“This is the story of a murderer. A stolen child. Revenge. This is the story of Ted, who lives with his daughter Lauren and his cat Olivia in an ordinary house at the end of an ordinary street.
All these things are true. And yet some of them are lies.
You think you know what’s inside the last house on Needless Street. You think you’ve read this story before. In the dark forest at the end of Needless Street, something lies buried. But it’s not what you think…”
Hello and welcome to damppebbles. Today I am delighted to share my review (mini review may be the best description – or perhaps burblings) of The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward. The Last House on Needless Street was published by the fabulous Viper Books last week on 18th March 2021. I received a free ARC of The Last House on Needless Street but that has in no way influenced my review. My grateful thanks to Viper Books for sending me an early copy.
I am a keen advocate of book reviews (goes without saying really, running a book blog where 95% of what I publish is reviews). Book reviews help readers find a hidden gem. Book reviews give readers an insight into what to expect before committing to reading. Book reviews are awesome. PLEASE DON’T READ ANY REVIEWS OF THIS BOOK, INCLUDING THIS ONE. There, I’ve said it. I’ve broken the rules 😮. Not sure what to do with myself now…
Oh, you’re still here? Normally at this point in a damppebbles review I give you my take on what the book is about. I can’t do that with The Last House on Needless Street. I really hope I’m piquing your curiosity here because you do NEED to read this book but what I’m aiming for, my hope for you, is that you go into this book without any prior knowledge of the story. PLEASE DON’T READ ANY FURTHER! I read a few reviews before starting the book so I went in suspicious (honestly, stop reading this review NOW!!) and when I say ‘suspicious’, I considered every single possible option as the story played out in front of me. Unfortunately, I was able to work out where the author was going to take certain aspects of the story so they didn’t have the same wow-factor which I know other early readers have experienced (I’m a highly suspicious person, it’s a serious flaw). I still savoured every single second of the book though, it has that effect.
What can tell you about The Last House on Needless Street? This is a beautiful, heart breaking piece of fiction that smashes boundaries. It was captivating and enchanting. Terrifying and horrific. I loved it but felt desperately uncomfortable at times. If I could read it all over again without having read those reviews in the first place, I would pay good money to do so. Of course, you may not be the same as me and you may be able to forget that you ever saw this review (I won’t be offended – in fact I’d even encourage it – or any others that you may happen across). Please, when you crack this book open, go in with a clear, open mind and enjoy every second of Ward’s spellbinding tale. It will be so worth it.
Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. The Last House on Needless Street needs to be read by everyone. Please don’t let the mention of gothic or horror put you off. It’s dark and unsettling, worms its way under your skin and stays there malevolently grinning at you. It’s brave and totally addictive. A slow burn story that will be impossible to forget. Despite my few good guesses, by the end of the book I was a completely broken woman. The author’s writing is sublime. The power of her words took my breath away. What the writer exposed me to devastated me. The Last House on Needless Street is something very special and I suggest you do whatever you can to get hold of a copy. Highly recommended.
I chose to read and review a free ARC of The Last House on Needless Street. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.
The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward was published in the UK by Viper Books on 18th March 2021 and is available in hardcover, audio and digital formats with the paperback to follow later this year (please note, the following links are affiliate links which means I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.uk | Waterstones | Foyles | Book Depository | bookshop.org | Goodreads | the damppebbles bookshop.org shop |
CATRIONA WARD was born in Washington, DC and grew up in the United States, Kenya, Madagascar, Yemen, and Morocco. She read English at St Edmund Hall, Oxford and is a graduate of the Creative Writing MA at the University of East Anglia.
Stephen King praised her upcoming gothic thriller, saying: ‘The buzz building around Catriona Ward’s THE LAST HOUSE ON NEEDLESS STREET is real. I’ve read it and was blown away. It’s a true nerve-shredder that keeps its mind-blowing secrets to the very end. Haven’t read anything this exciting since GONE GIRL.’ THE LAST HOUSE ON NEEDLESS STREET is published 2021 by Viper (UK) and Tor Nightfire (USA).
Ward’s preceding novel LITTLE EVE won the 2019 Shirley Jackson Award, as well as the August Derleth Prize at the British Fantasy Awards, and was a Guardian best book of 2018. Her debut RAWBLOOD also won the 2016 August Derleth, making her the only woman to have won the prize twice. Her short stories have appeared in numerous anthologies. ‘The Pier at Ardentinny’ was shortlisted for the ALCS Tom Gallon Trust Award organised by the Royal Society of Literature. She lives in London and Devon.