The Last House on Needless Street (2021) – Catriona Ward

Catriona Ward delivers a fantastic, engaging tale that is horrific, heartbreaking, and revelatory. I discovered this title when I went searching for something scary to read, something to freak me out, and mess with my brain a bit.

The Last House on Needless Street does exactly that. The book is broken up into three narratives, two in the first person, and one in the third. The two first person story threads belong to Ted and Olivia.

Ted seems to be a dark character, and an unreliable narrator as time and memory seem to be patchy, and fluid. And we are led to believe that he has some very dark secrets, one of which may be murder, or murders. For all that, he seems to truly love his daughter, Lauren, even though she can be a handful and finds comforting solace in the presence of his cat, Olivia.

Olivia gives us out second first person narrative, and while the thought that part of a story thread, especially one of such a horrific nature, is from that of a cat could be silly, it actually is not only important to the full story, it gives us insights to a number of things we wouldn’t have caught from Ted’s narrative.

Dee, the third person narrative and who has secrets of her own, believes that Ted abducted and killed, her little sister. She’s tracked Ted down and is watching him from the house next door, waiting to see him make a mistake, and lead her to her sister.

The characters and the narratives are so incredibly engaging. This is one of the first novels in a long time, that I didn’t want to put down, and had to forcibly drag myself away from to attend to responsibilities.

I loved digging into the characters, their motivations, their memories, and then when things begin to unfurl in the second half of the book and we get glimpses of something more, it changes the whole narrative, and it’s executed with gob-smacking brilliance.

I won’t go into more details, because if I did, we would definitely be entering spoiler territory, and instead, leaving you with the impression of a hunt for a serial killer, and a missing sister may be just the hook to draw you in – it worked for me. And then you simply buckle on for the rollercoaster when it really kicks in.

On those rare moments that I had set the book aside, and processing what I had read, reveling in the discoveries, I went right to my library website and added the rest of Ward’s novels to me reading list.

I loved how everything played out, the way the story shifts and makes you look at everything that is going on in a whole new way. It’s a very powerful story, and I can’t recommend this novel nearly enough.

Check it out today!

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