Review: The House by Simon Lelic


2 stars


What if your perfect home turned out to be the scene of the perfect crime?

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…

long borrder


I had heard some good things about this book so before I started it, I already had a reasonably high expectation of it. I went into it enjoying it, but that gradually went down and down and down. What I’m saying is, I didn’t love, or even really like this.

Mainly, it was the characters that ruined it this for me. Syd I didn’t like from the get-go. I thought she was selfish and always so hypocritical. She was allowed to act one way, but as soon as Jack began acting the same way she judged him for it. Damaged characters can sometimes be a breath of fresh air and other times they can be so “oh-woe-is-me” and hate the world that they just get on my nerves. Can you guess which one Syd was? As for Jack, I began the story a fan of his. I thought he seemed sweet, but gradually he became more immature.

Whenever either one found out that the other one was “holding something back” neither one took the higher ground and tried to get to the root of the issue, they just acted like a child – “well if he’s keeping a secret from me, I won’t tell him what I know”. Real life relationships don’t work like that, and I think that’s why I felt no real chemistry between the couple. Nothing about their pairing was enjoyable to read.

I didn’t have as much of an issue with the plot, the premise was originally what made me want to read the book after-all. But I tell you what, I’m sick to death of the same themes running throughout mystery thriller books at the moment. (Spoilers on what I mean are going to be hidden on Goodreads). There was literally nothing about this book that was unique in anyway, apart from maybe the prose, which I thought could work really well, but in this case didn’t.

In terms of the prose, this is written as though Syd and Jack are writing to each other, and then reading what the other says and writing a reply for their own chapter. There are definitely ways this could have worked in favour for the novel, but to me, it felt messy. It was probably meant to portray chaos but it didn’t work. The characters just ended up babbling to each other, not finishing sentences and half finishing stories.

In the end, this one really disappointed me (could you tell?). There was none of the promised suspense and grisly drama and it ended it the most predictable way possible. What a shame.

*Buy it here: Amazon UK | Book Depository | Wordery

Thanks to Netgalley and Penguin Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review. Sorry I didn’t like it!

*affiliate link

13 Replies to “Review: The House by Simon Lelic”

  1. I’ve read some really clever books that were written as letters between the main characters (my absolute favorite of those being “Sorcery and Cecilia: or the Enchanted Chocolate Pot” by Wrede and Stevermer) but if it’s done poorly that concept REALLY flops. It’s a shame that this one didn’t live up to your hopes!

    Liked by 1 person

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