Quote “Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying he was psychopathically charismatic or anything like that. He didn’t set out to use his powers for evil. More likely his powers were no match for the evil he chanced upon.” Chapter 34, Fi’s Story >1:59:07
That quotation from Bram Lawson’s wife Fiona appears to be a fair assessment of her husband’s character but is it accurate? Bram made one faulty decision which started the ball rolling over and over until it rolled into a brick wall, and the wall started to topple.
The unforced yet headlong pace of this novel has to be read to be understood. It is full-on right from the opening line: “London, 12.30 p.m. She must be mistaken, but it looks exactly as if someone is moving into her house.”
Author Louise Candlish has the knack of subverting expectations, making her characters do things I hadn’t anticipated, and making them believable. Everything that could go wrong, did go wrong in a progression of events at 91 Trinity Avenue in the London suburb of Alder Rise where property values are in the millions.
In this transfixing drama of house fraud and so much more, the main players are Bram and Fiona; their two young sons; would-be homeowners David and Lucy Vaughan; neighbour Merle; Mike and Wendy; the website of crime podcast The Victim.
Told by Fiona (Fi) and Bram, their retrospective sides of the story nearly overlap yet never quite converge, building a strong sense of unease. With foreboding I followed their newly separated, and prickly, domestic rituals with bird’s nest custody arrangements. I almost shouted at the book a couple of times—I can’t reveal why—as deception and indiscretion insinuated themselves into the story.
Woven through the redolent London background are family moments, some more heart-wrenching than others, before a nasty turn of events and the final dénouement. While the catastrophic narrative honour goes to Bram, the overarching theme is home ownership and who legally owns the house. Apparently it is, or was, a possibility that this kind of deed transfer could happen.
“Our House” is the best crime book I’ve read this year, well crafted and written with an ending which sends out shock waves. If you like incomparable award-winning psychological thrillers, I urge you to read this one.
Five Star Rating
♥ Gretchen Bernet-Ward
About the Author:
Louise Candlish is the author of eleven previous novels, including “The Sudden Departure of the Frasers”, “The Swimming Pool” and the international bestseller “Since I Don’t Have You”. Louise studied English at University College London and worked as an advertising copywriter and art book editor before writing fiction. She lives in South London with her husband and teenage daughter. “Those People” is her next book.
Author website http://www.louisecandlish.com/
I also recommend author and WordPress reviewer Rachel McLean
There are perceptive book club questions in a Reader’s Guide at the end of “Our House”.