Hello, long time no see! I know I say this quite a bit but I’m hoping to be more active on this blog in the coming months especially as I’m working on quicker ways to get my views on the books I’m reading across in monthly wrap-ups, for example. The majority of my time has gone towards the job I started in September as it is my first full-time job following University. However, this is, somehow, my 70th post on this website so I’m looking to build on that with my stop on the exciting blog tour for Linskey’s latest thrilling release, Don’t Let Him In.
Following the above, I want to state straight away that I count three stars as a good rating. Typically, there is some confusion concerning this exact rating, but I have provided a rating breakdown on my About Me Section to avoid any confusion. I also feel it is only right to warn readers that this book discusses home invasion and violence against women.
Eriston is a small town.
It’s the kind of place where everyone knows your name – and your secrets.
Rebecca hasn’t been back in years, but she grew up in the shadow of the dark local legend. There have always been deaths in Eriston – more than can easily be explained. People dying in their houses, behind locked doors.
Her father Sean had always warned her of the dangers. Don’t let him in.
When Rebecca returns, she discovers that her father wasn’t willing to let the legend lie. He was on the verge of uncovering the town’s darkest truth.
He thought he was on the trail of a killer.
Sean knew too much. Now he’s dead.
Rebecca could accept her father’s death.
Or she could risk her life by carrying on his work . . .
Firstly, I absolutely flew through this book and that is exactly what I’ve been looking for. I’ve not exactly been in a reading slump but, as I’ve mentioned, my time has been prioritised elsewhere and during my week-off I’ve flown through two books and really needed the boost. This is my first time reading any of his work, but I think this is a testament to Linskey’s writing style as it flowed very nicely and was never overly complex or an obstacle to the information needed to enjoy the narrative or characters.
I also thoroughly enjoyed the small town atmosphere, especially as it related to the properties of the town, the weather and an intriguing cast of characters who interacted with Rebecca. I perhaps would have liked more of a continuous insight into the contrast, specifically in Rebecca’s lifestyle and attitude, between her life abroad and in this small town but thoroughly enjoyed her reporter attitude to following a lead through to the end. I also truly enjoyed the relationship between Rebecca and her ex-boyfriend Alan as they are reunited in the midst of Rebecca’s complex situation. It by no means turns into a rom-com, but Linskey effortlessly adds these moments of needed and enjoyable levity without it feeling forced. This is very much a book I would recommend to readers local to the North East Northumbrian Coast!
Rebecca, the protagonist, is easy to relate to and follow throughout the narrative. She’s grounded when it comes to her financial, living and romantic situations and her ability to stand up for herself whilst also taking the advice and guidance of others was well balanced. Rebecca also shows pragmatism relating to her father’s death, but also demonstrates just how easy it is to sink into a singular task, job or idea during the grieving process especially when it is embroiled in a complex familial situation such as Rebecca’s. There were some moments of frustration, however this is to be expected in any mystery-thriller as the very form of the plot mandates at least some slowness of its protagonists and I actually adored Linskey’s descriptions of her actions and reactions during the final confrontations.
The initially second person perspectives from the stalker figure, who muses on his methods and intentions throughout the novel, genuinely made my skin crawl and reluctant to read the book at night! However, I was a little disappointed to have simply guessed the correct identity of the culprit even before half-way through the book so if, like myself, the primary ingredient you want from a mystery-thriller is that gut-wrenching climactic twist I can’t promise that every reader will find it here. Other aspects also contributed to this feeling as the peril of the ending surrounded a character who was very quickly introduced towards the end, and in a small town mystery this was quite jarring. Another aspect which detracted from the reading experience and overall narrative was simply the breakneck speed with which seemingly vital character threads, attitudes and even entire characters themselves were introduced but suddenly dropped from the story at a moment’s notice.
Overall, while I don’t think this book will exactly stay with me due to underwhelming twists and reveals I enjoyed exactly what this book did give which was a small town mystery surrounding the local newspaper, police force and residents with engaging characters and I tore through it at speed.
Don’t Let Him In by Howard Linskey was published in paperback by Penguin Random House on the 13th of May 2021.
After responding via Twitter, I was approved to take part in the blog tour by Sriya Varadharajan at Penguin Random House who provided a physical final paperback in exchange for an honest review. Thank you very much to Sriya and the PRH team for this opportunity.
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