Synopsis: No. 23 has a secret. In this gloomy, bedsit-riddled South London wreck, lorded over by a lecherous landlord, a horrifying collection quietly waits to be discovered. Yet all six residents have something to hide.
Collette is on the run from her ex-boss; Cher is an underage children’s home escapee; lonely Thomas tries to make friends with his neighbours; while a gorgeous Iranian asylum seeker and a ‘quiet man’ nobody sees try to keep themselves hidden. And there for them all is Vesta, a woman who knows everything that goes on in the house – or thought she did.
Then in the dead of night, a terrible accident pushes the six into an uneasy alliance. But one of them is a killer, expertly hiding their pastime, all the while closing in on their next victim…
My Rating: 5/5
My Review: I read Alex Marwood’s debut novel and as much as I enjoyed it, it made me feel uncomfortable. This second book made me feel uncomfortable but on a whole new level! I was bloody gripped from start to finish and felt like I was playing the world’s most twisted game of Cluedo (when you read it you’ll get what I mean)! The characters in this book I really liked as they all have their own dark secrets which have brought them to No. 23. Collet, Cher and Vesta made the core women and an additional 3 men plus the landlord make up the weird motley crew living there. From the outset I liked all the women, but the men…mmm well I just wasn’t sure.
As the story progresses you learn a little bit more about each tenant and how they have come to be at the house. The most vile character was the landlord and he had my skin crawling from the very beginning. When an ‘incident’ happens at the house, the 6 tenants become united and things take a turn for the worse. The second thread aside from the individuals within the house is that of the killer. We see the killer perform his rituals and the question becomes, which one of them in the house is responsible. I must say that I do have a strong stomach and tend not to be too bothered about violence and gore. However, Alex Marwood has managed to describe the killer and their actions in such details that it made my stomach turn on more than one occasion.
I played the whole game of thinking I knew who was responsible and got it totally wrong. This in itself is always a surprisingly pleasing element when reading a book like this. What did throw me was the ending, I certainly didn’t see that coming, yet the last 2 pages threw me because of the absence of one particular character (a question for the author me thinks). This book was slightly warped, very graphic, yet a compelling and utterly gripping book. I think Alex Marwood is one to watch, especially at night in a dark alley…any writer that does that good a job must get those ideas from somewhere. This one’s out on the 5th December 2013 and is an ideal present for somebody who wants a book that will have them gripped!