Beautiful double room to let to single person
Lisa, a troubled young woman with a past, can’t believe her luck when she finds a beautiful room to rent in a large house. The live-in owners are a kind and welcoming couple. Everything is fine until she finds a suicide note hidden in her room. But when the couple insist this man didn’t exist and that Lisa is their first tenant, Lisa begins to doubt herself.
Compelled to undercover the secrets of the man who lived in the room before her, Lisa is alarmed when increasingly disturbing incidents start to happen. Someone doesn’t want Lisa to find out the truth.
As the four walls of this house and its secrets begin to close in on Lisa, she descends into a hellish hall of mirrors where she’s not sure what’s real and what’s not as she claws her way towards the truth…
Did this room already claim one victim?
Is it about to take another?
I am delighted to be taking part on day one of the blog blitz for Spare Room by Dreda Say Mitchell. My thanks to Emma Welton at Bloodhound Books for inviting me on to the tour and for my copy of the book which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.
I have wondered from time to time recently whether the trend of the ‘domestic noir’ psychological thriller might have run its course and there can’t possibly be anything fresh and new to come out of this genre – it has all been done to death (pun entirely intended!). Then you come across a book like this one and an awakened interest in this type of book is ignited by a novel with fantastic writing, breath-taking suspense and twists so devious that you couldn’t possibly have seen them coming.
This book is deeply creepy, from the extremely disturbing prologue until the unforeseeable denouement where the truth of everything is finally revealed. The main character is Lisa, a confused and tormented girl who finds herself renting a room in a house which hides a multitude of secrets and pain behind its innocent facade, and her already tenuous grasp on sanity is stretched to its limits by her search for the truth about the house’s past, and her own.
I found Lisa a believable and very sympathetic character who easily draws the reader into the heart of the story and carries them breathlessly along with her as she digs into the mystery. All of the characters are well drawn and individual, but absolutely none of them are what they seem to be. The author very deftly completes tiny pieces of the puzzle throughout the book to keep you guessing and then, every so often, throws in a bombshell that explodes every theory you thought you had and leaves you gasping and confused as you search for a new explanation for what is going on. This book has so many twists that you will meet yourself coming back and it will leave you in a complete spin.
The writing is fantastic, the author really creates an oppressive and dangerous atmosphere throughout the book; I found myself actually holding my breath in places and it is one of those books that had my racing to the end to get the puzzle finished. It did, perhaps, get a little crazy and outlandish towards the end, but it was all in the spirit and enjoyment of the story, and enjoy it I did. A huge thumbs up from me for this book, the first I have read by this author, and I will definitely be seeking out more of her writing.
Spare Room is out now and you can buy a copy here.
To read the rest of the reviews on the blitz, you can find the rest of the blogs taking part detailed on the poster below:
About the Author
Dreda Say Mitchell is an award-winning, bestselling crime writer, broadcaster, campaigner, and journalist. Since her sixth book she has been co-writing with Tony Mason. She is the author of eleven novels, with her debut awarded The CWA’s John Creasey Dagger. She has been a frequent guest on television and radio including Question Time, BBC Breakfast, Newsnight, Victoria Derbyshire, The Stephen Nolan Show, Front Row and Woman’s Hour and numerous others. She has presented Radio 4’s Open Book. Dreda was named one of Britain’s 50 Remarkable Women by Lady Geek in association with Nokia. She was the 2011 chair of the Harrogate Crime Fiction Festival. Dreda and Tony’s work is currently in development for TV. She was born and raised in the East End of London where she continues to live.
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Facebook: Dreda Say Mitchell