When Fiona Lawson returns home early from an out of town getaway, she is greeted by a thoroughly confusing sight: two complete strangers are moving into her home. Told in three styles– a podcast interview from Fi’s perspective; a Word document from estranged husband Bram’s perspective; and an omniscient narrator– Our House depicts a gripping crime that’s refreshingly unique in the increasingly ubiquitous genre of suspense/psychological thrillers.
It’s always tricky to review a mystery without giving too much essential plot information, so suffice it to say that one of the story’s strengths from the outset is its novelty (pardon the pun, but it was just too easy!). I’ve mentioned before on here that it seems that every other novel being published these days is a mystery/suspense novel– which is GREAT and not a complaint, just an observation– but my apprehension with this explosion is that so many of these stories tend to be very similar. A reader can almost always count on someone disappearing, a murder-or-was-it-actually-an-accident type scenario, a kidnapping, etc. The common tropes of the genre are all well and good, and I will continue reading the genre because I just genuinely enjoy it, but it is certainly exciting to pick up a suspenseful novel with a different angle. I recall being slightly apprehensive when I picked this up, actually, because the central action being *SPOILER ALERT, highlight to read* an elaborate fraud resulting in a woman’s home being stolen from her right in plain sight *END OF SPOILER* seemed so far from the status quo that I wasn’t sure I would be interested enough to commit to 400 pages of it.
Our House is full of twists and progressive levels of deceit and depravity that enthralled me from page one. With each new revelation, not only did I audibly gasp several times, prompting concerned “Is everything okay?” remarks from my roommate, I found myself further invested in discovering how this would all wrap up. An additional, very interesting strength, Candlish has a distinct ability to sort of retroactively develop her characters. Partially served by the not-totally-linear timeline, more and more facts about Fi and Bram’s histories are divulged at such crucial moments in the plot that one finds oneself Monday Morning Quarterbacking the decisions they’ve made to date.
One final note of praise for something that seems minimal but, to me, is not: the avenue of a true crime podcast interview with the novel’s heroine is brilliant. With interest in podcasts like My Favorite Murder, Netflix series on Ted Bundy, etc. skyrocketing these days, Candlish displays a very respectable cognizance of the things to which readers gravitate (other than books, of course!) and infuses a certain deceptive level of realism into the entire novel. Our House is a delicious balance of fantastical and cerebral aspects that will keep a solid grasp on your attention and your emotions throughout.
Buy Our House right here or grab it from your local library! I hope you love it as much as I did.
Happy reading 🙂