Saturday, June 20, 2020

Book Review: The House Guest by Mark Edwards

Title: The House Guest
Author: Mark Edwards
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Publication Date: June 3rd 2020
Print Length: 294 pages
Genre: Thriller
A perfect summer. A perfect stranger. A perfect nightmare.

When British twenty-somethings Ruth and Adam are offered the chance to spend the summer housesitting in New York, they can’t say no. Young, in love and on the cusp of professional success, they feel as if luck is finally on their side.

So the moment that Eden turns up on the doorstep, drenched from a summer storm, it seems only right to share a bit of that good fortune. Beautiful and charismatic, Eden claims to be a friend of the homeowners, who told her she could stay whenever she was in New York.

They know you’re not supposed to talk to strangers—let alone invite them into your home—but after all, Eden’s only a stranger until they get to know her.

As suspicions creep in that Eden may not be who she claims to be, they begin to wonder if they’ve made a terrible mistake…

The House Guest is the chilling new psychological thriller from the three million copy bestselling author of Here to Stay and Follow You Home.

After reading and enjoying The Retreat by Mark Edwards, I came across The House Guest by the same author. The synopsis sounded intriguing, so I decided to give it a read. While it wasn't a bad read, it was lacking a certain something.

Ruth and Adam are house-sitting for Mona and Jack, a rich couple they met on a cruise. When a woman named Eden shows up claiming to be an old friend of Mona's and Jack's, they decide to let her stay. After all, Eden seems to know a lot about the rich couple, and she seems nice enough. However, when Ruth and Eden disappear after a night of drinking, Adam begins to worry if he made a mistake by inviting Eden into the house. Is Eden actually an old friend or was she actually a complete stranger?

The plot for The House Guest really caught my attention. Mark Edwards does a fantastic job of making the story seem original. While many of the plot twists were easily predictable, it was still interesting enough to hold my attention. I did find that the pacing starts off a bit slow and doesn't really pick up until about halfway through the book. All of my questions were answered by the ending of the book and although there's not a cliffhanger, the ending does leave room for a sequel. I must admit that I liked the way Edwards kind of teased that there could be a sequel. One thing I wasn't a fan of was how the narrative would switch from a third person point of view for everyone to a first person point of view when it came to Adam. I would have much rather read the whole book in third person, but perhaps that's just a personal preference. Edwards did great at setting up the world building throughout the book, and when the pacing finally caught up to the action, I was immersed in the story line to find out if my predictions were correct.

I very much enjoyed the characters in The House Guest. Ruth and Adam were a likable couple, and it was easy to understand their relationship and what each one was feeling thanks to Edwards' great description of how each character felt about the relationship. I sympathized with Adam feeling like a loser compared to Ruth and her success. However, I could also relate to Ruth and her feelings of not being good enough and other insecurities. Eden was an awesome character, and I enjoyed whenever she had a scene. Her backstory was definitely an interesting one. I never knew if she was telling the truth until towards the end. Callum was a wild card in the story, and I was surprised when his true backstory was revealed. Though all the other characters felt fleshed out, I would have liked to have read more on Gabriel. I believe that he really could have flourished a bit more had he had a bigger part in the story. Saying that, Gabriel still is a fantastic character.

Trigger warnings for The House Guest include violence, gun violence, murder, attempted murder, attempted rape (not graphic), mentions of sex (not graphic), getting drunk, mentions of drugs, brainwashing, and abuse.

All in all, The House Guest does have some faults, but it's still an interesting read. The story unfolds perfectly, and the characters really draw you into their world. I would recommend The House Guest by Mark Edwards to those aged 17+ who are after a decent psychological thriller.

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