Saturday 13 September 2014

REVIEW: The Doll's House, by Louise Phillips


Genre: Thriller, Suspense

Recommend: Yes/No

Criminal psychologist, Kate Pearson, is called upon for her help on a murder in Dublin city centre, where the victim was brutally stabbed and then drowned in the canal. Another murder follows in similar style and Kate and her team aren't any closer to stopping the killer.

Meanwhile, Clodagh McKay is battling with her own demons. A recovering alcoholic in an abusive marriage, coping with the death of her mother, whom she had no bond with, and having driven away her own daughter, Clodagh takes matters into her own hands and attends a hypnotist. With his help, Clodagh regresses and attempts to uncover the secrets of her family and childhood, unaware the danger she is surrounding herself in. 

Her father supposedly committed suicide thirty-five years ago, and now men in his circle are turning up dead, and Clodagh wonders how she is connected to them.

My Thoughts:
Red Ribbons was a huge success for me and I was excited to be reading Phillip's next novel. I had hoped to have enjoyed it just as much but unfortunately it was a let down to my expectations. 
Still judging the book in its own right, I couldn't ignore the details or aspects that hindered my love for this novel. 

  • POV; I normally enjoy the switching of the POV but I felt the sudden but brief changes didn't work out as well. So many of the chapters were only 2 pages long and the snippets of info (sometimes pointless) got lost too easily. 

  • Clodagh; gahhhh, I wanted to like her, I wanted to feel sorry for her but I really couldn't. I don't like giving criticism without being constructive but I can't pinpoint what was missing from her character description that caused my lack of sympathy, but something was. Her regression sessions were also drawn out way too long. The effort to build suspense with the dolls and the doll's house and Clodagh's hesitance, failed. Towards the end I was skimming her sessions as they were too repetitive and not engaging. (I understand IRL hypnotism sessions would be long and a slow process but for a mystery novel there needed to be a faster pace.)

  • Pace; the pace of this novel started off very well, the changing of POV's were all well done. After 50% though this fell apart. I felt at times it was being rushed to get points in and then slowing down again as if remembering to build suspense. Was bearable for the most part but I felt at the end everything got windswept in an effort to close up the plot twist.

  • Setting; I loved the setting of this book. Irish author and realistic setting in Dublin with references to places around town and the suburbs. The choosing of a real setting and map plan brings the story to life rather than an unclear imagined setting that holds no presence.
The novel overall was still very good though. The insight into Kate's life makes her character come to life and more human as we see her life beyond her career. There are both minor and major plot twists, some of which are integral to the story, others which don't hold much importance. 

I would still recommend this novel to anyone that loves thrillers and mystery. There is a solid story-line with twists and turns and I look forward to reading Phillips' next book.