April 16, 2021

The Last House on Needless Street – Catriona Ward

This is the story of a murderer. A stolen child. Revenge. This is the story of Ted, who lives with his daughter Lauren and his cat Olivia in an ordinary house at the end of an ordinary street.

All these things are true. And yet some of them are lies.

You think you know what’s inside the last house on Needless Street. You think you’ve read this story before. In the dark forest at the end of Needless Street, something lies buried. But it’s not what you think…

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I used to live on Needless Road. It’s a street in Perth in Scotland and I’ve never seen another street name like it before. When this book started appearing everywhere I thought ‘Oh! Cool! Might read that one just for the name’. Thankfully, Needless Road was nothing like Needless Street.

I went into The Last House on Needless Street blind. I didn’t know much about the story other than it had a talking cat and was being pitched as the ‘Must-Read Gothic Thriller of 2021‘ with a snappy quote from Stephen King no less.

What’s it about? It’s about Ted who lives in The Last House on Needless Street. And it’s about Dee who is searching for her sister Lulu who went missing while on a family day trip to a lake near Needless Street. It’s about Ted’s cat Olivia who acts as a narrator for some of the chapters.

Ted is an odd-ball. Friendless and living in his childhood home alone, he keeps the windows boarded up and very seldom ventures out with his daughter Lauren when she visits. Even Olivia is a house cat and doesn’t get out. The story is told from the point of view of Dee, Ted, Olivia and Lauren and slowly they weave together a timeline of Lulu’s disappearance and of Ted’s life.

The writing is sharp, succinct and left me completely baffled as to what was happening at points BUT this is key to the story and to the storytelling. The writing is so cleverly done. As I reached the conclusion of the story and everything was explained the writing style becomes so clear and I really felt like I was IN the story experiencing first-hand what was happening.

The Last House on Needless Street is chilling. I’d absolutely class this as a horror story rather than a mystery/ thriller. I’ve not read a book that has scared me this much for a long, long time. There was a point where I considered not finishing it as I did NOT like the way it was going. (It involved the cat…) However I couldn’t have given up as the story had hooked me by this point and I was powerless to resist.

Think Rachel having to keep The Shining in the freezer in Friends – that’s almost the level I was reaching.

It’s the one to beat for Book of 2021 so far for me… just do yourself a favour and read it with the lights on.

The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward is published on March 18th 2021.

I received an advance copy of The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward through Netgalley. My thanks to the publisher Serpent’s Tail/ Viper for approving my request for the book.

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