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.
I'm very happy to be on the blog tour for this excellent novel.
I was about a quarter of the way into this book when a fellow blogger, noticing the striking cover, asked me what kind of book The House is. At that point I wasn’t entirely sure, but now that I have finished it, it is clear that it is a modern Gothic novel.
Imbued throughout with an eerie, creepy, haunted feeling, this is more than a psychological thriller, more than a crime novel and so much moe than a horror story, though it has elements of all of these.
Syd and Jack are a pretty ordinary couple. They’ve been together for ages, but have struggled to get anywhere at all on the London housing ladder. Their housing wish list has gone from a list of desirable assets like a garden and location to just one thing – a place in London.
So when they go and see an old house in a decent neighbourhood, which the owner has walked away from to start a new life in Australia, Syd immediately sees the potential. Sure, the house is stuffed to the gunnels with the owners hoarded belongings; endless photographs, a somewhat creepy taxidermy collection and loads of other stuff that the couple neither want nor need.
Jack is a little less enamoured of the house, but knows they can’t afford to be choosy. Besides, there’s a lot of interest from buyers, and they can’t afford a massive bid, so what the hell…
This then, is where the novel begins. Told in alternate voices and in the form of a first person written narrative, we learn from the story that Jack and Syd are telling just what occurs after they discover that, against all the odds, they have been successful in their bid for the house.
The written narrative is a fascinating device – they are writing for an audience, and so they correct and clarify each other in succeeding chapters until layer upon layer, we find out more about Jack and Syd and others in their lives. These are characters that spring to life from the page – engaging, witty and irreverent. Not without troubles and secrets of their own, you know this is a couple you just have to root for.
As we read, we begin to understand that this house has secrets of its own; secrets that Jack will at first seek to hide from Syd, but which are deeply troubling.
There are strange smells, noises in the night and then one day, clearing out the attic, Jack makes a truly chilling discovery. Something is really not right with this house and as Jack tries to delve deeper, chilling events begin occur.
The House cleverly takes the elements of a contemporary thriller and plays with them, ramping up the suspense, injecting a deeply spooky feel to Jack and Syd’s lives whilst creating a mesmerising psychological thriller. Causing us to question whether one or both are reliable narrators, this novel keeps you guessing right up to the end.
There are themes here, too of tragedy, abuse and revenge. All in all, The House is a heady cocktail of gripping contemporary gothic mystery and misdirection.
The House is published in e-book by Penguin on 17th August 2017
Simon Lelic was born in Brighton in 1976 and, after a decade or so living in London moved back to Brighton with his wife and three young children.
He studied history at the University of Exeter. After graduating, Simon did an MA. After that he took a post-grad course in journalism. After working freelance and then in business-to-business publishing, he now writes novels.
As well as writing, he runs an import/export business. His hobbies include reading, golf, tennis, snowboarding and karate.
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