The Half Burnt House, Alex North

The Half Burnt House opening lines: ‘If you could see the future’, Sam asked her, ‘would you want to?’ It was the end of the school day and they were sitting outside the sixth-form building.

The Half Burnt House

My blurb:

The future really is shaped by the past. Michael Hyde is the perfect person to commit a heinous crime, and the end result affects Chris’s life forever. On the streets, taking drugs, has he really been saved from a fate worse than death? Twice his life is turned around by what appears to be random events. But what if they were written in the past, and can he change his future?

The Half Burnt House
Katie always prided herself on being a responsible big sister – until she left her brother Chris alone for one selfish afternoon, and everything fell apart. Although he survived the attack, the scars ran deep – physical, and emotional. Now they’re adults, and they haven’t spoken in years.
Then she gets a call – from a detective. A body has been found in a sprawling mansion – one that remains half-ruined by a decades-old fire. Chris is the prime suspect.
Katie knows this might be her last, best chance to save her brother. But she doesn’t realise that this isn’t the first murder – and so she doesn’t know how much danger she’s in…
My verdict:

This book had twists and turns you could not have predicted. I was really kept on the edge of my seat trying to guess who was who. And how everything tied together. There were a lot of strings and I felt all but one was neatly dealt with. The sudden end makes me hope there will be a follow on. A really good read that should be added to your list of books to buy.

Read an extract:

‘If you could see the future,’ Sam asked her, ‘would you want to?’

It was the end of the school day and they were sitting outside the sixth-form building. There was a roundabout there with a stone edge and a circle of flower beds in the centre, and Sam and Katie met there every afternoon at the end of lessons. They were seventeen years old. As teenagers do, they sat and gossiped. They complained about her parents.

They asked each other questions.

If you could see the future, would you want to?

Katie thought about that. It was exactly the kind of question that had made her fall in love with Sam in the first place, but in that moment it made her uneasy. Sam was handsome and charismatic – full of talent and ambition – and for some unfathomable reason he seemed to be in love with her as well. That made her happy, of course, but she was also frightened of losing him. Next year they would both be going away to different universities, and that upcoming separation felt like a

threat looming on the horizon.

What was going to happen to them then?

‘Katie?’ Sam prompted.

‘I don’t know.’

read more

Publishing information:
ISBN 9780241438138
Format Trade Paperback
Published May 2023

Penguin Random House South Africa sent me this novel to review.

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