Today I’m thrilled to be on the blog tour for Spare Room by Dreda Say Mitchell. I’m a huge fan of the author’s crime thrillers, and now the author has branched out and written a psychological thriller, it’s definitely one readers of this genre are going to love, read on for my thoughts………
Beautiful double room to let to single person
Lisa, a troubled young woman with a past, can’t believe her luck when she finds a beautiful room to rent in a large house. The live-in owners are a kind and welcoming couple. Everything is fine until she finds a suicide note hidden in her room. But when the couple insist this man didn’t exist and that Lisa is their first tenant, Lisa begins to doubt herself.
Compelled to undercover the secrets of the man who lived in the room before her, Lisa is alarmed when increasingly disturbing incidents start to happen. Someone doesn’t want Lisa to find out the truth.
As the four walls of this house and its secrets begin to close in on Lisa, she descends into a hellish hall of mirrors where she’s not sure what’s real and what’s not as she claws her way towards the truth… Did this room already claim one victim? Is it about to take another?
Dreda Say Mitchell is one of my favourite gritty crime thriller authors, so I was thrilled to receive a copy of her latest book Spare Room. I must admit I picked up this book with some trepidation as the author has moved away from her normal genre and written a psychological thriller. I’m thrilled to report that not only has the author written a corker of a psychological thriller, it’s one that makes you question everything you read. Mitchell has incorporated all the elements that make for a fabulous read, unreliable narrators, a complex plot that makes you question every characters part in this deliciously, dark creepy tale, that becomes more disturbing with each turn of the page.
“Beautiful single room to let to a single person” an innocent ad, or so you would think, but as any psychological thriller lover will know this doesn’t bode well for a prospective lodger, in this case Lisa who has so many issues a psychologist would rub their hands with glee. I wondered if this book would be similar to Single White Female, but it soon becomes clear that this book is very different in every way. When Lisa takes a room with live-in owners Martha and Jack, life appears to be good, but when Lisa finds a suicide note hidden in her room from a previous tenant, things take a very disturbing turn, one where appearances can be deceptive, and the adage “trust no one” comes into play.
I love an unreliable narrator and they don’t come more unreliable than Lisa, her story is not one than can be taken at face value, she appears unstable and deluded at times, but it’s this untrustworthiness that makes Spare Room such a twisted read. I really felt for Lisa there’s a sense of malevolence and manipulation from those around her, or is this what she wants us to believe? Only by reading the book will you know. There were other characters in this book I detested for reasons I will not go into here (no spoilers) but they added tension to the overall plot.
Mitchell manipulates the reader at every turn, as I finished each chapter the tone of the book grew darker and yet I needed to read on, to sort the truth from the lies, the good from the bad. Spare Room is full of twists I did not see coming, which always add to my overall enjoyment of a read, there’s nothing worse than guessing correctly the direction a read is taking. Mitchell takes familiar subjects such as deception, manipulation and buried secrets and incorporates them into an assured psychological thriller that’s both compelling and original in its telling. Highly recommended
About the author
Dreda Say Mitchell is an award-winning, bestselling crime writer, broadcaster, campaigner, and journalist. Since her sixth book she has been co-writing with Tony Mason. She is the author of eleven novels, with her debut awarded The CWA’s John Creasey Dagger. She has been a frequent guest on television and radio including Question Time, BBC Breakfast, Newsnight, Victoria Derbyshire, The Stephen Nolan Show, Front Row and Woman’s Hour and numerous others. She has presented Radio 4’s Open Book. Dreda was named one of Britain’s 50 Remarkable Women by Lady Geek in association with Nokia. She was the 2011 chair of the Harrogate Crime Fiction Festival. Dreda and Tony’s work is currently in development for TV. She was born and raised in the East End of London where she continues to live.
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