Puzzle House: A Novel by Duncan Ralston

Puzzle House: A Novel by Duncan Ralston


Posted 2023-11-23 by Jennifer Muirheadfollow

When the master puzzle maker, Alexei Vasiliev, dies, six people are summoned to his house for the reading of his will. First there is Alexei's widow, Joy, a Hollywood star who was already in the process of divorcing him. Then there is a former police officer and convicted murderer, accompanied by a prison guard, an archaeology professor, a senator and a doctor, all of who have been lured here with the promise of a share in $150 million dollars. The catch is that to get the money they must solve a series of puzzles and will remain trapped inside the house until they do.

Puzzle House is a gruesome thriller by Duncan Ralston, the author of Woom and the Ghostland trilogy. It's sort of like Escape Room (the 2019 film) meets Saw, and also reminds me of Dangerous Game: The Legacy Murders . The plot is pretty far fetched, but if you can suspend disbelief long enough it's worth reading to the end.

This novel has better puzzles than The Da Vinci Code, with a decent amount of variety, involving maths, science, history and mythology. There is a decent amount of depth to at least some of the characters, although I'd advise not getting too attached to any of them. That brings me to the horror elements. There are deaths, some grislier than others but nothing that would put the average horror reader off their dinner, plus the dread that comes of being trapped in an unfamiliar and dangerous place with a bunch of strangers.

There is a twist that I didn't see coming, leading to a strange, open ending, so if you prefer stories where everything is wrapped up neatly this book might annoy you.

Puzzle House is a well-paced, gripping horror thriller. It will appeal to horror fans who like puzzles and don't want really disgusting death scenes.

Disclaimer: I was given a complimentary copy of this book by Wicked House Publishing, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

Published: September 2023

More book reviews by Jennifer Muirhead:

You're Next
Day Men
The Gentleman's Guide To Vice and Virtue
City of Broken Magic
Five Little Words

267666 - 2023-10-31 02:02:26


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