House of Echoes: A Novel - Brendan Duffy

This was a book from NetGalley, but when I could not get to my ebook soon enough, I downloaded the audiobook and listened to it instead. At work, my friend and I share an office, and a couple of years ago we traded our ipod music for audiobooks from the library.


When we have projects that don’t require too much brain matter, we listen to stories. Usually, when we turn the story on it has the amazing power to also make the phone ring. But once we’ve gotten past the interruptions we have entire hours of listening, and sometimes, talking back to the narrator. Which makes it fun, and interactive.


I mention all of this because they are not kidding when they call this book a thriller. To be fair, it is not an edge-of-your-seat scare-fest, but it is certainly a raise-the-hairs-on-the-back-of-your-neck, menacingly creepy, animal-carcass-gross, “PLEASE! Don’t go back into those woods!” kind of book. I was initially sucked in by the ‘enthralling and atmospheric thriller’ description, which is apt. Also, the author dad who has hit a dead-end with his novel is always a comforting subject for a wannabe writer like me. In this respect, there is not a whole lot going on in the novel-writing here, but there are many other twists to compel you.


The Tierney family is perfectly sweet and behind the scenes dysfunctional, which you may know by now I like. There are some gruesome elements to this story, so I will warn off the faint of heart or the easily distressed. Vivid depictions of hunting, sacrifice, etc. are not for a weak stomach. In this respect, I’m not sure if it might be easier to read it or listen, but having a friend nearby to laugh inappropriately during the scary parts helps.


To be fair, this is so much more than a scary story, and for some, probably not all that scary. Duffy does a terrific job of making these characters so real that their nightmares become yours, and you fear for them as you would your own child or spouse. The tension is perfect, the overwhelming sense of dread carried right through to the bitter end. So get your marshmallows out and your campfire roaring, and read a lovely little tale this summer vacation.