The Crooked House – Christobel Kent – Review


6 January 2015


“A stunning psychological thriller that follows one woman’s search for the truth about her tragic family history; perfect for fans of The Silent Wife and Apple Tree Yard.

Alison is as close to anonymous as she can get: with no ties, no home, a backroom job, hers is a life lived under the radar. She’s a nobody; she has no-one and that’s how she wants it.

But once Alison was someone else: once she was Esme Grace, a teenager whose bedroom sat at the top of a remote and dilapidated house on the edge of a bleak estuary. A girl whose family, if not happy, exactly, was no unhappier than anyone else’s – or so she thought.

Then one night a terrible thing happened in the crooked house, a nightmare of violence out of which Alison emerged the only witness and sole survivor and from which she has been running ever since. Only when she meets academic Paul Bartlett does Alison realise that if she’s to have any chance of happiness, she has to return to her old life and confront the darkness that worked its way inside her family and has pursued her ever since.

Strikingly atmospheric and compelling, this psychological thriller is about one woman’s search for the truth in a closed community full of dark secrets.”

4 of 5 stars

I won a copy of this book in a giveaway run by the publisher. This is my honest opinion of the book.

Alison has put her past behind her. She is no longer the young girl who lived in The Crooked House by the sea. She has a different name, a different history. She has no family as they were taken from her in that house a long time ago. She had vowed never to return but a wedding back in the village of her youth means revisiting the past and allowing long suppressed memories to resurface. As they do Alison begins to suspect that the events surrounding her family’s deaths was not as it first appears.

This is the first Christobel Kent novel I have read and it certainly won’t be the last. This is an engrossing, dark and almost hypnotic read. From the first page I was drawn in to the tragic world of Alison, eager to find out what happened to her and her family. There is an overriding sense of foreboding and darkness filling every page and this is maintained throughout the story. I could easily imagine the bleak, grey village where secrets lurk under the surface. As the reader, you are aware that not everything is as it seems but are one step behind. making the danger to Alison seem all the more palpable.

The characters are all well drawn, all flawed with secrets of their own to hide. None are particularly likeable with a few certain exceptions. Alison herself is realistically portrayed as a flawed and damaged character, distrustful of all, secretive and lonely. The portrayal of her as a teenager shows a different and alternate side to her, what she could have been perhaps, and still anything but perfect.

Yes I did get the plot dénouement before the reveal but this didn’t stop me being swept up in the story until its conclusion. If you like dark, gripping, psychological thrillers then this is a book for you.


3 Comments Add yours

  1. I had this as an audio book but found it quite hard to follow. Think I should give the print version a go though after your review.


    1. janetemson says:

      I hope you like it if you give it a go 🙂 I found it quite dark and gripping.

      Liked by 1 person

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