Cover Image: Puzzle House: A Novel

Puzzle House: A Novel

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Member Reviews

Big fan of Duncan Ralston - Loved Woom (I am a weirdo!) and enjoyed Skin Flicks - so was super excited for this!!! AND IT DID NOT DISAPPOINT!!! I love escape room-ish kind of stories, so the puzzles to solve were fun!! Watch your trigger warnings! But the story is fast paced, with some fun characters from varying walks of life! Watch them 'compete' for the prize. Clever storyline I recommend!

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This was a pretty good puzzle/escape room mystery novel. Although I didn't really enjoy it because I couldn't quite get a feel for the characters they were too one dimensional and cookie cut out in my opinion. But, the story and concept was there and it made it a bit enjoyable. I just couldn't really immerse myself into it.

Thank you Wicked House Publishing and Netgalley for an early copy in exchange for an honest review.

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This book had me at an escape room meets Saw. It was such a great book and a fun read. I cant wait until the next book drops to see what happens.

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3.5 Stars ~

After reading Woom a few years ago, and seeing this on NetGalley I knew I had to request an ARC. Although time got away from me and this has been out for some months, I am happy I got to give it a read.

Just imagine that the movies ‘Escape Room’ and ‘Saw’ had a baby and then that baby grew up and had a baby with the book with the baby of the books ‘The Inheritance Games’ and ‘Hide’ had a baby and the result was this book.

I know I could think of many other place I would rather be, but characters in this book think they are attending the reading of a will by the famous puzzle maker Alexei Vasiliev, in which some of them have never met.
Although, this couldn’t be further from the truth of what is in store, and the characters have to do the unthinkable in an attempt to survive.

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This was a very twisted and gruesome tale. Not necessarily my cuppa tea, but those who are fans of horror/mystery would definitely appreciate it.

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Six strangers, and a chance to win $150M, a puzzle house.The recipe to a great thriller and mystery. A very short but engaging read where six strangers converge at a dead billionaires house, at the reading of his will. Alas these strangers do not know each other and only one of them actually knew the man. However these six strangers won't easily have a gab at the money, they will have to prove themselves.

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Incredible read by a fantastic author. It was like being immersed in the best horror movie I hadn’t seen

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Actual rating of 3.5

Six strangers are approached and invited to puzzle master Alexei Vasiliev's will reading. Once they walk through the door of the mansion, they are given a choice. Play the game, solve the puzzles and potentially walk away with millions. Or leave the way they came, no questions asked. The only thing is, they all have to agree on which choice to make. All of them have secrets, all of them could use the money, but how were all of them chosen? The participants soon discover that the escape rooms have far deadlier consequences to failure than they first thought. Add to that, it seems like someone is watching them, toying with them, attempting to turn them against each other. Is this just some pointless, deadly game, created by a sadist? Or is there something more going on?

I was super excited for this one when I first saw it on Netgalley. The cover and the title drew my attention instantly. As you all know, I've been on a huge horror kick for like two years now. It's my favourite genre, and always has been. I guess that's what happens when you cut your reading teeth on Goosebumps as a 5-year-old.

The story started and jumped around a little between characters, which was fine. There are a small cast of characters that we follow throughout the story, so getting to know them was important. A couple I gravitated towards more than others, and I was rooting for a couple of them, the others I didn't really mind if they died along the way. It was a little odd for me as it's a multi-character story, but it almost felt like Alexei's widow was the lead character once the story moved into the house, I don't know why this sat weird with me, but it did. I found her a little bit irksome as everything she encountered brought her back to a part she'd played in a movie, a character she'd played and their profession or experience. The characters had interesting back stories and it was interesting seeing how it all came together and why they were all there. I enjoyed the character of the history professor, his knowledge was great, and I loved the information that it brought into the story itself. I loved the ancient religions and cultures that the story was based around. I did really like the prisoner; I enjoyed his character and his backstory. And I took a liking to the doctor as well. I'm not sure why, these three characters just endeared themselves to me pretty early on.

The story itself initially ran a bit slow as everything was being set up, and we were meeting the characters. Once they get to the house, the pacing picks up a lot and it had given me Cube and Saw vibes, which I love. Cube is a movie that I feel is severely underrated and needs more exposure even though it's considered old now. Nothing beats the urgency of life and death, locked in a room where you have to work out how to not die. Add to that a cast of characters that don't know each other at all, and distrust each other, and it makes for a riveting story. I did feel that the rooms themselves felt a little bit rushed, but I also understand that when they're running on a timer, there's only so long you can drag it out before everyone dies, and before it gets tedious and boring. I feel like Ralston did an awesome job at writing a horror story like this because it's very easy for it to fall into a repetitive and tedious pattern, for me, it didn't.

