Cover Image: The Suicide House

The Suicide House

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I, unfortunately, didn’t like this. It was repetitive, too many characters, unnecessary information (doll restoration), and one character ruined a lot of the story for me. Then the ending just came and went leaving me wondering, “that’s it?”. I mostly enjoyed the killers journal entries, that was the best part. Some parts interesting and other parts boring. Not his best work.

*Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an arc in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

***Thanks to NetGalley for providing me a complimentary copy of THE SUICIDE HOUSE by Charlie Donlea in exchange for my honest review.***


Charlie Donlea is back with another mystery/thriller led by Rory Moore and Lane Phillips. Being a psychologist, I was particularly drawn to Lane but more skeptical about Rory’s character’s authenticity.

THE SUICIDE HOUSE checks all the boxes for books I usually devour:

Boarding School
Secret Society
Re-examining a crime
Suicide or murder
A journal

I expected to enjoy Charlie Donlea’s latest more than I did, especially after reading the intro chapter from an unnamed professed serial killer. Instead a slogged through THE SUICIDE HOUSE, enjoying some of the characters and the intrigue while at times becoming confused with the multiple points of views from many too characters for my liking. Donlea’s writing is most chilling with the killer’s cold, calculated diary and the POV most memorable to me.

The Man in the Mirror seemed like something more suited to younger kids, at least from my personal experiences. While it wasn’t a central aspect of the story, I was distracted.

Most reviewers enjoyed THE SUICIDE HOUSE more than I did, so check out what other people are saying too.

Was this review helpful?

Another hit by Charlie Donlea. This is technically a follow up to Some Choose Darkness, but you don't have to read the first to completely enjoy this sequel. In fact, other than a few quick comments alluding to Rory's past, there's nothing that would make a first time reader stumble here. I would, though, suggest reading the first in the series just for the character development and because Donlea's book are always a good time.

In this book, we're taken to an elite boarding school where a double murder has taken place; as though that isn't bad enough, the horrific massacre is one-upped by the number of suicides that have been piling up at the murder site over the past year. Donlea keeps you guessing on this one, as there are multiple potential murderers to ferret out. One minor issue I had with the plot was the double role faculty and administrators at the school play: a teacher and a dean are both also serving as counselors--which should never happen. That's a huge conflict of interest and could shut the school down and cost the counselors their licenses to practice. But, that's an overall minor detail and is used to move the plot forward so . . . okay.

I really enjoy all of Donlea's books and have him on my immediate To Read pile each time a new one is released. I highly recommend this book but also recommend reading earlier books by this author as well. One little thing I really liked in this book was the author's afterword. He tells us here that he does write all of his novels to be read as stand-alones (and yes--he does this well). But in addition, he reminds us that many of his characters populate the larger Donlea universe and pop up from book to book (constant readers usually love this!). Because I read his novels when they first come out, it's been years since I've read a couple of his books. So as a book nerd, it was fun to read his afterword that reminded me who the crossover characters were and what roles they played in other novels. (I KNEW I had seen Gus in another novel but couldn't put my finger on it! So thanks, Charlie Donlea, for helping this OCD reader out!)

Final advice: Donlea is one to watch. Read him. You won't be disappointed.

Was this review helpful?

This is the second book I have read featuring Rory Moore and Lane Phillips. I love the characters especially Rory's quirks. This is a fast paced thriller that will have you guessing to the end. It can be read as a stand alone but I recommend reading the first novel before you start this. A satisfying thriller. I give it five stars.

Was this review helpful?

3.5 stars

While a popular podcast focuses on “The Suicide House” at an elite boarding school, a journalist, a forensic reconstructionist, and a profiler, are brought together to piece together a tale of murder, suicide, and a secret society.

The Suicide House brings back Rory Moore and Lane Phillips, who were featured in Some Choose Darkness, which I loved! Rory, a forensic reconstructionist, uses her autistic abilities to see what others can’t. Lane analyzes serial killers. Together they solve the unsolvable. While they play a critical role in this book, they are not featured nearly enough.

A lot is going on in this book: there are several mysteries and storylines to keep track of. The mystery of what’s going on at this elite prep school is compelling but gets bogged down by featuring too many characters and POV’s. For this reason, I wasn’t sure quite what I was supposed to be focusing on. I was confused in the beginning, but eventually, all the pieces came together. The pacing is slow, but with having so many characters and storylines to keep track of, I appreciated this aspect. Some parts are also repetitive. With that being said, I still love Rory and Lane. I also enjoyed reading the killer’s journal. I was left with some questions about the killer's motivation in the present and felt that this individual came across a little cartoonish, especially in their final scene.

Overall, Charlie Donlea can write. While this book is crammed with too many storylines, characters, and voices, I still felt that this is a well-written thriller. I only wish it capitalized on featuring Rory Moore and Lane Phillips. However, it looks like there is a strong chance we will be seeing them again in the future

Was this review helpful?

