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The House Guest by Mark Edwards - Review

Thursday, December 9, 2021

I bought this book on Amazon (something which I try to avoid, but realise that sometimes needs must) for just a pound last December and recently got round to reading it. Someone must have recommended it or linked to the fact it was a pound, but I also know that quite a few people have read this. 

I thought it was good in the first half but then went slightly off-piste. I'm not sure I'd read something else by the author. Here's what it's about, though:

Adam and Ruth are house sitting at a big house in Williamsburg, New York. The house belongs to their friends, Mona and Jack, who they met on a cruise. Jack and Mona are on a retreat in New Mexico. While in New York, Ruth, an actress, is rehearing for a new play with a prestigious director, and Adam is writing a play. 

One stormy evening a woman called Eden arrives, we through. She says she knows Jack and Mona and had expected them to be home. She says she used to go out with a friend of Jack's (although she's much younger than him) and has had a bad break up. 

Adam and Ruth decide to let her stay. Over the next few days they get to know her a little bit - she tells them a little about her past, and she makes friends with them. She and Adam go out one night and he confides that he is a little bit jealous of Ruth. She has that certain charisma and it seems like her career is about to take off. Adam doesn't think he'll make it as a playwright and is worried Ruth will outgrow him.

On the Friday before Jack and Mona are due home on the Sunday, Eden comes home with Japanese food and tequila for everyone. They all get drunk and in the morning, Adam wakes up feeling horrendous. He goes back to sleep until 7pm and finds the house completely trashed, and Ruth and Eden gone. He has to clean up the house before Mona and Jack come back. Although he's concerned about Ruth and Eden he thinks they'll be back soon.

But when Jack and Mona get back they have no idea who Eden is. Adam can't even prove that she actually existed, either. A police officer friend comes over to talk to Adam, but he says Adam would have to register Ruth as a missing person if he wants anything to be done for her, and that has implications for her visa. Adam then overhears Jack and Mona and the officer talking skeptically about Adam's story. 

I liked this mystery and I kept reading - I in fact read the book very quickly - but I thought the resolution was a bit crap and I didn't feel like the twist was good enough. I'm giving this three out of five.

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