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The House of Ashes (Paperback)
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For fans of Gillian Flynn and Tana French, a chilling story of a Northern Irish murder sixty years buried
Sara Keane’s husband, Damien, has uprooted them from England and moved them to his native Northern Ireland for a “fresh start” in the wake of her nervous breakdown. Sara, who knows no one in Northern Ireland, is jobless, carless, friendless—all but a prisoner in her own house. When a blood-soaked old woman beats on the door, insisting the house is hers before being bundled back to her care facility, Sara begins to understand the house has a terrible history her husband never intended for her to discover. As the two women form a bond over their shared traumas, Sara finds the strength to stand up to her abuser, and Mary—silent for six decades—is finally ready to tell her story . . .
Through the counterpoint voices—one modern Englishwoman, one Northern Irish farmgirl speaking from half a century earlier—Stuart Neville offers a chilling and gorgeous portrait of violence and resilience in this truly haunting narrative.
About the Author
Stuart Neville, the “king of Belfast noir” (The Guardian), is the author of the short story collection The Traveller, as well as nine novels, for which he has won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and been shortlisted for the Edgar, Macavity, Dilys, Barry, and Anthony Awards as well as the CWA Steel Dagger. He lives near Belfast.
Praise for The House of Ashes
A CrimeReads Best Crime Novel of 2021
CrimeReads Most Anticipated Crime Fiction of Fall
“Chilling, compassionate and compelling, Stuart Neville takes us straight to the dark heart of rural Ireland.”
“A brilliant, atmospheric novel from Stuart Neville that plays with chronology and the idea that evil can linger in the dark places. Neville writes with care and empathy and his characters will stay with you for a long time. In a storied career, this may well be Stuart Neville's best book.”
—Adrian McKinty, bestselling author of The Cold Cold Ground
“Moving, thrilling, tragic. The House of Ashes is a phenomenal achievement from a crime fiction Titan.”
—Chris Whitaker, author of We Begin at the End
“A gripping mystery with a soupçon of the supernatural . . . Neville fuses a heartbreaking story of domestic abuse with a tightly written thriller in The House of Ashes.”
—Oline H. Cogdill, Shelf Awareness
“Neville has been known for his beautifully written Northern Irish noir. But with The House of Ashes, while the writing is still beautiful, Neville’s subject is men[’s] mistreatment of women—including murder—and women who find the courage to stand up . . . A remarkable, if troubling, work about resilience and justice.”
—Jack Batten, The Toronto Star
“Stuart Neville writes crime fiction that is edgy, compelling and always deeply humane. This might well be his masterpiece.”
“Spellbinding . . . Neville hooks his reader with the opening sequences of his story, mystery, and horror emerging prominently. The multi-narrative structure that plays out is effective and gripping. Impressive just begins to describe Neville’s latest offering.”
—Seattle Book Review
“In retrospect, Stuart Neville has perhaps been working towards the magnum opus that is The House of Ashes for his entire career — he started off with the kind of hard-boiled noir that’s not easily forgotten, then moved into domestic suspense just long enough to synthesize the dangers of domesticity with those of toxic sectarian conflict . . . Neville seamlessly blends gothic fiction, psychological thriller, and Northern Irish noir in his powerful new novel.”
“A stunning novel, brutal, disturbing and completely riveting . . . Life-endangering female resistance to misogyny is a recurrent theme in contemporary crime fiction, but The House of Ashes is one of the most vivid, moving and memorable treatments it has received.”
“[Stuart Neville] turns his focus to the domestic in this multigenerational study of an inviting house and the terrible secrets it hides . . . As The House of Ashes asserts, the greatest strength that one woman can offer another is to believe her. If one woman sees it or thinks it, it’s a hallucination or a pipe dream—but if two women can see the same thing, it’s a chance to live.”
“Seethes with agony and retribution. This is an excellent thriller that’s gruesome and hard to stomach, but completely believable.”
—Mystery & Suspense
“The House of Ashes is a well-executed thriller that grips the reader throughout . . . Neville furnishes a denouement, however, that packs a feminist punch.”
—Historical Novels Review
“Complete with a complement of Irish apparitions, the novel opens with tangible dread and moves to emotional devastation, intellectual fury and visceral satisfaction . . . The House of Ashes represents Neville at his imaginative and vigorous best.”
—The Free Lance-Star
“Stuart Neville offers a chilling and gorgeous portrait of violence and resilience in this truly haunting narrative . . . The stuff of which legendary film noir movies were made, The House of Ashes is a simply riveting read from first page to last.”
—Midwest Book Review
“Featuring supernatural and even gothic elements in a book fueled by female resilience, this is a huge departure for Neville, a risk that pays off quite handsomely . . . A story that is as moving and inspiring as it is terrifying.”
“An absorbing read, one that is difficult to put down and hard to forget.”
—Reviewing the Evidence
“This hardboiled thriller paints a shattering image of how absolute power becomes absolute control . . . [The House of Ashes] is a work of psychological horror, drenched in blood, death, and sexual abuse . . . The terrors revealed and persisting match the book against such classics as Silence of the Lambs.”
“A disquieting novel that grabs readers at page one and never lets them go.”
“Stuart Neville is truly the master of Irish noir. His latest mystery, The House of Ashes, is his best novel since his haunting debut, The Ghosts of Belfast.”
“Fans of the superhit film franchise, The Conjuring, will love [The House of Ashes] . . . The House of Ashes is a very creepy, fast-paced, highly intriguing horror mystery that is rife with human suffering and grief.”
“[A] gut-wrenching novel of psychological suspense with ghostly undertones . . . This unforgettable tale of servitude and subservience, domestic abuse, and toxic masculinity builds to a resolution offering redemption and heartfelt solace. Neville has outdone himself.”
—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
“This psychological thriller is not for the fainthearted.”
“[The House of Ashes] will keep you turning the pages.”
Praise for Stuart Neville
“Noir, noir, noir—everybody wants to write noir fiction. But most self-anointed 'noir' narratives just don’t hack it. They’re dark and dreary, to be sure; but a true noir mystery must also have a black heart. This kind of spiritual despair comes naturally to Stuart Neville, whose Belfast crime novels bleed.”
—The New York Times Book Review
“Tightly wound, emotionally resonant . . . Displays an acute understanding of the true state of Northern Ireland, still under the thumb of decades of violence.”
—Los Angeles Times
“The current master of neo-noir detective fiction.”
—The Boston Globe
“A great, brawling ache of a novel . . . filled with both prickling suspense and fiercely wrought emotion.”
“In the world of modern crime fiction, Stuart Neville is a supernova.”
“The dread in this novel is palpable from the first pages until the heartbreaking final ones. It's Neville's best yet.”
—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“Superlative . . . A pulse-pounding crime novel from a master of the genre.”
—Booklist, Starred Review