Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars
Author: Brendan Duffy
Formats Available: eBook, Hardcover, Audio
Pages: 402A young New York City couple with a boy and a baby in tow, Ben and Caroline Tierney had it all…until Ben’s second novel missed the mark, Caroline lost her lucrative banking job, and something went wrong with 8-year-old Charlie. When Ben inherits land way upstate from his grandmother, the two of them began to believe in second chances. But upon arriving in Swannhaven, a town that seems to have been forgotten by time, they’re beset by strange sights and disconcerting developments…and they begin to realize they might have made their worst mistake yet. But what dark secret is buried in this odd place? And will Ben and Caroline figure it out soon enough to save their young family?
Akin to Jennifer McMahon’s The Winter People and Joe Hill’s Heart-Shaped Box, House of Echoes is a debut thriller populated by achingly sympathetic characters, charged with psychological suspense, and rich with a small town’s strange history.
My So-Called Review:
House of Echoes is the story of the Tierney family and their dream to leave the city life behind and move to a crumbling estate known as The Crofts near upstate New York. They work to restore the estate and turn it into a Bed and Breakfast Inn, but they soon discover that something isn’t quite right within the town and their new neighbors. I really, really wanted to love this one! The premises sounded very intriguing and Brendan Duffy’s atmospheric writing was described as beautiful and haunting so I went into this one with high anticipation. I adore Gothic thrillers and was really in the mood for something dark and scary. I was convinced that this would be a 5 star-stellar read and maybe that was part of the problem, I hyped it up too much in my mind?
Duffy expertly writes in both a haunting and entrancing style, perfect for fans of Gothic suspense. As a reader you feel yourself drifting along between what's reality and another realm entirely, almost in a dreamlike trance. I can easily see this becoming Duffy’s signature style and I do look forward to seeing how he develops it. However, the focus on atmosphere becomes almost too much at times and the story begins to drag a bit in the middle without anything relevant going on. It seemed at times to be pages and pages of descriptive writing with absolutely no advancement in the plot! At times I could glimpse where he was trying to go with the story so I just wanted to shake my Kindle and say "come on already, let's get on with it!" At this point, as my boredom opened me up to over-analyzing I also had a nagging feeling that I’ve read all this before, but maybe a bit better?
I want to stress that overall it was a good book, there wasn't anything bad going on here with the plot, its characters, or its editing. It just wasn't a great read for me, my standards for Gothic suspense are pretty high so I can be hard to please in this genre! The last quarter of the book does finally pick up (woohoo!) and I enjoyed it tremendously. It was a well done, edge-of-your-seat type suspense, and even had some tear jerking moments thrown in (yes I'm a sucker for those). I only wish that it hadn’t taken so long to getting there, that we would of had more of this style and pacing throughout the entire novel. Brendan Duffy writes so beautifully though, and I enjoyed House of Echoes enough that I would defiantly read a second book of his. In fact, I think I'm actually looking forward to it!
House of Echoes would be a good recommendation for someone who's not read a lot of Gothic thrillers and is looking to test out the genre, this is Goth-light done right :)
I received a complimentary advanced copy of this book from the publisher, Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine and NetGalley in exchange for my honest review