#MaloneMonday: House Of Spines by Michael J Malone @MichaelJMalone1 @OrendaBooks #HouseOfSpines #BookReview #BlogSeries

It’s finally here! The second instalment of the bi-weekly #MaloneMonday. This week I’m sharing my thoughts and feelings about the second Malone that’s been published by the fantastic indie publisher Orenda Books. So welcome, grab a cuppa and be prepared to immediately add House of Spines to your TBR pile!

If you missed the first post of the #MaloneMonday series, you can read my A Suitable Lie review here.

The paperback of A Suitable Lie was published by Orenda Books way back on the 15th of September 2017, and similar to his previous book, it’s a darkly delicious thriller. You can grab a physical copy here, or if you prefer an ebook, here!

What you see isn’t always real…
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, Ran has inherited Newton Hall, a vast mansion that belonged to his great-uncle, who had been watching from afar as his estranged geat-nephew grew up.
Entering his new-found home, it seems Great-uncle Alexander 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.

What has become apparent with Michael’s books is that they are easy to read but difficult to forget, just thinking of the intense writing sticks in my gut, in the amazing ways that great reads do. House of Spines is completely different from A Suitable Lie, less brutal but with similar creativity and psychological twistiness, as well as entwining real life themes into the writing.

Ranald McGhie has had a hard life, we are drawn into his narrative after he inherits a mansion from a family member who he never thought that he had. This inheritance and change of scenery is welcomed after a bout of bad luck, from family deaths and a recent divorce. I couldn’t help but fall in love with Ran’s character, he came across as lovable and lonely. I felt that he had a childlike part of him who wanted to be accepted and loved himself especially after a traumatic life event where felt abandoned and unworthy of being loved. House of Spines is written from Ranald’s point of view which opens up the emotive side of the storyline while delving into both the psychological and mental stability of Ran. Just be prepared to have your heart strings tugged at and your mind warped.

The tension of House of Spines increases as you start to question the events taking place, as well as Ran’s sanity while the chills slowly creeps up your spine. The plotline felt like a twisted take on a traditional ghost story, an added depth on a classic like The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson with a creeping fear factor. Michael has a magnificent eye for details, showcasing both his creativity skills that have been used to develop beautifully written imagery with perfectly planned chronological events with added flashbacks to childhood and life events etc., as a way to dive deeper into the dominant themes which included bereavement, mental wellbeing and complex family relationships to an extent.

House of Spines is a harrowing psychological thriller that will captivate you from page one, pulling you into a poetically twisty tale, that is very attentive to character development. I’ve never come across a thriller with such heart, the writing felt personal, and real. Bloody fantastic read!


Thanks for visiting this weeks Malone review, check out the next and final instalment of #MaloneMonday on the 15th of July, where i’ll review After He Died!

Happy Reading.

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