The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward

My Five Word TL:DR Review : Unique and compulsive, psychological horror

TheLastHOuseQuite possibly this is the most unique, unusual and utterly compelling book that I’ve ever read.  At the same time it’s a book that you have to give your brain a little time to adapt to but once you do you won’t be able to pull your eyes away.  It’s horribly fascinating, almost hypnotic in its ability to make you read ‘just one more chapter’ as you desperately seek to uncover the truth.

The story is told by three unlikely characters.  A man who is very detached from everyday life, who lives by himself and is socially awkward.  Ted finds himself the centre of unwanted and unpleasant attention following the disappearance of a young girl from the local lake.  Dee is also a character who struggles to fit in.  Following the disappearance of her younger sister whilst on holiday she has lost everything she holds dear.  Her entire life is consumed by the desperate need to know what happened to her little sister and maybe ideas of revenge.  Olivia is a cat.  Rescued as a kitten she never sees the outside world and spends a lot of time in her ‘safe space’, she also gives readers an alternative view of events as they unfold – even if that view is a little unconventional.

Okay, I’m trying not to give away spoilers and so I’m not going to touch on the plot at all.  As the description says, ‘a serial killer, a stolen child, revenge, death and an ordinary house.  All of these things are true and yet at the same time all of these things are not true.  When is a door not a door?

So, I loved the writing here.  I think it’s safe to say that you might experience a little ‘what the heck’ moment when you first begin on this journey but all I can say is press on.  I would also say that you need to pay close attention to what you’re reading, which I admit is sometimes difficult because some of the content is so mercilessly intriguing that it encourages you to read on at breakneck speed.  Don’t do it.  Take your time and absorb the detail, there are clues here not to mention a certain unreliability in narration about what’s going on together with an overlapping of certain events that gives everything a skewed perspective at times.

This is quite possibly going to be one of the shortest reviews ever considering how much this book affected me but I really don’t want to give away spoilers.  Instead, I’ll discuss my feelings whilst reading this which jumped around like crazy.  I was intrigued,  I was angry, I was desperate for answers, I was shocked, literally ‘mouth opened in a perfect ‘o’ type of shocked that doesn’t often happen and I was horrified.  In fact for me this is a perfect example of sleight of hand.  Ward led me down the dusty path in a masterful display of ‘these aren’t the droids you’re looking for’ and maintained her mind control completely until she was ready to give me the final punch to the gut.  I didn’t see any of it coming.  I pictured exactly what the author wanted from the beginning.  My mind was made up, the doors were closed, and then the doors were blown open in shocking fashion.  Masterfully done.  I applaud you.

I don’t know what else to say.  This was a gripping read.  It was utterly fascinating for me and I take my hat off to Ward for managing to hold all this together so masterfully.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

My rating 5 of 5 stars


20 Responses to “The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward”

  1. Ola G

    This sounds truly fascinating, Lynn! On the TBR it goes! 😄

    • @lynnsbooks

      I hope you enjoy it. I think some readers struggled a little with the unusual POVs but I was really fascinated by it.
      Lynn 😀

  2. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    I understand how difficult it is to talk about an amazing book without revealing its details, but still you managed to pique my curiosity and make me pay attention so… mission accomplished! 😉

  3. Kathy @ Pages Below the Vaulted Sky

    Okay colour me intrigued. This wasn’t even on my radar bit I’m chomping at the bits for it now. 😁 I think I like the UK cover better than the US though! The latter has as bit of a Ghostbusters green vibe going on.

    • @lynnsbooks

      Yes, I noticed the different cover with the green vibe. I think I also prefer the UK cover.
      Lynn 😀

  4. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    Okay, I was intrigued before, but now I’m REALLY excited to check this out…

    • @lynnsbooks

      The only thing I would say is – patience – because one of the povs is a little unusual. You just have to stick with it (which I know you would do anyway) and things eventually fall into place.
      Lynn 😀

  5. Booking Ahead/Weekly Wrap Up | Books and travelling with Lynn

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  6. Barb @ Booker T's Farm

    I can’t get my hands on this soon enough. I may even have to order it from Book Depository!

    • @lynnsbooks

      I really enjoyed it. it is unusual and I won’t deny I had to adjust my mindset a little but once I did I was absolutely hooked. I think I saw this for request on

  7. waytoofantasy

    Well this is quite the endorsement! On to the list it goes. 🙂

    • @lynnsbooks

      Thanks – it is very dark, psychological horror and utterly compelling.
      Lynn 😀

  8. Heather @ Random Redheaded Ramblings

    I started this and got to the first chapter with the cat and thought what am I reading. I’m going to restart now I’m in mood for it as it sounds very intriguing.

    • @lynnsbooks

      Yes, the cat is unusual. You have to just push on. All the slight jumps in timeline are a bit unusual at first too but slowly, things start to piece together.
      Lynn 😀

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  10. Tammy

    Not sure how I missed this review, Lynn! This is one of my top 5 anticipated books of the year, and I hope to read it next month.

  11. Top Ten Tuesday : Halloween | Books and travelling with Lynn

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