Sunday, July 26, 2020

Book Review: The Suicide House by Charlie Donlea

A chilling murder in a prestigious prep school is at the heart of this riveting new novel from acclaimed author Charlie Donlea, featuring forensic reconstructionist Rory Moore and her psychologist partner, Lane Phillips.

Inside the walls of Indiana's elite Westmont Preparatory High School, expectations run high, and rules are strictly enforced. But in the woods beyond the manicured campus and playing fields sits an abandoned boarding house that is infamous among Westmont's students as a late-night hangout. Here, only one rule applies: don't let your candle go out--unless you want the Man in the Mirror to find you. . . .

One year ago, two students were killed there in a grisly slaughter. The case has since become the focus of a hit podcast, The Suicide House. Though a teacher was convicted of the murders, mysteries and questions remain. The most urgent among them is why so many students who survived that horrific night have returned to the boarding house--to kill themselves.

Rory, an expert in reconstructing cold cases, is working on The Suicide House podcast with Lane, recreating the night of the killings in order to find answers that have eluded the school, the town, and the police. But the more they learn about the troubled students, the chillingly stoic culprit, and a dangerous game gone tragically wrong, the more convinced they become that something sinister is still happening. Inside Westmont Prep, the game hasn't ended. It thrives on secrecy and silence. And for its players, there may be no way to win--or to survive. 


I have always been drawn to a book that is set in an elite prep school, and even more so if there happens to be a mystery surrounding the school. Suicide House gave me everything I expected from it along with secret societies, murder, gossip, and more.

The story takes place on the campus of the elite private school in Indiana called Westmore Prep, where a podcast decides to focus on a past murder of two students who were killed in an abandoned boarding house that students used as a hangout. The podcast, titled Suicide House tackles why students that were there that night go back to the scene and commit suicide.

I enjoyed the story but found out later the main characters is in a book before this one, and Suicide House is the second in the series, While I think that the book stood on its own very well, I would have liked to have read the other one first, maybe to just get insight on the characters that were investigating the crime. The story itself had plenty of suspenseful moments and was a well-written mystery. I really enjoyed the author giving us glimpses of the killer bu their journal entries that were included in the story, that along with the blogging and podcasts gave the story a real feeling of being on a campus in which these things would really be happening in today's world.

I did struggle with a few things in the book, mostly that there were a lot of mysteries or stories, and POVs going on at once, and at times I had to re=read to comprehend parts of it, especially when I first started reading the book. The book does move at a bit slower pace than most books I read so that helped me out a bit also. I had time to think about things without getting totally lost.

All in all Suicide House is a great book and most mystery readers will enjoy it. 

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