by Charlie Donlea
Released: July 28th 2020
“…although I enjoyed the characters I found the story itself at first fascinating and mysterious, but it quickly became predictable and obvious.”
~ Under the Covers
Westmont Preparatory Highschool used to known for the high achievements of its pupils. Now it’s known as the school where two students were horrifically murdered and the attempted suicide of the killer who happened to be their teacher. A year later, a hit podcast is looking into the deaths at the school, deaths that didn’t stop after the murders took place…
My reading doesn’t usually change depending on the season, I’m not one to read summer books only in the summer and I’ll read a Christmas book in March if I fancy it. However, this year the change of season has really had me hankering for something spooky and tense. I want grisly deaths, unexpected and unexplained phenomenon and the detectives that are trying to find the ugly truth. The Suicide House by Charlie Donlea seemed to be the perfect fit for my mood.
Now that I’ve finished the book, it wasn’t quite the perfect fit for my mood. I think I was expecting something creepier than I actually received. Maybe it was my mistake going into this hoping for a more horroresque feel, rather than a standard mystery/thriller vibe that it actually had. But, I did find myself strangely let down. I wanted to be freaked out and tense, instead I just happily followed the steps of the investigation as our investigators unravelled the mystery surrounding all the deaths at the high school.
This book had an interesting construction. So the first parts of the book we get to know the story and the players through the Serial style podcast. We are given the details of the murders and the teacher who has been charged with the murder…who then attempted suicide. It all seems cut and dry. Apart from the fact that students are committing suicide in the exact same place and in the exact same way as the murderer. Could the two things be connected? In he second part of the book, we are introduced to the meat of the investigation and our expert investigators are introduced.
I did enjoy the investigation team, who happen to be a couple; Lane a criminal profiler and Rory a forensic reconstructionist. This is my first book with Lane and Rory in; however, they seem to be reoccurring characters in Donlea’s books. That didn’t stop me from understanding the book or their characters and relationship; this can be read as a standalone. I did really like them so I am definitely going to take a look at the other books they have been in.
Rory was the main focus in this book, she was neurodivergent and very aware of how her mind worked and obsesses over things. It’s what makes her one of the best forensic reconstructionist in the country, but can also make her own life very difficult. This book did a good job of showing both sides of this, how tasks such as getting on a plane, speaking and looking at people are extremely difficult for her, but also demonstrating her extreme competence and her loving relationship with Lane.
However, although I enjoyed the characters I found the story itself at first fascinating and mysterious, but it quickly became predictable and obvious. I wouldn’t say I ever found it boring, but it certainly wasn’t as thrilling as I would have liked. I am planning on reading more Donlea again, I want to see more Rory and Lane, but I don’t think The Suicide House will be a favourite.
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