E Book 1st February Paperback Black Swan ( Imprint of Penguin) 31st May 2018
He has the key to hundreds of houses. Maybe even yours.
William Heming is an estate agent. He’s kept a copy of every key to every house he’s ever sold.
Sometimes he visits them.
He lets himself in when the owners are out. But what will happen if he gets caught?
What will he do next?
I loved the premise of this book as soon as I saw it and was delighted to have the opportunity to read an early copy.
Written in the first person narrative William Heming tells his story, in a cold and factual manner which generates an overall sinister vibe. This is a man who over a long period working as an estate agent has amassed a huge number of keys to properties, which he subsequently visits. Sometimes for breakfast when he knows the owners are out, or to ‘house sit’ during vacations. By visiting and monitoring people he knows their movements and in this way accesses their lives. At times his motivation is admirable, the man who damaged an elderly lady’s car, drove off and denied any involvement experiences numerous problems with his home, eventually moving out. The woman’s car is mysteriously repaired. However William is an obsessive type, best described I think as a Psychopath, willing to right wrongs when it suits but largely driven by his own motivations and no obvious empathy. In telling his story we see these traits were evident in childhood and his behaviour, voyeuristic, stalkerish and intrusive have matured with him.
This book almost reads as a journal, although not written in that way, and in this sense it is slow paced, with an emphasis on the development of William’s character, multifaceted and complex. A story of obsession and murder, that builds slowly as I imagine obsessions do.
At under 300 pages this is a relatively quick read and entertaining throughout. It was fun being in William’s head, his behaviour is outrageous and he seeks not to justify it in anyway. The detail of this book is in the behaviour, the thrill of observing, not getting caught and this creates a certain amount of intrigue. Whilst reading I was curious to find out how it ends, does our narrator get caught? or not.
Entertaining fiction encompassing interesting characters and a great plot. A slow burn of a read, no rollercoasters but a great story, creepy and sinister, with some jaw dropping shockers. Leaving the reader with the question, ‘Who has a key to my house’ hovering in the back of their mind!
‘Wonderfully creepy… a deeply unsettling and original hero.’ Rosamund Lupton, author of Sister.
‘Very clever. A creepily alluring voice’. Julia Crouch