The Suicide House is the first book I’ve read or even heard of by Charlie Donlea. I would be lying if I said that I didn’t request it on NetGalley because of the cover. It is just beautiful! You might have seen me continue to post it in my Instagram story. That’s because I just love seeing it. The red ivy over the blue windowpane is a striking contrast, and then you notice the dark figure in the background. I think I’d definitely take notice of this in a bookstore and want to grab it.
Set in a prestigious prep school in Indiana, The Suicide House tells the story of what happened on one summer solstice evening in 2019. Two students from the school were brutally murdered. And more students that participated in the covert secret society they were a part of keep committing suicide since then. What really happened at the abandoned “suicide house” in the woods near Westmont Preparatory High School in Peppermill? TV personality Mack Carter has started a podcast to find out.
Ok, I just can’t go much farther without saying that I absolutely loved this book. I almost feel like it was written just for me. I loved absolutely everything about it. The setting, in a prep school with a secret society, is right up my alley. When I find a thriller with a setting like that, it intrigues me, and I will likely add it to my reading list immediately. I love secret societies! And The Suicide House did not disappoint. Plus, it takes place in Indiana, where I’m from. The author lives in Chicago, and it shows. He references things like the Indianapolis Star and O’Hare Airport. Being a native Hoosier who often travelled to Chicago, it was all very familiar to me, and I loved the references. Plus, it even involves a trip to southwest Florida where I lived for two years – even more familiarity on my end.
I also loved the characters. Rory Moore was a personal favorite. I found myself heavily relating to her quirks and even her personality a bit. Relating to a character always makes any book more of a joy to read. Plus, she knows her beer! A dark, introverted detective girl who wears combat boots, a beanie, and drinks really good beer. See what I mean about this book being written just for me? I do need to talk to Charlie Donlea and see who supplies his Dark Lord, though. How does this girl get so much of it?
Now, let’s talk about the story. This was for sure a very twisty psychological thriller. The book jumps back and forth a bit between characters, even from the viewpoint of unknown characters. I’ve read reviews that say it tries to do too much, but I disagree. You dive deeper into some of the characters than others, and I liked getting to know more of their personalities. For the other characters, I think it just goes deep enough to pull you into the story. It definitely kept me guessing until very close to the end. As I read it, a lot of questions came up that I was dying to know the answer to (good or bad choice of word there?). Not only do you wonder exactly who the killer is, you find yourself wondering exactly what all went on that night.
One more thing to note, while this book sometimes shows up as “Book 2” about Rory Moore and Lane Phillips, it actually functions as a standalone. There’s a note by the author at the end of how each of his books has little sprinklings in them from other books. So if you are interested in reading more about Rory and Lane, you can (and I will!). But it’s not actually a series. And I love that.
All in all, this book had just the right amount of psychological twists and turns in it. It was a great read for me, and I found myself wanting to finish it but not finish it. I just didn’t quite want it to end! I know I mentioned four top books in my last post, but I think this one would round it out to five. Looking forward to checking out more of Charlie Donlea’s work, especially more stories of Rory and Lane. This book comes out TODAY, and if you’re into psychological thrillers, I highly recommend grabbing a copy.