A terrifying psychological thriller cum Gothic mystery, as a young man with mental health issues inherits an isolate mansion, where all is not as it seems…
Ran McGhie’s world has been turned upside down. A young, lonely and frustrated writer, and suffering from mental-health problems, he discovers that his long-dead mother was related to one of Glasgow’s oldest merchant families. Not only that, but Ran has inherited Newton Hall, a vast mansion that belonged to his great-uncle, who it seems has been watching from afar as his estranged great-nephew has grown up. Entering his new-found home, it seems Great-Uncle Fitzpatrick has turned it into a temple to the written word – the perfect place for poet Ran. But everything is not as it seems. As he explores the Hall’s endless corridors, Ran’s grasp on reality appears to be loosening. And then he comes across an ancient lift; and in that lift a mirror. And in the mirror… the reflection of a woman… A terrifying psychological thriller with more than a hint of the Gothic, House of Spines is a love letter to the power of books, and an exploration of how lust and betrayal can be deadly…
Firstly I would like to thank Orenda books, the author and blog tour organiser Anne Cater for the ARC copy of this book in return for an honest review.
House of Spines had me scared and just a little freaked out. It is both deeply disturbing and at the same time highly addictive. You find yourself glad you’re not the one living in the house which is haunted by a presence both seductive and alarming. Yet in you go, into the House Of Spines, which Ran McGhie, a poet with mental health problems, inherited from his Uncle Fitzapatrick. As he begins to question if he is losing his grip on reality, you as the reader, begin to question with him, the sanity of entering this house, whose very walls seem to be seeped with a horror leaking through from the past.
The writing is superb! Michael Malone manages with great skill to keep the suspense flowing throughout the story, until the very last page of this highly engaging psychological thriller, with elements of horror and hints of a Gothic mystery. It’s such an engaging combination that I found myself addicted to the Ran’s story. The quality of the narrative forcing me to overcome my feelings dread and alarm at the mounting terror let loose on Ran. Yet you go back in! I needed to know if Ran was suffering a deeply frightening psychotic event, or if the lady in the mirror really was there. Luring him into a world beyond the temple of words, his Uncle had built to beauty of the written word, or was it meant for another reason? Michael Malone cleverly keeps the horror under control, eases the tension back that is coiling around your mind, just enough so that you don’t lose your nerve, but it’s there constantly under the surface. He allows you to calm down a little, only then to send you hurtling back into Ran’s nightmare, but one so seductive, both you and he almost welcome its embrace.
This is without doubt first class story telling from a writer who can form a storyline and characters , that are so engaging, you just don’t want your trip into the House of Spines to end. I may never feel as safe alone in a lift again, even the one in my favourite Waterstone’s bookshop! It’s an odd feeling to know that you are scared of events woven into a storyline, yet on and on you read.
Orenda books have yet again delivered a masterful story to its readers. While author Michael Malone has given booklovers a story which will haunt them for months after they have read the last page.
Bravo to this remarkably talented team.
Michael Malone is a prize-winning poet and author who was born and brought up in the heart of Burns’ country, just a stone’s throw from the great man’s cottage in Ayr. Well, a stone thrown by a catapult. He has published over 200 poems in literary magazines throughout the UK, including New Writing Scotland, Poetry Scotland and Markings. His career as a poet has also included a (very) brief stint as the Poet-In- Residence for an adult gift shop. Blood Tears, his bestselling debut novel won the Pitlochry Prize (judge: Alex Gray) from the Scottish Association of Writers. Other published work includes: Carnegie’s Call (a non-fiction work about successful modern-day Scots); A Taste for Malice; The Guillotine Choice; Beyond the Rage and The Bad Samaritan. His psychological thriller, A Suitable Lie, was a number one bestseller. Michael is a regular reviewer for the hugely popular crime fiction website http://www.crimesquad.com. A former Regional Sales Manager (Faber & Faber) he has also worked as an IFA and a bookseller.
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