House of Spines by Michael J Malone (@michaelJmalone1) @OrendaBooks #BookReview


  • Ghosts
  • Mystery
  • Thriller

| Synopsis |

Ran McGhie’s world has been turned upside down. A young, lonely and frustrated writer, and suffering from mental-health problems, he discovers that his long-dead mother was related to one of Glasgow’s oldest merchant families. Not only that, but Ran has inherited Newton Hall, a vast mansion that belonged to his great-uncle, who it seems has been watching from afar as his estranged great-nephew has grown up. Entering his new-found home, it seems Great-Uncle Fitzpatrick has turned it into a temple to the written word – the perfect place for poet Ran. But everything is not as it seems. As he explores the Hall’s endless corridors, Ran’s grasp on reality appears to be loosening. And then he comes across an ancient lift; and in that lift a mirror. And in the mirror… the reflection of a woman… A terrifying psychological thriller with more than a hint of the Gothic, House of Spines is a love letter to the power of books, and an exploration of how lust and betrayal can be deadly…

| Review |

I am torn between the desire to praise Malone for his use of mental illness in this novel and a desire to scold him. In what is an incredibly clever and well written book his use of a damaged protagonist feels almost like a cheap trick; a shorthand method of casting doubt on the events that unfold. That said, he also bestows upon his character a believable sense of self awareness and an array of coping methods. This has the effect of casting doubt on that doubt so, on balance, I think I forgive him.


‘House of Spines’ opens with a potentially too good to be true proposition. A gift that is so valuable and substantial that it comes not with gift wrap and a bow but with jealousy and ready made enemies. Malone weaves together a fabulous tale of conspiracy, deception, investigation and intrigue.


Malone takes his lead charachter Ran McGhie out of the world he knows and plonks him straight into the set of a gothic horror. Ran is left to question not only his luck but also his senses as events grow more and more peculiar. The reader spends most of the novel at best curious and at worst downright confused as the plot unfolds. ‘House of Spines’ is one of those special books that is very difficult to put down.

5 Stars.

By J A Warnock on behalf of Love Books Group

| Buy Link |

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things In My Letterbox Book Blog Tours and Karen at Orenda Books for the opportunity to be on the blog tour.

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