I was a little surprised at the way the story went, I wasn't expecting what ended up transpiring, which is always a huge bonus. It turned from a small, isolated horror into something bigger which was great. I'm wondering if Ralston is looking at continuing the story or whether he's leaving it how it is. The story definitely closed out, but there's room here for it to be continued if that's the route the author goes down.

All in all, it was an enjoyable story, not for the faint of heart as there is violence and gore described on page. I think I was expecting something a bit different, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. I think I had in my head what I was looking for and this story gave me something that was mostly different from that, hence my lower rating. If you're looking for a fun romp through life and death situations with an eclectic cast of characters, some of which you won't mind losing along the way. Give this one a go, it's definitely unique, I can say that I haven't read anything like it before. It turned into something bigger than I thought it would, and if there happens to be a sequel, I'll definitely pick it up because I'm interested to see what would happen next. The pacing does jump around a fair bit, and a lot of page time for most of the book was given to a character that I liked well enough, but she irked me.

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Puzzle House felt like reading a fun mash up of The Inheritance Games and the movie Escape Room up until the end. The turn from murder mystery puzzle/escape house to whatever that wild ending was ruined the fun of the book. Upon further rumination I decided I didn't much care for the characters either tbh. I really enjoyed Woom so I will definitely be reading more from this author!

Thanks to NetGalley, the author and Wicked House Publishing for this early digital copy of Puzzle House by Duncan Ralston in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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I really enjoyed this book! It definitely gave me Saw vibes which is my favorite horror movie franchise. The author did a good job of making you feel for the main character, even though he is a prisoner and a murderer. The ending is a bit of a cliffhanger but that didn’t bother me.

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"Puzzle House" by Duncan Ralston was an entertaining 4-star read.

Six strangers are beckoned to the home of Alexei Vasiliev, a world-renowned puzzle master, for the reading of his will. The task is quite simple: complete his puzzle for a share of his $150 million fortune. However, as soon as the front door closes, it becomes clear that this challenge is much deadlier than any of these six individuals could have expected. Someone is watching their every move, toying with them, and turning them against each other.

I enjoyed most of this story. You get to know some of the characters, and their background stories are interesting. The gory details of how they were punished and then killed were gripping. Where this story lost a star for me was the ending. The conclusion felt like it didn’t quite fit with the rest of the book. Overall, though, the story was great, and I would definitely recommend it. I will be looking to read more from this publisher and from Duncan Ralston.

Thanks to Wicked House Publishing, Duncan Ralston, and NetGalley for providing me with the opportunity to delve into this ARC and share my honest review.

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Thank you to netgalley and the publisher for allowing me to read this book.

This is my 2nd book from this author and while it's a different style from the first one that I read I still enjoyed it. I enjoyed the pacing and the anxiety given each time they entered a new room. The ending could have been a little better but overall enjoyed it.

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If you are a fan of movies like Saw, then you are in for a treat with this book. It is gory, and it keeps you on the edge of your seat.

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If YOU are a lover of the Saw series, this book is for you! This author always comes through with not only a good story, but the shock value as well! Highly recommend!

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This book haunts me. From the visuals to the characters… everything was so beautifully spelled out it played like a movie in my head as I read it. The absolute heartache and horror this book evokes was unexpected. With a healthy dollop of terror and angst, this book was impossible to push out of mind. I found myself constantly thinking about what was going to happen next until I was able to read more. I lived in this book and I hope we will see more from this mega talented author.

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This was a really good read. I thought this book was going to be one way and it actually turned out way different than I anticipated. I really enjoyed the plot twists and all of the characters and how things ended up fitting into place. I don’t wanna give away any spoilers so I’ll just say you have to read it for yourself to see why I liked it so much. This book is definitely not what you think it is which is a good thing.

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i do not know why i waited so long to enjoy a duncan ralston book but never again. this book was giving the movie saw but better because books are better than the movies right! the rooms were so descriptive i was imagining being in there shoes what i would do

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What a great read! Going into this story I had very little ideas what I was getting myself into. I was hoping to find a "Cube" like plotline filled with brutal death scenes and little to no hope for escape. What I got was way better! A group of strangers find themselves in the predicament with a chance to take home a large estate... if only they can defeat the late World's Greatest Puzzle Master's last and mightiest puzzles. This book reminded me of Saw 5 which is a huge compliment as Saw 5 is hands down the best of the sequels. It was less extreme compared to my last Ralston read, so readers be warned this is not shock horror, though I wouldn't say this is for the faint of heart either. I already purchased my home library a copy of this puzzling tale!

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This book is probably the wildest escape room thriller/horror I've read in that the characters agree to subject themself to these insane puzzles. Needless to say, the puzzle rooms are different from what they expected. This book could have been longer and I would've kept reading.

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Escape room horror? Sign me up. This was a ton of fun to read, albeit it far from perfect. It was creepy, gory, violent, and had a lot of aspects of horror that I love to read. This was my first read by Duncan Ralston, and it will not be my last!

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