How excited was I to see a new book from Charlie Donlea?! And then, to discover that one of the best characters in recent fiction came back to grace us with her presence, made me ecstatic! Rory and Lane are back to investigate the mysterious suicides of high school students from Westmont Prep. Each has been found along the railroad tracks, outside an abandoned house, tucked deep into the woods. This story is perfect for fans of true crime podcasts, secret societies and urban legends. Sure to keep you turning the pages late into the night, this story is hard to put down! Another pleasant surprise was the reappearance of retired cop, Gus Morelli, and his amazing stash of case files from his long career. This brought a fun, unexpected element into this story and it was such an appropriate tie-in (don't want to give too much away!). While this is a book with recurring characters, it could read as a stand alone. Reading previous books will give you more insight into the characters personalities and may make them more enjoyable and like old friends. Don't forget to add this to your to-read lists - you don't want to miss it!

Was this review helpful?

3 Stars

Westmont Preparatory School. An Elite School and Campus. An initiation game where select Juniors are invited to play “The Man in the Mirror.”

Much to the horror of the participants and the school, the game does not go as planned.

Podcasts detail the atrocity of the events.

An investigation involving the Police and Forensic Reconstructionist Rory Moore and Psychologist Lane Phillips take place.

The issue of course is that no one, and I mean, no one is safe.

“The Suicide House” is the third book that I’ve read by Charles Donlea. Unfortunately, it left something to be desired. It started out slow and felt more like a YA horror novel than an adult mystery suspense. It also involved a few different themes, which I personally don’t feel meshed well. It took until the middle of the book for me to be interested in the storyline (as that featured more of Rory and Lane) but unlike Mr. Donlea’s other novels, I didn’t care about the characters in the same way, which is surprising given the fact that Rory Moore and Lane Phillips both appeared in Donlea’s prior novel “Some Choose Darkness” and that was a favorite of mine.

All in all, this ended up being an enjoyable, fast paced read even though it didn’t rate as high as the other Charles Donlea novels that I’ve read. I still have a few of his books to read and plan to move them up on my tbr asap and look forward to this author’s next release.

This was another book read with Kaceey!

Thank you to NeGalley, Kensington Books and Charles Donlea for the arc.

Published on Goodreads on 4.26.20.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you NetGalley and Kensington Books for the ARC. This was my first Charlie Donlea book and I found it hard to put down! This was a thrilling read with multiple POVs and two major timelines which all wove together in a brilliant way. Occasionally the multiple POVs were hard to keep straight since some of the POV switches happened abruptly but overall it was not a major detractor. I look forward to reading more about these characters as I continue the series!

Was this review helpful?

I can't say enough about Charlie Donlea! It started with his first, Summit Lake, and each one is just as good or better!! The Suicide House is no different! I was so happy for this ARC! The story continues with Rory and Lane from the previous story, Some Choose darkness. I love both characters, but especially Rory. Rory is a forensic reconstructionist, she solves cold cases that no one else can solve. She is on the autism spectrum so her mind works differently, which is perfect for that sort of detailed work. The story revolves around campus murders from the previous year that were solved, but the solution never sat right with several people. This is very fast-paced and I liked each short chapter ending with something significant. I did have one question at the end that was unanswered, or maybe I missed it, but no spoilers. It was not enough to detract from thoroughly enjoying this book! READ IT!!! And I can't wait for another!

Thank you to Charlie Donlea, #NetGalley and Kensington Books for this much appreciated ARC!

Was this review helpful?

Incredibly gripping story and exceptional writing. Absolutely loved this book and had a hard time putting it down! The unique characters and fast-paced made this mystery an enjoyable experience. This was my first book by the author but as there are other stand alone mysteries that feature some of the main characters, I will definitely be tracking them down to read. Cannot say enough about how much I loved this book! Well worth the read.

Was this review helpful?

What a fun thriller! Charlie Donlea has written another great thriller that includes some of my favorite things: boarding schools, podcasts, and murder--obviously! A couple of students were killed during a boarding school game gone wrong, and now more students are committing suicide by throwing themselves in front of moving trains. A super popular podcast picks up the story, and that's when pieces start falling into place. This story includes Rory and Lane from Donlea's previous book, Some Choose Darkness. I highly recommend this book--it's fast-paced and it will keep you guessing. Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC. All opinions are my own.

Was this review helpful?

Oo y’all!!! This book was crazy good! Honestly the suspense and storyline was fantastic. Definitely read it!

Was this review helpful?

I would like to thank NetGalley, Kensington Books and author Charlie Donlea for providing me with an ARC of this novel.

