REVIEW: The House, Simon Lelic

Tuesday, 7 November 2017


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...
Can I just say that I’m really disappointed? Like really, really, really disappointed. I wished for The House on NetGalley, absolutely gutted to find out that the publisher was no longer sending out ARCs when it had such a gripping and compelling synopsis, but a few days later (ta-DA), my wish had been granted. So thank you to Penguin but this book is just a no from me.
The main reason why I was drawn to The House, was that it just sounded like the perfect thriller/mystery/don’t-read-in-the-dark book that I’ve been searching for, for a long (long) time. But its reality didn’t match up to that.
I don’t know if it was marketed wrong, or if I’m just stone cold when it comes to this sort of subject matter, but it just didn’t fit into any of those archetypes. Although I can see why they had such a problem, because I wouldn’t know what to categorise it as either. Because, instead of focussing on the mystery of the creepy house (aka one of the archetypal horror settings) and the (hopefully) terrifying things happening within its walls, the novel chose to focus on the failings of the two people living there, Jack and Sydney.
And boy, did they have failings.
Without getting into too many details, let’s just say that those two should NOT be a couple. They were self-destructive and paranoid, and far too supposedly self-aware to be making some of the ridiculous decisions that they kept making.
Reading about the two of them was like watching one of those really bad and dramatic soap operas that my grandma really likes. And the analogy really works, because it was like the book was repeatedly being affected by extensive retconning (aka Retroactive Continuity). Plot points would be shoved in that I assume were supposed to be shocking and twisty, and yet they felt like an out-of-the-blue afterthought. Supposedly, this was because The House was written in a journal/letter/who-knows-what format and Simon Lelic was attempting to portray Jack and Sydney as unreliable, but it came off clunky and badly-written.
If I’m continuing to be honest, the only thing I’ve truly gained from The House is an overwhelming feeling of disappointment and dreams of what could have been. Oh, The House, how I wish I had loved you. Here is to hoping that the next thriller that I read, is finally the one I’ve been looking for.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for sending me a copy of this book in exchange of an honest review

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