Publication Date: Available Now: Kindle 15th September Paperback from Orenda
Source: Review Copy
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.
House Of Spines is a brilliantly creepy and extraordinarily readable (translation: I had another late night) psychological gothic thriller, strongly character driven and with added shiver.
Definitely with added shiver!
The tension in this book is palpable – an inheritance, a seemingly easy task, but something is not quite right and soon our main protagonist is caught up in his very own ghost story. He is not exactly mentally stable, for the reader the house comes alive on the page and as we head further into the tale you’ll be glancing over your shoulder, jumping at shadows and randomly shrieking when you catch sight of your reflection in the window. Just me? Well ok then but still..fair warning. The odd off kilter feelings build and build from first page to last, it is incredibly immersive.
House of Spines is like a gothic “ghost” story of old, beautifully written, beautifully plotted, intensely creepy practically straight from the start – themes of mental health and personality with a gorgeous hit of modern unreliable narrator, all wrapped up in a bow and delivered to the reader with class and style. Michael J Malone is going through a bit of a literary awakening with both this, and his previous novel A Suitable Lie, I must say I’m loving that very much and can’t wait to see what comes next.
Although you’ll have to give me time to get over this one first. I really engaged with Ran, and with the house and with the whole thing. Utterly absorbing, never less than eerily fascinating, House Of Spines hits the sweet spot in terms of both storytelling and emotional resonance – and with the added bookish theme, it really is a perfect storm.
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