Book Review

The House by Simon Lelic

the house

I would normally write my own synopsis as part of a review, but I’m struggling to do this one justice without giving anything away, so I’ve decided to “borrow” the following from Amazon:

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…

The House is told from the alternating perspectives of Jack and Syd, and takes the form of a diary of sorts in which they both write their accounts of how they came to live in the house and what they’ve been through since then.  I found this to be an interesting and successful narrative device – the reader doesn’t know, at first, who they are writing for or why, and it was an interesting twist when their reasons for committing everything to paper become clearer.  Additionally, it soon becomes apparent that they are both hiding things from each other, yet both insist that the other should trust them.  This made me question the strength of their relationship which at the outset seemed strong, but as the story progressed, I couldn’t help but wonder as the cracks started to appear.

This was enhanced by Jack and Syd coming across as being the very definition of “opposites attract”.  Their differences are initially highlighted through their respective writing styles and the language they use, although the reader soon learns that it goes deeper than that.  Syd is something of a wild child, at least partly due to her traumatic childhood, whilst Jack comes across as being seems calm and sensible, the sort of person you might describe as being “as steady as a rock”.  He’s the practical one, the one who will deliberate over something whilst Syd seems more impulsive and flighty.  Whilst I felt sympathy for Syd and what she had been through, I struggled to engage with her at first and much preferred Jack’s perspective of events, although this did change as the novel progressed.  Whatever their differences, I did find them both to be extremely interesting characters.

When I requested The House from Netgalley, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect – there was something about the description / title / cover that hinted, to me at least, at something vaguely supernatural or horror-related, although this proved to be incorrect.  It’s a clever psychological thriller, and whilst there are some creepy moments, they aren’t of the paranormal variety.  I have to admit that I did have a suspicion as to the twist, although it wasn’t confirmed until the end of the story and it didn’t diminish my enjoyment of the novel at all.  I think that this is a very clever tale which offers something a little different to the reader.

I absolutely loved The House, and halfway through I was checking Amazon to see what else Lelic has written (I’m particularly intrigued by The Facility) and I will definitely be picking up his other novels.

The House will be published by Penguin on 17 August as an eBook and on 2 November in paperback.  Many thanks to the publisher for approving my request on Netgalley.

Rating: ★★★★★


  1. I’ve seen this on Netgalley and passed it right by, the cover didn’t pull me in but your review has me thinking I should give it a closer look. I love it when a book I don’t expect to like turns out to be one I love!:)

    1. Yeah, this was a little unexpected, but I really enjoyed it. Let me know if you decide to request it!

  2. Now I’m excited 😀 I assumed it was a psychological thriller, I didn’t think it was horror. Glad you loved this!

    1. Yeah – I’m not sure where I got the idea that it was horror from, there was just something about it that suggested it to me. It was great though – I really enjoyed it 😃

  3. I’m really looking forward to this after reading The Child Who a few years ago – I’m very relieved that there isn’t anything supernatural in the book too! Thanks for a great review to increase my anticipation 😊

    1. Thanks, Cleo – I hope you enjoy it! I really like the sound of his other novels – can’t believe I’ve not come across him before!

    1. It is odd, although I’ve known some titles to vary by location… Sorry to see that you didn’t enjoy it!

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