Today I’m delighted to share my thoughts on the latest novel by Sam Carrington, The Open House. I love Sam’s books and hearing that she had a new one on the horizon I was straight onto the tinterweb to pre-order. For those of you who are inclined, Sam Carrington will be one of the featured authors at December’s Virtual First Monday Crime, so make sure to head over to First Monday Crime on Facebook on Monday 7th December to hear all about the book from Sam herself. My thanks to publisher Avon for the advance copy of the book for review. The book is published on 10th December.
About the Book
Everyone’s welcome. But not everyone leaves…
Nick and Amber Miller are splitting up and selling their Devon family home. But despite the desirable location, the house isn’t moving. Not a single viewing so far.
When their estate agent suggests an open house event, Amber agrees, even as she worries about their gossiping neighbours attending and snooping around their home.
But Amber has more to worry about than nosy neighbours. Because thirteen people enter her house that afternoon, and only twelve leave.
Someone doesn’t want the house to sell, and is willing to do anything to stop it…
They say that moving house is one of the most stressful things a person could ever do. They need to speak to Amber. Throw in an impending divorce, an overbearing soon to be ex-mother in law and a fledgling romance that she is moving across the country for and she really couldn’t be facing more pressure. Well, you’d hope for her sake anyway. But this is fiction and Sam Carrington really isn’t that kind, at least in the authorial sense. Because after an open house designed to try and boost interest in her home, Amber and her young sons start to experience all manner of strange goings on, things that make your skin crawl and make you wonder just who is trying to sabotage her life, and why.
I really do enjoy Sam Carrington’s novels and this is another classic example of how she is able to take the most straightforward. although stressful, of situations and turn it on its head. Many of the elements of the story are easy to identify with – the broken marriage and its impact on the wider family – the interfering mother in law, Barb, the nosy neighbour, Davina. It is everyday life – just with a twist. There really is that underlying tension in the story, the clear knowledge that something isn’t quite right in Amber’s world, but it is hard to pinpoint just who might be behind it. So many of the characters act in such shifty ways that any of them could be behind the mind games played with Amber and her sons, and yet the motives for each person couldn’t be more different, nor could the potential results. It made me question all the clues right to the very end and even then I wasn’t quite ready for what came to pass.
Speaking of characters, this is one of the author’s real skills. Her knowledge of psychology means that she really understands people, their motivations and actions, and is able to turn that into believable, if not always likeable, characters. I really did feel for Amber, although at times I just wanted her to stop trying to be the peacemaker and tell Barb to do one. Speaking of Barb, she is the perfect literary interfering mother in law, someone you can love to hate. I understood her behaviour, but she is exactly the kind of person who gets under your skin and makes you want to scream or slp your kindle. Perfectly written in other words.
Although this isn’t a fast paced action thriller, the sense of menace that builds throughout kept me hooked to the story and reading well into the night. I finished the book in a couple of days and it made me remember just why I enjoy Sam Carrington’s books so much, Another fab read and one I’d recommend to fans of the author or of psychological thrillers.
About the Author
Sam Carrington lives in Devon with her husband, two border terriers and a cat. She has three adult children and a new grandson! She worked for the NHS for fifteen years, during which time she qualified as a nurse. Following the completion of a psychology degree she went to work for the prison service as an Offending Behaviour Programme Facilitator. Her experiences within this field inspired her writing. She left the service to spend time with her family and to follow her dream of being a novelist.
SAVING SOPHIE, her debut psychological thriller, published in September 2016. It became a Kindle eBook bestseller, with the paperback hitting The Bookseller Heatseeker chart at #8. Sam was named an Amazon Rising Star of 2016. Her second psychological thriller, BAD SISTER, published in 2017 followed by ONE LITTLE LIE in July 2018. THE MISSING WIFE published in June 2019 and her fifth, I DARE YOU published on 12th December. Sam’s sixth psychological thriller THE OPEN HOUSE will be publishing in December 2020.