Welcome to my stop on the blog blitz for The Family At No. 13 by S.D. Monaghan! Read on for my review, right after the all-important bookish information. My thanks to Noelle at Bookouture!
Author : S.D. Monaghan
Title : The Family at No. 13
Pages : 310
Publisher : Bookouture
Publication date : April 27, 2018
The most perfect lives can hide the darkest secrets…
Mary has everything. Beautiful and rich, she lives on an exclusive street in the heart of the city, in a house with gorgeous views and an immaculately maintained garden. Her life looks perfect.
But behind closed doors the truth is very different. Her husband Andrew barely speaks to her, spending his days down in the basement alone. Her teenage nephew is full of rage, lashing out with no warning. Her carefully constructed life is beginning to fall apart.
And then someone starts sending Mary anonymous notes, threatening her and her family…
Everyone has secrets. But is someone at number 13 hiding something that could put the whole family in danger?
When Connor moves house, he finds himself living next door to the family at number 13. Soon, he will regret this rash decision and find himself caught up in a sticky web of family secrets. Because his neighbours may look like they have it all but behind closed doors things are very different. Somehow, Connor finds himself right in the middle of something he wishes he’d never been a part of.
The first part of the story admittedly left me a little confused along the way. There seemed to be a lot of sort of cryptic information being thrown my way that I couldn’t quite wrap my head around. But there is something immensely compelling about the author’s writing that urged me to keep on reading. Luckily for me, it all did begin to make sense at some point. I’d like to assume that was the author’s intention and not that I’m just slow on the uptake. 😉
This isn’t your typical psychological thriller. In fact, I rather struggle with calling it that at all. Suspenseful, yes. Maybe more drama than thriller? I don’t know. It’s quite deep and incredibly character driven. As such, the pace is rather on the slow side. Sure, there are some twists but they feel like natural events and aren’t intended to dazzle you. Not that that’s a bad thing, mind you.
For the most part, we find ourselves digging deep into the complicated dynamics of Mary’s family at number 13. Something amongst the many skeletons in the cupboards causes a major event which the book starts off with, but the who or the why remains a mystery. (Looks like I’m doing the cryptic thing myself now. Sorry.) One I was utterly unable to figure out at all and almost made my jaw hit the floor when it was finally revealed. There are a ton of heartbreaking secrets and certain characters’ attitudes have affected people over the years and the resentment runs deep. The past can have a huge effect on someone and if not dealt with properly, will always come back to haunt you.
Pretty much all the characters are unlikeable, flawed and damaged. I found myself unable to connect to any of them. However, once you get to know them better, it’s obvious why they act the way they do. Minor exception : Finn. Obviously a troubled seventeen year old with some issues but also someone who has no filter whatsoever and made me chuckle with his often immensely inappropriate remarks.
Normally, I prefer stories to be faster paced and with a bit more “oomph” to them. Nevertheless, this is a cleverly written and gripping plot and I enjoyed figuring out the pieces of this damaged family puzzle.
The Family At No. 13 is available for purchase!
S. D. Monaghan grew up in Dublin before travelling extensively in Asia, Europe and America. After teaching English in Thailand for two years, he moved back to Ireland and gained an honours degree in psychology.
While living in Canada for four years, he studied screenwriting in Toronto. S. D. Monaghan completed the Masters in Creative Writing at Trinity College, Dublin with the editorial guidance of the Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Ford and Orange Prize nominee, Deirdre Madden. On the strength of his work there, he was chosen to represent both the university and the Oscar Wilde Writers’ Centre to read excerpts at the Dublin Publishers Festival and on Dublin Culture Night.
He lives in Dublin with his wife, where he is currently working on his new novel. He is represented by Zoe Ross at United Agents.