping for....but that's about it. This book was written like a diary Syd and Jake. At first it was very hard to get into, but once I saw the reasoning why, I went with it. Everything came to a head very quickly and the root of the story had little to do with the house. I just didn't feel the creepy feeling others had, and the plot, while sad, was just ok.
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  • Rachel Gilbey
    January 1, 1970
    Incredibly creepy and addictive story that I was scarcely able to tear myself away from. There is just something about this authors writing style that enticed me in and just wouldn’t let me go.Although the book is called The House, it is about so much more than a house, although it is the trigger for everything that happens. For the first part of the book the story alternates between Jack and Syd telling the story in their easily identifiable voices.They are writing down exactly what happened as Incredibly creepy and addictive story that I was scarcely able to tear myself away from. There is just something about this authors writing style that enticed me in and just wouldn’t let me go.Although the book is called The House, it is about so much more than a house, although it is the trigger for everything that happens. For the first part of the book the story alternates between Jack and Syd telling the story in their easily identifiable voices.They are writing down exactly what happened as they understand it, to get it clear to themselves, and there is a bit of a chatty feel to the writing, as we get to see all the odd occurrences that happened from the time they found this rather creepy house.The timeline isn’t completely chronological as it is how they have remembered the events and the order they feel things need to be explained to anyone that reads this account. Jack’s story is one that I had no problem reading, I just didn’t fully take to his character, but he seemed like a nice enough guy. However Syd’s story is what makes the book, I loved her voice, and what comes out from her backstory is gripping, horrendous and made me really root for her. She has had a troubled life and yet she still tries to help someone else who she can see in a similar sort of situation.Whether Syd or Jack’s judgments were always correct, I’ll say that by the time we reach part of the book, I had no choice but to curl up on the sofa and pray that I had no interruptions, I was hooked and raced through the second half of the book, eager to see just what it would bring.There are many twists and surprises to come, and I was kept guessing throughout. I’m not sure exactly how you would describe this book, it doesn’t feel quite like a psychological thriller, but it’s definitely full of suspense, creepy feelings and gripping writing.This is the first time I have come across the author Simon Lelic, and I am very impressed by the writing, and storytelling. Definitely an author I need to keep an eye on future releases from.Thank you to Annie Hollands at Dead Good Books for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily.
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