The Suicide House
by Charlie Donlea
Thrillers are not generally my cup of tea, but Charlie Donlea’s books are good examples of the fine line between thrillers and classic mysteries. His The Suicide House is a solid mystery with multiple murders, many possibilities of felons, quirky investigators, and threads crossing each other at odd angles. The Suicide House also has a psychological edge, journal writings that will send chills up your spine, and spooky settings, thus moving it along the continuum with a thriller bent.
Upper grade students at the renowned Westmont Preparatory School all know something about the school’s secretive, selective society whose initiates undergo dangerous rites of admission involving The Man in the Mirror. Dangerous turns gruesomely deadly in 2019, followed by several student suicides, but no one is talking. Eventually Rory, an autistic forensic deconstructionist, is invited to conduct an unofficial investigation at the same time her partner Lane, a forensic psychologist, is persuaded to consult with a podcaster who is producing shows that garner a wide following. Neither Mack, the show’s producer, nor anyone else who has investigated, is totally convinced that the accused teacher, Charles Gorman, committed the crimes. There is no physical evidence that he did, and there also is blood from a fourth unidentified person at the crime scene.
My favorite character is Rory who channels her various quirks into finding solutions to cold cases by identifying with those involved and by making connections garnered from the evidence she finds. She is highly intelligent, but her special abilities and what the author calls her “afflictions” make life difficult for her. She finds relief in the details of her work and through reconstructing antique dolls. Her main social contact is Lane who knows her well and goes the extra mile to adjust circumstances to meet her needs.
I recommend this book as an exciting and complex mystery and a bit of a thriller. It goes back and forth by chapter in time frame, setting and perspective. Not particularly good for bedtime reading, The Suicide House will keep you puzzling, guessing, and turning those pages up to an exciting revelation. Four more chapters will bring closure and leave you with a satisfied smile.
I would like to extend my thanks to Netgalley and to Kensington Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Category: Mystery and Thriller
Publication: July 28, 2020—Kensington Books
Every day brought a funneling twister of emotions. It was how her brain waves fired. If she wasn’t worrying, she was obsessing. And if she was’t obsessing, she was planning. Her mind never really settled down. There was always a low hum of activity going on in her head.
As they made their way through the forest, their steps were fueled by a steady dose of trepidation and curiosity. They had only the seniors to deal with, the summer to get through, and initiation to conquer.
The files represented the case that had woken him up at three in the morning the previous summer. He hadn’t gotten a good night’s sleep since.