The Last House on Needless Street

Posted: July 1, 2021 in Book reviews

By Catriona Ward

Ted lives in an ordinary house at the end of an ordinary street. He shares his house with his daughter Lauran and his cat Olivia. Ted is something of a recluse, and all the windows of his house are boarded up. Ten years ago Ted was briefly a suspect in the disappearance of a young girl, and now that girl’s sister, Dee, has moved into the house next door.

Ted doesn’t realise who Dee really is, but Dee knows who Ted is, and she knows what he’s done…

Sometimes hype is just that, and like most people I guess I’ve been burned many times, yet despite this when you hear good things about a particular book or film it’s hard to ignore, and I heard a lot of good things about The Last House on Needless Street, an awful lot of good things, and in the end I decided ‘what the hell?’ and bought it.

Let’s be clear from the off here.

Believe the hype!

Ostensibly this appears a straightforward story, but the blurb is spot on, you think you know this story, you think you know what’s going on, but you really don’t, and while I did eventually twig was going on, the book took me down several blind alleys before I realised, and even after I thought understood the story still had some surprises for me.

This is a book full of unreliable narrators, including Ted, Lauran and Olivia, yes even the cat gets her own chapters!

Ward’s prose is excellent, and I’m especially impressed with how each character had their own unique voice, too often I’ve read novels written from multiple first person POVs where everyone sounds kinda the same, but that isn’t true here. In addition even characters you may perceive as monstrous come across with enough empathy to make you care about them, even if its only to pity them.

An excellent page turner, one that’s emotionally difficult to read in places, and one that’ll keep you guessing, even if you get what’s going on. It’s clear Ward put a lot of effort into this book and it shows on every page. Is it a thriller, a horror story, or something else entirely? You’ll have to read it to find out.

Highly recommended.

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