Cover Image: The Family at Number 13

The Family at Number 13

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This is the second book by S. D. Monaghan that I have had the pleasure of reading and reviewing.  I read ‘The Accident’ at the end of last year and I really enjoyed reading it.  I eagerly awaited the author’s next book so imagine my delight when I learnt that his second book ‘The Family At Number 13’ was set for release!  I was not to be disappointed as I loved his second book just as much as his first book, but more about that in a bit.
I have to be honest and say that hand on heart, I didn’t take to any of the characters.  That’s ok though because it means that you are more likely to remain impartial and have a balanced view.  As the saying goes, ‘Believe nobody, suspect everybody’.  I would say that the characters that you find in ‘The Family At Number 13’ perfectly represent the sorts of characters you would find on any street in the UK and beyond.  You have the likeable characters, the not so likeable characters, the slightly odd characters, the devious characters, the highly suspicious characters and well you get the picture.  Connor is a psychiatrist who moves into this particular street and lives next door to Number 13, which houses Andrew and Mary.  His neighbours are not as they first appear.  Andrew seems highly paranoid and Mary is just about holding things together, whilst caring for her disabled nephew but I got the impression that she is close to breaking point.  As often happens things happen and neighbours fall out.  It isn’t long until things start going wrong for Connor and his life unravels before his eyes but there doesn’t seem to be a darn thing that he can do to stop it.  Something happens which has far reaching consequences for the people in this particular street.  What does happen?  Who did it?  Can Connor save his life from total meltdown?  Does life unravel for those at number 13?  Well for the answers to those questions and more you are just going to have to read the book for yourselves to find out as I am not going to tell you.
The story of this book is told in a way that I don’t think I have come across before and it will certainly stay in my mind for a long time to come.  The book actually opens with the major event and during the following paragraphs we learn more about the characters, their back stories, what secrets they might be keeping and what they are really like.  Initially I found this to be a little confusing but then it doesn’t take much to confuse me!! When I got used to this way of telling the story, I just had to keep reading to see how things led up to the major event that is described at the start of the book.  It is certainly fair to say that I became addicted to reading this book for the reason I mentioned previously.  The book came everywhere with me and I just could not put it down.  Reading this book was very much like riding on a predictable rollercoaster ride with lots of twists and turns.
In short I really did enjoy reading ‘The Family At Number 13’ even if it did mess with my head a bit and I wasn’t sure who or what to believe.  I absolutely love reading psychological thrillers and S. D. Monaghan is a top author in this field.  The score on the Ginger Book Geek board is a well deserved 4* out of 5*.
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I have reviewed this on all my social platforms, thank you for giving me the opportunity to give a honest review of this book. I am afraid it was not one of the best books I have read as it all seemed a bit separate, not all jelling together at all.  I have tried to write some different things in some reviews so they are not all the same.
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Connor is a psychologist whose office is in the same building as his apartment.  He learns that he has to move right away as his apartment has been sold.  When he casually mentions this to one of his patients, Zachary, a wealthy man, he tells him that there is a nice place in St. Catherine’s Hill, a nice area.  Connor is surprised to find that the rent is not as expensive as she thought it would be and signs the lease right away.  Even though he has to pay a year’s rent in advance, he accepts.  It is a nice grouping of bungalows with decks and spacious gardens for each unit.

Mary and Andrew live next door with their nephew, Finn.  Connor is frustrated by Finn jumping on a trampoline and screaming.  The noise runs off his patient.  When Connor confronts Finn, he realizes that the boy is very damaged.  He screams obscenities at Connor and grabs a neighbor’s cat and tries to tries it to a vicious dog.  Connor is able to rescue the cat.  Andrew is angry at Connor when he has to fight Finn off when he physically attacks him.  

Mary’s sister and Finn’s mother is Emer, who is in a psych ward.  Mary is trying to care for Finn. Mary’s other sister is Brona and she lives in the next bungalow along with her husband who turns out to be Connor’s patient, Zachary.

When a murder occurs, the craziness of the neighborhood spills over and some terrible secrets are released.  

This is a very dysfunctional story that left me confused and disgusted.  I am finding as I read books that are called “thrillers” that there is a huge difference between a thriller and just a waste of read time.

Copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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Where do I begin...

I was actually quite frustrated with this storyline because it held so much promise, yet there were a couple of things that I just couldn't get my head around. I absolutely loved the intensity of this novel, that's for sure! There was a whole lot of 'dun dun dun' moments getting thrown about which was brilliant, but I struggled to believe the overall concept of the storyline and I'm not too sure whether that was because of the characters, or whether the storyline needed a little bit more fire.

I preferred the second half of the book as it held more oomph than the first part, in my opinion, and I became frustrated with the storyline because deep down I knew that the author had a lot more to give than what he put into this novel.

For me, the star of the show was the not knowing the characters backgrounds in-depth until further into the storyline, as it kept me wanting more, especially where Mary was concerned. Mary was definitely an oddball, but she was an intriguing oddball who seemed to be the glue holding all of the characters together. I wanted to dislike her, but I just couldn't bring myself to because of how vital her part was in the truth of 'The Family at No.13'. 

