Top positive review
Enjoyable mystery where the house is almost another character
9 October 2018
I love psychological thrillers that feature “haunted” houses – not necessarily of the ghostly kind, but where the house serves almost like an extra character in the story. So when I stumbled across the premise of Clarke's latest thriller, I was instantly intrigued.
Have you ever thought about renting out your house on Airbnb? I don't really like the thought of strangers living in my house, but after this story I will definitely think twice about it! What if your houseguests had some ulterior motive? And your house suddenly feels no longer safe? This is famous author Elle Field's reality after she returns to her luxurious seafront house on the wild Cornish coast after renting it to a family whilst she was overseas. Come to think of it, no one has actually ever laid eyes on the tenants, but they have certainly left behind a presence – things appear in the wrong places, Elle feels watched constantly and suddenly everything seems to go wrong for her. The worst thing is that the changes are so subtle that Elle’s fears sound ridiculous even to her own ears. Is there something sinister going on, or is it all in her mind?
I admit that whilst I enjoyed the story, I had a bit of trouble connecting with Elle, and I found her stand-offish and irritating at times, which made me somewhat intolerant of her frequent complaining. Not only had she managed to totally peeve off her neighbours by building a huge mansion that blocked their ocean view, but she also has some demons she is keeping from her nearest and dearest. Despite this, I thoroughly enjoyed the role the house played in the story, and thought it could have been exploited even more to make the story creepier. Whilst the final reveal was not as mind-blowing as I had hoped, it held a few unexpected surprises.
All in all an enjoyable mystery in the vein of Simon Lelic's The House, or The Girl Before by J.P, Delaney.