Source: Review copy
Publication: 16 July 2020 from Viper
THERE’S A SERIAL KILLER ON THE RUN
AND HE’S HIDING IN YOUR HOUSE
Thomas Brogan is a serial killer. With a trail of bodies in his wake and the police hot on his heels, it seems like Thomas has nowhere left to hide. That is until he breaks into an abandoned house at the end of a terrace on a quiet street. And when he climbs up into the loft, he realises that he can drop down into all the other houses through the shared attic space.
That’s when the real fun begins. Because the one thing that Thomas enjoys even more than killing is playing games with his victims – the lonely old woman, the bickering couple, the tempting young newlyweds. And his new neighbours have more than enough dark secrets to make this game his best one yet…
Do you fear The Resident? Soon you’ll be dying to meet him.
This is only my second David Jackson book, and I see that when I read Your Deepest Fear I was excited by the potential for a new author whose style fits my sense of what a creepy thriller should be. I do like a book where everything the reader knows is seen from the perspective of the killer, and this is just the right vehicle for David Jackson’s disturbed serial killer, Thomas Brogan.
Now, I have to admit, somewhat shockingly, that I enjoyed this book. Whether that says something about me, I don’t know, but it is mildly disturbing that I can feel so warmly towards a novel that is creepy, involves unpleasant murders, rotting corpses and a killer who has conversations with the voices in his head. Yet, I do feel kindly towards it and I was thoroughly entertained by it.
Brogan is a disturbed individual. On the run from the police he literally stumbles in tan abandoned house at the end of a terrace, which, fortuitously for him, has an attic space that hasn’t been bricked off by the individual houses. Thus he has the run of the three remaining houses – or really two, because one householder has the presence of mind to have a rather large dog.
We see the other residents through the eyes of Brogan as a voyeur and visitor to their houses when they occupants are out, or in Elsie’s case, in bed. The focus of his attention is the couple in the end house. Young and attractive, he enjoys playing games by finding out their secrets and using them to conduct a form of psychological warfare on them.
It helps that all is not perfect in their marriage and Brogan enjoys exploiting those flaws and creating a rift between them, all the while waiting for his moment to alert them to his presence.
As the reader spends time with him in the attic, we get a sense of why he is as disturbed, what his background has been and it is hard not to feel some sympathy for this disturbed human being whose sense of humanity still lurks somewhere inside, deeply repressed and in constant argument with his other self.
Even as he creeps around the houses, helping himself to food, taking showers, rifling their drawers, you sense that playing with the objects of his attention is all part of the enjoyment for this sadistic killer.
Verdict: Fast-paced, creepy and nicely twisty. There is a lot of dark comedy built into this book, which saves it from being unremittingly bleak. It is written with a light and easy hand. I was completely absorbed by it and thoroughly enjoyed it. A stonking good read!