Overall, 'The Family at No.13' was an intriguing read which, despite having an iffy relationship with the first half of the novel, left me wanting more. It really was weirdly addictive.
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My review is written with thanks to Noelle at Bookouture for inviting me to take part and for providing me with a copy of the book through Netgalley.
Connor has just moved in to his perfect apartment on St Catherine's Hill. Before he has had time to settle in, his next door neighbour, Andrew, is accusing him of sending hate mail to his wife, Mary. Meanwhile, Mary is trying to keep up the appearance of the perfect life whilst caring for her disabled nephew, Finbarr, who has a tendency to be violent. But what is really going on at Number 13?
The Family At Number 13 begins with the discovery of a dead body, which naturally throws up several questions. Whose body is it? How did they die? Who is responsible? Following this, the novel goes back in time to a few days previously and starts unravelling some of the events that may have led to this point. As a result, it's full of tension and intrigue and I was keen to find out what had happened and what secrets the characters are hiding.
The residents of St. Catherine's Hill are a colourful mix of characters. The chapters in The Family At Number 13 are narrated alternately by Connor and Mary, so this gives the reader some insight into their thoughts and feelings, but even with this knowledge, I was never quite sure who to trust and who was telling the truth and this kept me turning pages to find the answers. 
Through The Family At Number 13, Monaghan explores a range of themes including homosexuality, disability and mental illness. This gave the characters more depth, as it helped me to relate to them and try to understand what they were going through. These are themes that are important in modern society and this novel helped me to appreciate how they affect people in every day life.
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I just couldn't get into this book found it very fragmented. It was written so well but the story was a bit slow for me. In all honesty to the author I had just finished a book by my favourite author so nothing was going to live up to that so give it a try.
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There was some great mystery buried in this book, under some unnecessary rabble that made finishing this book quite an ordeal.

There was absolutely no need or reason for this book to stretch over three hundred pages. Filled with unnecessary, and irritating conversations it got on my nerves pretty quickly. Such a shame, because the mystery was not bad! Not bad at all! I mean, there's someone dying on the first page!

Mary and Andrew are livin' da life in St. Cathrine's Hill, some fancy neighbourhood, surrounded by fancy neighbours. This is where not-so-fancy Connor ends up somehow, after needing a new place for his therapy practice, and to live. The first half a day goes swimmingly, until the teenage boy next door creates such a commotion that Connor wonders why he's not locked up somewhere.

Mary's life is one many would envy. But someone just slipped a nasty letter through her door, informing her the neighbourhood is not happy with how things are handled at number 13. She straight away deducts that it can be only Connor, the dude who lives there for exactly half a day. If jumping to conclusions were an olympic sport, Mary would sure be gold medalist. This theme continues for most part of the book, and even Andrew seems to be on board which is frankly mind boggling. It sounded stupid coming from Mary, but after dear hubby joins, it gets downright ridiculous. I often wondered if both of them might be a bit deranged.

I couldn't particularly warm up to any of the characters, apart from maybe Finn, Mary's nephew, who seems to suffer from some vague sort of mental illness - characterized with violent outbursts -, and yet is the most observant of them all. The fact. That. They. All. Talk. Like. This, also doesn't help.

Apart from the brief encounter with animal torture there's also mention of child abuse and some violence that might not sit well with everyone.
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I found this a strange and dark read but also fairly enjoyable. There were flashes of brilliance and the characters were all very intriguing, however I was struggled with the fact that it jumped around a lot. It’s set in Ireland, however I found the style fairly American.
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From the write up online:
Mary has everything. Beautiful and rich, she lives on an exclusive street in the heart of the city, in a house with gorgeous views and an immaculately maintained garden. Her life looks perfect. 
But behind closed doors the truth is very different. Her husband Andrew barely speaks to her, spending his days down in the basement alone. Her teenage nephew is full of rage, lashing out with no warning. Her carefully constructed life is beginning to fall apart. And then someone starts sending Mary anonymous notes, threatening her and her family…Everyone has secrets. But is someone at number 13 hiding something that could put the whole family in danger?

My review: I got this book free for an honest review. I was interested in this story based on the write up and the cover which grabbed my attention. I started reading the book and was confused but then it said a few days earlier so I thought I would start to get some answers but all that I got were more questions. I don't want to give away any spoilers but I kept reading because I liked the writing in certain parts but it seemed like more things were added to the mix without any explanation instead of slowly adding things and explaining some as we went. I'm not sure if this was the attention of the author but I left the book more confused then anything. Too many things were written as if we should know what they were and I didn't feel invested at all.
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I was really looking forward to reading this book but I just couldn’t get into it.  I tried, as I wanted to like it but I’m afraid that I didn’t like the animal cruelty bit or the characters.  I’m sorry, it’s not very often I don’t finish a book but this one was not for me.
Thanks to NetGalley and Bookouture for giving me the opportunity to to read and review this book.
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I really like thrillers about neighbors with secrets. I am that nosy tenant who tries to guess what goes on behind closed doors in my apartment building. I don’t spy on my neighbors though so I will never really get to know what secrets they hide. This book gave me an opportunity to find out exactly what happens behind the doors of house number 13. The occupants of the home look perfect from outside but we all know that things aren’t always as they seem.

