Welcome to my stop on this Blog Tour for HOUSE OF SPINES – the lastest novel from the rather excellent Michael J. Malone.
I would like to say that I am blown away to be invited onto this blog tour! Particular thanks to Anne Cater, Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books and of course the fantastic Louise Beech who gifted me an early copy of HOUSE OF SPINES. I am forever grateful and promise that the review below is 100% honest and of my own views.
To kick off, we have the “blurb” for the book;
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 appears to have been watching from afar as his estranged great-nephew has grown up.
Entering his new-found home, he finds that 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…
So, you want to know what I think?
Firstly, if you are the type of person that gets creeped at when you’re home alone and you hear random noises in the house…..do not read this book when you are home alone! I made that mistake on a Friday where with only the TV on low volume for background, I could hear every pipe, every knock, the wind, the dog barking at it’s own shadow!
HOUSE OF SPINES is creepy, chilling and definitely gave me the jeebies when reading it. This story starts out like a normal haunted house mystery, but as the book progresses, we start to learn that there is something more sinister at play.
I don’t want to give too much away in regards to plot as I feel this is one of those books that you must go into without knowing too much so that the small twists and turns are a real pleasure to uncover. The character of Ran was most intriguing for me, his life, as the blurb suggests is turned completely on its head when he discovers that not only does he have an extended family he has never interacted with, but he is left a substantial chunk of his relatives will.
Michael’s writing style fits well with how I like to read as he is able to build an atmosphere and an image of the house without going into paragraphs and pages of over-description. For some reason, the house I automatically thought of was the X-Mens mansion, with all the wooden cladding on the walls! Random I know, but that’s the power of the written word and our minds!
HOUSE OF SPINES is one of those books that I will be now recommending to people when they tell me they want a bit of scare. PERFECT for the Halloween season!
About Michael J. Malone;
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.
You can buy HOUSE OF SPINES from the following booksellers (but obvs you can get it at other awesome booksellers too!);
Be sure to check out the other blogs participating in this Blog Tour. See below for further details and be sure to follow all of the action across Twitter!