ARC Review: The Half Burnt House by Alex North

Hi All,

Hope you’re all well and enjoying your week so far. Mid-week is my least favourite time as I always feel super tired and lethargic. I haven’t helped myself as I’ve potentially overdone it with workouts the last few days but never mind. I would say I’ll learn, but I will not.

Book πŸ“–

Thank you to @michaeljbooks for this advanced copy of The Half Burnt House by @authoralexnorth in return for an honest review. The Half Burnt House was published on 16th March 2023 and you can get a copy here.

Description πŸ”–

Katie always looked after her beloved younger brother Chrisβ€”until she left him alone for one selfish afternoon, and their picture-perfect family fell apart. Although Chris survived the attack, the scars ran deeper than the ones left across his face. Now they’re adults, and they haven’t spoken in years. Then she gets a call, from Detective Laurence Page.

Page is facing an unusually disturbing crime scene. Alan Hobbes, a distinguished and wealthy philosophy professor, has been brutally murdered. Hobbes was living in a sprawling mansionβ€”but one that remains half-ruined by a decades-old fire, wind and rain howling through the gaping, creaking roof.

Page only has one suspect: Chris, caught on CCTV at the house. But he has plenty of questions. What could cause a man as wealthy as Hobbes not to repair his home? Why did he seem to know his death was coming, yet do nothing to stop it? And why was he obsessed with a legendary local serial killer?

But Katie only has one thing on her mind. She knows this is her last, best chance to finally save her brother, and make up for her negligence all those years ago.

But she can’t possibly imagine just how much danger he’s in…

General Thoughts πŸ€”

I have to be completely and brutally honest; I was disappointed with this story. I have read other books from this author and the story has always gripped me totally and completely so I was so excited to read this latest one. Unfortunately it didn’t excite me as much as I wanted it to and I ended up taking quite a long time to get through it.

That said, I didn’t hate it and there were things I admired about it. It’s a complex and smart plot that I had to concentrate on quite heavily. There are lots of characters and side plots that helped to keep me guessing what was going to happen and I was very surprised by the twist at the end.

Characters πŸ‘«πŸ‘­πŸ‘¬

Katie was probably the character I felt closest too but I think that’s probably because she was one of very few women involved in the story. I didn’t really agree or disagree with any of her actions, I felt like I was just carried along with her. I empathised with her that she felt like she had to decide between her brother and her husband and daughter as that was definitely a difficult decision she had to make.

I quite liked the detective, Laurence Page. He had quite a dry sense of humour and he was very meticulous. He seemed like the type of person I would love to work with he came across as someone who was trustworthy.

Writing Style ✍️

I can fully appreciate the meticulousness that must have gone into writing this story and ensuring that all ends were tied, everything made sense and weaving the characters and the timelines together. However there was something missing from the plot in this Alex North book. I didn’t feel gripped and I wasn’t eager to pick the book up every day. Reading it felt like hard work at times and that’s definitely not the experience I have had with this author in the past.

Conclusion & Scoring πŸŽ–

I had been anticipating the release of this book for quite a long time and was so excited to get my hands on it and have my mind blown by a twisty and dark story. Unfortunately, this fell a little short for me this time and I didn’t quite connect with the story or the characters. I’m glad that I read it and finished as I am still impressed by this author, but unfortunately this book and I just weren’t a match made in heaven. I look forward to what Alex North produces next.


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