The Family at No. 13 begins with Connor’s move into a new suburb. Connor is a psychiatrist in dire need of a new home which will also serve as an office for meeting his wealthy clients. The new house seems perfect. However, his move seemed suspicious from the word go. Getting the place was a bit too easy. It felt like someone had reasons for wanting Connor to live in that exact house.

The book has only a handful characters. Mary and Andrew are the couple at number 13. Brona and Zachary also live in the neighborhood. There are two other characters who are introduced through the neighbors. This seemingly small mix of characters provides an intense, crazy story-line that I wasn’t expecting when I picked this book.

The pacing of this book was a bit up and down. There are chapters that I couldn’t stop reading while there others that I just wanted to end. However, the creepy vibe in the narrative kept me turning pages to find out how things will go. Right from the prologue, questions arise about the neighborhood and the characters. Things get crazier with each new chapter. I was totally hooked and my nosy self just wanted to find out all the secrets. I wish the author didn’t load so many themes into the narrative though. Nevertheless, I was still entertained by this book. If you enjoy character-driven thrillers about secrets, this one is for you.
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Not read any books from this author but I devoured this in a day, an excellent page turner which I can thoroughly recommend.
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"Life was a series of decisions and reactions and then it was over."

A body lies near death on the driveway. Who is dead and who is the killer?

Oh what psychopathy! This was a complete trainwreck of a domestic drama, but I actually ended up enjoying it! Despite despising every single character within the pages, the narrative gives an up close view of a really messed up family dynamic. Let's just say that I am so glad that I don't live anywhere near St. Catherine's Hill. 

There are 3 main characters in this novel and their interactions and conversations with each other reveal that secrets and lies are the order of the day. When it all erupts, it's obvious that this was years in the making. Mary, married to Andrew, has a passionless existence as she cares for the very damaged Finn, the son of her mentally ill and institutionalized sister, Erme. Brona, the youngest child, seems to have it all -- looks and fortune -- and seemingly escaped the trials endured by her sisters. Connor, the hapless psychologist who ends up living in their midst, is completely blindsided by the mess he's waded into and can't stand by as merely a voyeur to the drama. What a story -- but no spoilers. This is one you have to read carefully for all the nuances.

I'm going out on a limb and disagreeing with the negative reviews here, I actually liked it and will look for the other title by this author. Thank you to Netgalley and Bookouture for the e-book to read and review.
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I found this book interesting, but hard to read. Some things just didn’t make sense, I would have to go back and re-read. Great story, poorly executed.
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Ok The Family at Number 13 is just not my kind of book. I thought it was gonna be a really good thriller but i just could not get into the story. The people in the story all physcho analyze each other constantly. We have a therapist who moves into the neighborhood and immediately his fellow neighbors involve him in their lives which i found a little weird. They were like accusing him of writing some vicious letter his 1st or 2nd day there when he doesn't even know the people the letter was sent to. Then we have a wife who's ex army husband is a aggressive pyscho bully and they are taking care of their really weird nephew.  Some of you might like it but I'm sorry. I just couldn't like it.
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Thanks to Netgalley for the advanced copy...

It wasn't bad but it wasn't for me to read it. Kind of weird way of the story.
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for some reason i didn’t gel with this book.  i found it hard to get into and i couldn’t connect with the characters.

many thanks to netgalley and the publishers for the advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
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Absolutely amazing! I love this author - he never disappoints. And this book, wow! One of the best thrillers I have ever read. Pacy, tense, with twists in every page, this amazing story had me gripped and absolutely did not let go right until the brilliant end. I read a lot of crime and thriller books, and I can often guess where they are heading so they do not often catch me by surprise. But this one! Wow! I was left stunned and awed at the brilliance of the plot, the twists that I did not see coming. Amazing and very highly recommended to everyone who loves a good, well plotted drama.
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This was a solid psychological mystery (not really a genre but is a better description of this book than thriller). There is a lot going on in this book which gets a little messy at times but the characters are well developed and the story wraps up pretty nicely.  Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read in exchange for an honest review.
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Ordinarily, when I write a review, I first write a summary of the story. I am reluctant to do that, and just want to get my feelings about this book out. I was on the fence about this book the whole way through. What should have been a very quick read for me ended up being a long one, because it was rather dreadful. There were times that I felt like it had redeeming qualities, but as soon as I felt that, I was really thrown.

The murder at the outset just did not seem necessary, especially for the character involved, I found to be tragic. As an animal lover, I was also appalled at the insertion of animal abuse into the story.  Was this to connect the characters? If so, I feel that the inclusion of it was done in very poor taste. Yes this book is about a family with secrets, deep dark secrets, and plots have to be developed. With all said, I honestly don’t know if I would read a book by this author again.

Thank you Bookouture and NetGalley for this ARC to review.
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