The Hunting Party meets Our House in this gripping, claustrophobic new locked-room thriller.
When you’re sharing a house with seven murder suspects, you can’t lock the danger out.
Immi think she has found the perfect new home in central London: a shared warehouse with luxury accommodation, a rooftop terrace and daily yoga, all with a surprisingly affordable price tag. The Dye Factory is a ‘co-living’ community, designed to combat the loneliness of big city life.
But soon after she moves into her new haven, Immi realises that it’s not quite as idyllic as it appears. No one seems to know who is behind this multi-million pound urban experiment. And her housemates may be hiding a dangerous secret.
Then, as a series of pranks escalates into something much darker, Immi is left questioning whether, in this group of strangers, she can ever really be safe . . .
When I saw this novel come up in my emails I was excited right away. I live for locked-room type thrillers, so this one was impossible to resist.
The House Share was quite an enjoyable read even if I have to admit that the start of the novel reminded me of a similar book I read (down to the girl finding an advertisement and an offer to move she can’t refuse). When you start comparing it to a million dollar bestseller… it’s not the best thing to do. This story turns into a completely different direction quickly though so I was happy it made its own stamp in the end.
I don’t know why I always assimilate locked-room thrillers to be novels with people in the same room or in the same remote location with nowhere to go. The House Share differs from that precut format as Immi can walk in and out of the Factory to her job and lead a fairly normal life, the only thing is she’s bound to stay there – if she is chosen as a resident after a trial period – because of the contract that comes with the residency.
At the surface all of it seems golden and the opportunity Immi and Dex get to live at this place is enough to make anyone quite jealous (well not me but then I’m not into healthy stuff or want to be part of a ‘community’ and I can’t contribute any skills like Immi’s sewing clothes). Co-living has never looked so good, there are several perks and benefits to be found over four different communal floors: Play, Retreat, Nourish and Focus. They even have two pets there, Edward and Bella, so even I would get a little excited.
The other residents or Dyers as they call themselves (the Factory used to dye animal skins there… yes it was a veritable slaughterhouse) all have secrets to keep and Immi and Dex both have secrets of their own.
There’s a lot of mystery surrounding all of the characters living in the building. There’s the beautiful and vain actress Camille, laid-back IT guy Zoum, healthy Ashleigh, queen bee Bernice and slick Lucas but I couldn’t figure out who the true culprit behind everything was. To add to this great cast of not to be trusted characters was also Hanna, the housekeeper, who seemed to live there and always be around except when you need her.
I didn’t find any of these people particularly likeable but I did get invested in Immi and Dex, the underdogs of the show. Even though I didn’t know excactly what their backstory was, what they had done that was awful and needed to be kept a secret, I made up my mind right away that I wanted to stick up for them. Did they stumble into a cult, were they even safe there now that people were starting to get hurt? How can they escape when they have no money and nowhere to go?
The tone of the novel was full of menace and you don’t know anything until the end and that end is nothing like you imagined it would be. Some might find it all a bit unbelievable, I thought it was quite clever. I only wished I could have cared for the characters more and that the ending wasn’t dropped on the reader so out of the blue, it makes a great twist but it made all of my sleuthing a total waste of time. You are warned, just (try to) relax and enjoy the show.
I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher via Netgalley. This is my honest opinion.