Author Mark Edwards describes his psychological thrillers as stories “in which scary things happen to ordinary people”. No kidding! I actually had nightmares about this book and felt so stressed throughout that it gave me a tension headache. This is the third book this month where ordinary people have had their homes taken over by evil houseguests, and I don’t like it! It freaks me out!!!!
After a whirlwind romance followed closely by marriage to the gorgeous Gemma, science teacher Elliot feels like his life is complete. He has everything he can ever want: a loving partner, a beautiful home, a job he loves and an adored cat who is like a child to him. That’s until his in-laws come to stay for two weeks – and never move out. Which in itself is terrifying, except that you have no idea how bad it can get, because these are not your average family but a bunch of utter psychopaths! Sweet Elliot, whose own parents are long dead, has no chance against the destructive force that is about to be unleashed on his life.
This is my third book by Mark Edwards, and he is becoming a go-to author for me when I want a truly terrifying domestic noir thriller that messes with my mind. His stories are never predictable, and neither do they always end the way I would like, i.e. the good guys win, the bad ones get punished, or swallowed by a black hole, or incinerated by the breath of an avenging dragon. Instead, there are crazy twists at every turn, some so hair-raising that if this was a scary movie I would have to turn the volume on low and peek through my fingers. No such luck here, though. The story slowly unrolled in all its horrifying glory, and I felt like I had knives thrown at my heart. I am relieved to hear that this story has not been inspired by the author’s own in-laws, who apparently are lovely (really????).
As I am sitting here writing this review, I still feel the remnants of tension in my gut, the sort that only a stiff drink and a night off the thrillers can fix. At this stage I am determined that I am never going to have houseguests ever again!
Phew, deep breath! In summary, if you like a tense, nightmarish thriller that will take over your dreams like the evil houseguests in Mark Edward’s latest story, then go for it! Disclaimer: if you suffer from high blood pressure, anxiety or poor impulse control (i.e. book throwing), do not enter into this without consulting your doctor first. Also, this book is like reading about a plane crash before embarking on a long-haul flight, so if your in-laws’ visit is imminent, I recommend skipping it for now. Who am I kidding? This book is pure hell!!!!! Enter at your own risk! And don’t say I didn’t warn you ....