Every so often a book comes along that is problematic to classify, difficult to summarize, and impossible to forget. The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward is just such a novel. It has been called a thriller, horror, psychological suspense, crime fiction, and fantasy – it is all of those things and none of them. One thing for sure, it is most definitely a singular work that will resonate for decades to come; one of those that will be referenced by readers, scholars, authors and critics alike.
Catriona Ward has crafted a complex narrative that virtually hypnotizes the reader as it unspools its secrets. And lord have mercy are there secrets. The last house on Needless Street is a boarded-up, run-down shell of its former self. But it is home for three: Ted, the town drunk; Dee, a teenage waif; and Olivia, a precocious cat. When new neighbors move in next door, the legacy of the house will finally be revealed – along with the secrets buried among the trees on this dark, dead-end street.
To say anything else about this novel would venture into spoiler territory. Readers should prepare themselves for an emotional journey, the likes of which is rarely seen. Catriona Ward skillfully introduces readers to her characters, making us care for each in a different way before subtly placing them within the construct of a plot that is as original as it is devastating.
Revelations abound, right up until the final pages are turned. To say the Afterword of the end of the book is a reward for following this heartbreaking journey does not quite do that section justice. Those five pages are as powerful a piece of writing as one is likely to find and will leave no dry eye in the room.
It sounds so hyperbolic to say that a book can change you, but The Last House on Needless Street really does just that. When you must mark time as BN and AN (Before Needless and After Needless), you will understand that this book has altered your view of the world around us.
There is nothing more to say than “Read this Book!”
Disclaimer: A print galley of this title was provided to BOLO Books by the author. No promotion was promised and the above is an unbiased review of the novel.