About House of Spines
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...
My review of House of Spines
House of Spines is a compelling gothic thriller with tons of suspense thrown in. This book genuinely unsettled me and I read it with a growing sense of impending doom. It's a a fabulous read!
The novel opens with a young Scottish man, Ran, learning that his deceased mother was related to a wealthy merchant family living in Glasgow. His mother had left the family when she married, as her family did not approve. When his estranged Uncle died, he bequeathed his Manor House, Newton Hall, to him... and so this delicious gothic suspense thriller begins.
The descriptions of Newton Hall are powerful and beautiful. I especially wanted to visit the library that housed the old man's love of books. I could smell their dusty pages and see the lamps dotted around the room. The description of the house and its layout are described in much detail, as we need to understand and immerse ourselves in this world, and what a delight it was to virtually walk along its corridors.
House of Spines is written predominantly from Ran's point of view. He is a writer, a loner, and a man who has a mental health condition. The author deals sensitively with the emotive subject of mental health. What Ran sees and hears is very subjective, and he is very much the unreliable narrator, but this is what makes the novel so captivating and enthralling. We never quite know what is true.
House of Spines is a disturbing read that is highly addictive, once I started to read I couldn't stop. I needed to follow Ran on his journey. I cared about him. He has s sharp and distinctive voice, and he spoke loudly and clearly to me. The deeper I got into the book, the greater the unease I felt. I read with a deep foreboding that was both thrilling and frightening at the same time. This really is a beautifully touching and personal account of a man who is quite lost in life, and I found it an emotional, yet uplifting read.
It is simply quite stunning. This book will stay with me for a very long time.
With thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me on the blog tour and the publisher for giving me an Advanced Reader Copy for review purposes.
House of Spines was published by Orenda Books on 16th August. It can be found on Amazon here.
About the author
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 www.crimesquad.com. A former Regional Sales Manager (Faber & Faber) he has also worked as an IFA and a bookseller.
Catch up with the rest of the blog tour