Today I am taking part in two blog tours for Orenda books! One of these books is the latest novel from Michael J. Malone. I have read one of Malone’s books before, having previously read and enjoyed A Suitable Lie. With his previous book being a moving story of domestic abuse, House Of Spines takes a completely different path with a dark tale featuring elements of a gothic horror…
In House Of Spines we meet Ranald McGhie, a young writer suffering from mental health issues whose life is about to change in mysterious ways. Ran discovers that he is the beneficiary of a man who he never knew, and that his long-dead mother was related to one of Glasgow’s oldest merchant families. As a result he inherits Newton Hall, a grand mansion previously owned by his great uncle, Alexander Fitzpatrick. And as he takes his first, tentative steps into his new home, he sees that Newton Hall may be the perfect place for a writer, with Alexander maintaining a well stocked library and all the reading nooks a bookworm could wish for. However, there is something in the mansion that makes Ran feel uncomfortable, a chilling feeling that something is not quite right – and there is definitely something sinister about the old elevator. With this the reader is left to question if Newton Hall is haunted, or if its new found owner is beginning to lose his grip on reality?
I really liked the sound of this book and was interested to find out more about the house and the history of the family who lived there. There was a creeping feeling of unease throughout at the prospect of long hidden secrets and ghostly goings on in the old house. I really felt for Ran as he tries to settle into life at the house, only to be plagued by frightening dreams and a sense that someone somewhere is watching him. Given Ran’s struggles with mental health, it leaves the reader to question whether the events that unfold are real, or if Ran’s health is deteriorating. I thought that this story was beautifully written and perfectly captures the creepy atmosphere of the mansion and I read on in interest to see what would be revealed and what secrets were hidden within these walls. And this did not disappoint as there were a few twists and turns along the way as Ran uncovers more of his ancestor’s history, and the stories behind the images that haunt him today. The plot developed gradually but kept me gripped throughout, leading up to a conclusion that lingers in the mind.
I thoroughly enjoyed House Of Spines and think it is an ideal read for anyone who enjoys mystery thrillers that have elements of the gothic. Malone has crafted a chilling tale with a sense of foreboding that had me hooked! House Of Spines was published in paperback on 15th September 2017 by Orenda Books. Many thanks to Anne Cater and Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books for providing a copy for review.
This review was written as part of the House Of Spines blog tour. You can check out the other stops on the tour on the dates and blogs below!