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 appears to have been watching from afar as his estranged great-nephew has grown up. Entering his new-found home, he finds that 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…
What does TWG think?
Please don’t shoot me, but this is the one and only Michael Malone book I have read. I know, I know, it’s bad right? It’s not that I haven’t WANTED to read any of his books, I just haven’t gotten round to them on the forever growing ‘TBR’ pile. Well, until now seeing as this blog tour kicked me up the backside to get one read. I have to admit though (yes, again), that ghost type stories aren’t really my usual ‘thing’. I have never found myself gravitating towards them (pardon the pun). Hell, the only ghost I have had dealings with is ‘Casper’ and that’s only because my pale nature resembles him!
Upon starting ‘House of Spines’, I knew my mind had to be kept open. Now, seeing as I finished this novel with the fear of christ put up me, I’m pretty sure I managed to keep my mind well and truly open!
I was severely intrigued by the level of mystery that the author dosed the storyline in, for me that was the star of the show. Michael Malone managed to keep my attention with the mystery alone – anything else after that was an added bonus. In the ‘House of Spines’, there was so much interesting themes that I was able to sink my teeth into, regardless of whether I enjoyed the ghost element or not, I wasn’t at all bored by the rest of the storyline. Malone certainly has a way with words and, seeing as I have nothing to compare it to – with his literary talent alone, Malone has definitely guaranteed himself another reader for his next novel.
Despite keeping my mind well and truly open and ending up proper freaked out, I still didn’t quite manage to gel with the gothic/ghosts element of the overall storyline. It’s creepy, there’s no doubt about that! But, for little ol’ me, it still isn’t my ‘thing’ if you will.
As a Michael Malone newbie, I am suitably impressed with the skills that this author possesses, especially seeing as he kept my interest the entire way through despite not gelling with part of the storyline. Why? Because the man knows how to write, that’s why. I wouldn’t be surprised if his secret talent is selling snow to an Eskimo…
Impressive, bewildering, and weirdly addictive; I am thrilled to find another author to add to my ‘read again’ pile.
Thanks Orenda Books.