26 May 2021

Review: The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward

The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward book cover
* Copy courtesy of Allen & Unwin *

Literary horror anyone? Until this month, I was unfamiliar with the literary horror genre, but it's fair to say The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward fits squarely within this sub-genre.

Since then, I've discovered that several titles I've read and reviewed actually fall into the literary horror genre, including:

Sour Candy by Kealan Patrick Burke ⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Turn of the Screw by Henry James ⭐⭐⭐
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
* Countless novels by Stephen King
Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist ⭐⭐
The Road by Cormac McCarthy ⭐⭐⭐
Melmoth by Sarah Perry ⭐⭐⭐
The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Dracula by Bram Stoker ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters ⭐⭐⭐

Now that we're all suitably oriented, what can you expect inside this hauntingly enticing cover of The Last House on Needless Street? A mysterious mind f*** of a novel, that's what you can expect. In fact, the blurb tells us as much.
This is the story of a murderer. A stolen child. Revenge. This is the story of Ted, who lives with his daughter Lauren and his cat Olivia in an ordinary house at the end of an ordinary street.

All these things are true. And yet some of them are lies.
The unreliable narrator is a well-worn trope now and I thought that's what I was going to encounter here, but I was swiftly forced to think again.

The Last House on Needless Street is a dark novel that begins as an unassuming mystery luring you in chapter by chapter until all of a sudden, the light has gone, a shiver crawls across your back and you're immersed in the murky depths of the plot.

The reader will need to accept the dynamic between the multiple narrators, Ted, Olivia, Lauren and Dee, including the fact that one of them is a cat. I don't mind an unusual narrator, and I actually enjoyed the chapters narrated by the cat.

Being a middle aged reader, I was familiar with the literary plot device towards the end (both in fiction and in real life) so it didn't catch me completely off guard, however younger readers (or those less engaged with certain topics) will have their minds blown when they get to the 'cut and thrust' of what's happening in the story. But don't worry, no spoilers here.

The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward is for readers with the stomach to plow ahead regardless of content warnings and those who enjoy a dark psychological thriller with literary leanings.

You can seize this book at Booktopia.

My Rating:

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