This is my first book by Charlie Donlea, and I must now go back and read all of the others! I loved the cover of this novel, that’s what initially drew me in. I was then enthralled from page one all the way through until the end. This was super suspenseful and spooky, two of my favorite things. Also, anything including boarding/prep schools and murder is bound to be good, right? I was unaware this was a sequel, but it didn’t affect my reading at all.

Thank you to those named above for the opportunity to read and review this ARC!

Was this review helpful?

I have a confession to make....This is my first Charlie Donlea novel. *Gasps*

When two teenage boys are found on the grounds of a prestigious boarding school murdered in horrific fashion it is believed their chemistry teacher that they were tormenting finally enacted his revenge. When the remaining survivors of that night are drawn back to the same spot to commit suicide it attracts the attention of a podcast host, a reporter, and also Rory Moore, a forensic reconstructionist, along with her partner Lane Phillips, a psychological profiler, from Donlea's last novel and first book of this series, Some Choose Darkness.

"This wasn't a couple of kids screwing around. This was a goddamn slaughter."

That line is all Donlea needed to say to get my attention and my attention he had until the very end. My only one complaint is that I struggled to keep all of the characters straight. I had to flip back and forth on more than one occasion. Of course with such a large cast of characters I had made so many assumptions as to whodunnit and I was wrong every time. Well played, indeed! 4 stars!

Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington Books for providing me with a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

So, this book had sooooo many things that should have bugged me.

• Flashbacks. So. Many. Flashbacks.
• Quirky characters. Seriously quirky.
• The old – exclusive private school with secrets plot.

And…I loved it.

The book is extremely suspenseful, with good spooky undertones. The mystery was well-crafted. No cheating, but the author managed to surprise me more than once. And when certain mini-reveals came, the author sent my suspicions spinning in so many directions!

I also loved our characters, quirky bits and all. I adore Rory. She’s so…not like me at all. I just loved her. I also love her partner, Lane. I would read them again and again and again.

Yeah, I really loved this book and I’m so on board for the next book featuring these characters!

*ARC Provided via Net Galley

Was this review helpful?

Exactly the kind of thriller I needed to distract me from this pandemic.

I have loved every one of Charlie Donlea’s books and this is now my new favorite.

Now it’s time to go back to the beginning and read them all over again.

Five very enthusiastic stars!

Was this review helpful?

Westmont Prep is an elite boarding school in Indiana. There is a secret society that only a few students are asked to join. They mostly play harmless pranks but one year it went to far and culminated in the death of two students. The chemistry teacher was to blame and the case closed. That is until a year later students are returning to the scene of the crime and committing suicide in the very same spot.
This story had me hooked from the first chapter. I loved seeing characters from the author's previous books make an appearance in this book. I highly recommend this thriller.
Thank you to NetGalley and the Publisher for a copy of this book for review.

Was this review helpful?

There are certain things in life I can count on: the NY Jets not winning the super bowl, a thunderstorm right after I wash my car, and a 5 star book from author Charlie Donlea! The Suicide House is another crazy story that will hook you and keep you guessing right through the final pages. Westmont Prep school is the setting for this thriller, where a long-time urban legend gathers several students in an abandoned house on campus for an initiation into a secret society. The scene turns grizzly, and soon involves Rory, a cold-case expert who was introduced in the last book. The chapters bounce between the time of the event one year ago and present day, and seemingly unrelated pieces of the puzzle all come together. Masterfully told, with some characters that fans will recognize returning and playing important roles. This is a fast-paced read with lots of turns and suspense, and the pages will fly by. You will not be disappointed.
I received an ARC of this book from the publisher through @NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

Students attending Westmont Prep school are expected to live up to high academic and behavioral standards. It’s only natural that they’s look for a way to blow off steam, and they find that in an abandoned house in the woods surrounding the school. It’s a place to hang out, goof off and do any number of forbidden things. There’s only one rule – never let your candle go out or the Man in the Mirror will get you. It’s been a year since two students were killed there and a teacher convicted of the killings, but there are still questions. Predominately, why students are now using the old house as a spot to commit suicide. Enter a couple working on a podcast about the phenomenon, who soon learn a deadly h=game is being played at Westmont……

Was this review helpful?

As excited as I was for this one, it just felt like it tried to do too much. The concept was intriguing, and drew me in, but the execution wasn't on point with Donlea's other work. The ending didn't work for me; it wrapped up too nicely and didn't seem to fit the rest of the story. The constant switching between character POV and story timeline also got confusing; this seemed to include too many characters and POVs to keep my attention.

That being said, and this was an issue I had in Donlea's previous book (I've read all his work and usually love them), was the constant unnecessary repetition of random details, namely the beer brand Rory drinks and her boots. At one point, the beer was mentioned three different times on the same page. It's almost as if I'm being asked to remember these details about her character more than the intriguing work she does; I know she is meant to be quirky, but I *really* don't need her beer preference every other page.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Despite having mixed feelings about this book, I look forward to Donlea's next work.

Was this review helpful?