Slade House by David Mitchell
Opening sentence: ‘Whatever Mum’s saying’s drowned out by the grimy roar of the bus pulling away, revealing a pub called The Fox and Hounds.’
I cannot emphasise enough how much I enjoyed this creepy, thought-provoking book.
To start with, I loved the structure. The story is told by 5 narrators and set in 9 year increments – the first in 1979, the final in 2015 and each chapter centres around the mysterious Slade House.
Young Nathan and his mother go missing in 1979 after being invited to Slade House, then in 1988 Detective Inspector Gordon Edmonds is following up the old case, but also becomes a victim of the house. These disappearances trigger the interest of a teenage Paranormal Society in 1997, and Sally (a society member) never leaves the house. In 2006 her sister goes looking for her, then things take a climatic turn in 2015 when the house tries to claim its latest victim. The thing is, Dr Iris Marinus-Fenby knows what it’s up to and fights back…
Just when you think this is a straight crime / horror tale (the house only appears to who it wants to, when it wants to, it’s set in a creepy, isolated alleyway, there is murder, mystery and deception) David Mitchell throws an sci-fi inspired element into the mix that gives the whole read another dimension. He seamlessly switches tone of voice for each chapter and character to create this gripping little rip-roaring read that had me hooked from the first page.
Also worth a mention is the beautiful presentation of this book, with an embossed cover featuring a wonderful imagining of Slade House and all its embodiments:
A finishing touch I find particularly appealing, green tipped pages: