Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Book Review: The House by Simon Lelic (@Simon_Lelic)

The perfect couple. The perfect house. 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.

My intrigue in this novel was sparked by an interesting envelope I received in the post from Penguin UK one fine day. I immediately wondered what it could be, and opened up said envelope to find a piece of card with the cover of this novel depicted on it, as well as a key for 11 Lambeth Lane. On the back of the piece of card, it instructed that I head to the given website and use the password to enter. So I did, and thoroughly enjoyed the mini-adventure I was taken on, as I was introduced to Jack and Syd, the main characters of this novel, and given a bit of an insight into what the book would entail. It's fair to say that what I read was enough to have me requesting a review copy of this book which I began immediately. I couldn't wait to delve into what sounded like a gripping story and once I began reading, found myself completely obsessed with what unfolded within the pages.

In The House by Simon Lelic, readers are introduced to Jack and Syd. In the most intriguing of ways, this story unfolds in what I suppose is a diary format. One by one, Jack and Syd tell their side of the story and I absolutely loved how much this pulled me in. It certainly had the desired effect on me as the reader. There was so much that I wanted to know as slowly, the details were revealed to me, and it quickly became clear that something HUGE had happened to this couple, something terrifying, although what, I had absolutely no idea. I was desperate to find out, though, and roared through the pages, my mind a hive of activity as one suspicion took over another.

One thing that I picked up on was how I was told that this absolutely was NOT a ghost story, although at the beginning, it certainly had me believing the opposite. I'll be completely honest with you, it chilled me to the bone. I began reading with the TV off, in darkness, but after just a few short chapters, had to get up and turn the TV back on simply because Lelic's storytelling managed to crawl right beneath my skin and affect me in the most unnerving of ways. Despite my fear, I loved it and couldn't get enough. I am a bit of a wimp but I love the thrill of being scared, and the author certainly achieved that. Lelic's style had a shocking simplicity to it, and the author managed to keep that up right the way through the novel, meaning I couldn't bear to put it down.

With the tension so high and my desperation to know the truth behind Syd and Jack's circumstances growing with every chapter that I passed, I will admit that I was a tad underwhelmed by the ending of this book. Not that it was bad or anything like that, not at all. But the build-up was so exquisitely done, I suppose I was hoping for a bit more of a shocking end to it all. Having said that, the rest of the book was fantastically executed with the most perfect pacing to it which had me on the very edge of my seat. I really was gripped from beginning to end, and found the characters within this book compelling to say the least.

All in all, The House by Simon Lelic was a dark & goosebump-inducing novel about family, harbouring secrets, and how far people will go to ensure you cannot escape. It's about shedding identities, letting go of the past and escaping the things that haunt you. I will certainly be keeping an eye out for any future releases of Lelic's because this was brilliant. With thanks to Penguin UK for the review copy of this novel.

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