It’s an absolute pleasure to be able to share my review today as part of the blog tour for House Of Spines by the very talented Michael J Malone. My thanks go to Orenda Books and Anne Cater for the opportunity.
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 it seems has been watching from afar as his estranged great-nephew has grown up. Entering his new-found home, it seems 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…
Published by Orenda Books
I knew as soon as I saw the cover for House Of Spines that Michael J Malone had a real treat for us, I didn’t realise though what a devilish treat it would be.
Luck seems to be on Ranald McGhies side when he discovers that he has inherited Newton Hall, a vast mansion full of books from his Great-Uncle Fitzpatrick. A Great-Uncle, Ran didn’t even know existed. Full of excitement and trepidation, Ran walks through the doors to his new home and is hut by a chilling presence . What secrets does Newton Hall hold?
House Of Spines isn’t a fast paced story, there’s no wham, bam, thank you mam, what we do get though is a very clever story that slowly sooks you in and before you know it your heart is in your mouth and you’re looking over your shoulder.
Ran was a really interesting character, a likeable one but a very troubled soul. Through out the story we find out just how troubled Ran is and why and this gives the story a different edge, I found myself wondering if what was happening was real or Ran’s imagination. With so many secrets and unanswered questions though I think I’d be feeling a bit out of sorts as well put in that situation. Ran is a character that I really started to care for and worry about, his mental health issues really made me question my own sanity the more I became invested in the book.
House Of Spines is an incredibly good read, I was totally there with Ran in Newton Hall. I had chills and will admit was a wee bit spooked at some points. I just couldn’t help being drawn in, totally captivated and horrified at the same time. And although there is a ghostly presence throughout the book there are so many more elements to this story.
Michael J Malone took me on a journey, he filled my head with the unimaginable and made it come alive. I’ve never read a book like House Of Spines before, this is a unique story that not only gives you beautiful descriptions of Newton Hall it gives you a sense of fear as well. Full of tension, with each page the author weaves a spell over the reader and I have to say this was an outstanding read. It’s really difficult to put into words how blooming good this book was without giving away any of the plot so I urge you to go and read House Of Spines. I really don’t think you will be disappointed at all.
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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 http://www.crimesquad.com. A former Regional Sales Manager (Faber & Faber) he has also worked as an IFA and a bookseller.