I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for House of Spines, the new novel by Michael J Malone. If you love a mix between a fantastic ghost story and a psychological thriller, this is the book for you!
A terrifying psychological thriller cum Gothic mystery, as a young man with mental health issues inherits an isolate mansion, where all is not as it seems…
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…
Before I get on with writing my review, I have to confess, this is the first book by Michael J Malone which I have read. I’ve seen his first book A Suitable Lie all over Twitter, and now that I have finished House of Spines it has jumped right up my TBR pile. I can see now what I have been missing out on.
House of Spines is an exceptional, Gothic tale with a brilliant, intertwined supernatural element. I can’t wait to read more from Michael Malone.
We are introduced to our protagonist Ranald MaGhie, a writer who hasn’t had an easy time over the last few years. He has lost both of his parents, and he recently split from his partner, Martie. We first meet Ranald when he is meeting his mother’s family lawyer. What he learns in this meeting completely changes his world. Unbeknownst to him, his mother came from aristocracy, and her family lived in a magnificent house just outside of Glasgow. The current owner of the house, his mother’s uncle, has died and Ranald is stunned to learn that he has passed the house onto him. But why hasn’t his estranged cousins raised any objection to the house being transferred to him? To them, he is a stranger, an outsider. Why are they so keen for the house to be passed to him when it could be worth many millions of pounds?
I became completely absorbed in this book from page one. Once I had started, I couldn’t stop reading. Michael Malone’s description of the house is exceptional, I can see from reading the book that he must’ve put a great deal of time and effort into the plot and into the construction of his setting. It made me wonder if the house was based on a particular property that he knew of as it really did come alive on the page.
Ranald was a great character, it was interesting to see how he coped with his new lifestyle after learning about his good fortune which for him was overwhelming at times. We all dream of that moment of winning the lottery and we wonder what we would do if money wasn’t an object and this is what I felt. It felt as though Ranald was in a very similar position to this. The characters in this book all kept me guessing as I wondered what their game really was, and I had a lot of suspicion about his cousins, which made me very keen to find out what was really going on and if Ranald was simply a pawn in one of their games. Surely they couldn’t be acting just out of the goodness of their hearts. Well, I can tell you that Michael Malone had quite a few surprises up his sleeve.
House of Spines is, at times terrifying, and also an absolutely riveting read that will keep you invested in the characters. I’ll certainly be reading Michael Malone’s first book very soon, and I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next. Excellent stuff. Thank you to Karen Sullivan at Orenda books for sending me a copy of this book to read and to Anne Cater for inviting me to take part in this blog tour.
Publication date: 15th September 2017
Print length: 276 pages
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