Book Review: The House, by Simon Lelic #TheHouse

Publisher: Penguin

Publication date: 17/08/17 [Ebook] 02/11/17 [Paperback]

Once upon a time there were two people in the big city of London who found buying their first fairy tale property together a thoroughly dreadful experience. Then, after many, many disappointments, their dream came true when a detached house, complete with the previous owner’s creepy taxidermy, became theirs.

Those two lucky, plucky people are Sydney Baker and Jack Walsh and The House is where their nightmare begins…

I have one word for this book – fright-tastic. The couple’s alternating written monologue, entitled simply ‘Jack’ or ‘Sydney’ as chapter headings, relays their initial excitement from the shock of winning the auction bid and how that took a massive nosedive the longer they resided in The House.

At first I wondered why the story is being narrated in this weirdly dynamic fashion. I won’t elaborate simply because all becomes clear other than to say it kept me on my toes throughout. Their tale of terror is brought to the boil by casually inserting a few perfectly timed Stephen Kingisms into the dialogue, which raised a smile. And when situations begin to resemble Mr King’s creations you realise just how grim your world has become.

Jack and Sydney’s exchanges are naturally heartfelt and their fear so fresh I could almost smell it. The rhythm and pitch of their voices felt as if their account was being spoken aloud by them, not read by me. I could instantly tell when events unsettled them and they even revealed one or two unsaid things to each other as the true nature of the menace took hold.

This is the “Titanic” of home ownership, only the hazard manifests itself in a way no one could have expected. If only it was dry rot or a cockroach infestation they had to contend with instead of the alarming instances that would change their lives forever.

The House is a deviously chilling and hypnotic read. On the face of it, a young couple’s future is clouded by an unseen shadow. One that watches them, rattles them, and won’t let go – much like the story itself as I was bewitched from the first sentence.

Yes. Yes. I appreciate I have been deliberately cryptic, but that’s only so you can experience The House for yourself without any hint as to what you will discover when you visit. With its cracking momentum and a mystery that does a terrific job of keeping its guard up I liked this one, a lot.

Rating:  4/5

(I received a copy of this title from the publisher with my thanks. It was my absolute pleasure to read this book and provide this unbiased review.

(Courtesy of Amazon UK)



Londoners Jack and Syd moved into the house a year ago. It seemed like their dream home: tons of space, the perfect location, and a friendly owner who wanted a young couple to have it.

So when they made a grisly discovery in the attic, Jack and Syd chose to ignore it. That was a mistake.

Because someone has just been murdered. Right outside their back door.

And now the police are watching them…




(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

Simon Lelic is married, with two young boys. As well as writing, he currently runs his own import/export business. Previously, he worked in London as a journalist for eight years, primarily on business-to-business publications dealing with topics relating to information technology.

Simon has a BA (Hons) degree in History and an MA in European Studies from the University of Exeter, and a Magistar in Sociology, awarded by the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland, where he studied for four months. He also holds a post-graduate qualification in journalism.

Other than his family, reading is Simon’s biggest passion, but he also runs, plays golf and takes regular snowboarding trips. Otherwise, his main hobby is karate, in which he trains daily and holds a black belt.

Simon’s father was born in Slovenia, and moved to the UK when he was sixteen. Simon was born in Brighton, England, and recently moved back there with his family.