Thomas Brogan is a serial killer, and he has nowhere left to hide. At least until he finds an abandoned house at the end of a terrace on a quiet street. And when he discovers that he can access three other houses through the attic space, the real fun begins. Because the one thing that Brogan enjoys even more than killing, is playing games with his victims. And his new neighbours have more than enough dark secrets to make this game his best one yet…
Hi and welcome to my review of The Resident!
First of all, if you live in a terraced house, PLEASE go check whether every little part of your house is sealed off from the neighbours’, including the attic. Go on, do it now, I’ll wait!
The Resident is one of the simplest books I’ve ever read in terms of characters and setting. There are four terraced houses and their residents, two couples and one elderly lady, and there is a serial killer house-hopping from one house to another via the attic, as the dividing walls don’t reach the roofline. I don’t know if that’s even possible construction-wise, but it sure as hell is a very creepy thought!
And that right there is the magic of The Resident. Its power lies in the plausibility of the improbability: it’s highly improbable that there’s someone living in our attic BUT when you think it through it is somehow plausible for most of us. Like the residents, most of us are away from home for most of the day. We’ve all wondered: wait, I thought there was some leftover curry in the freezer / more bread in the bread bin / more cereal in the box / more apples in the larder, and we dismiss it, we must be mistaken, or our partner / kids / housemates must have taken it, but what if we’re not and they haven’t…
The serial killer in question, Brogan, just wanted to get off the streets, breaking into an abandoned house. However, on closer inspection, he notices that lazy construction allows him to sneak into the three other houses of the terrace, houses that have food to eat and people to watch… You know what, tonight before you go to bed? Count your bananas. Just. Count them.
Brogan spends a lot of time on his own, waiting for the residents to leave their houses so he can sneak downstairs and have a bite to eat, among other things. The storytelling at that point could have easily gone wrong, but Brogan has this inner dialogue that keeps the story going. Is he off his rocker? Well, as he’s a serial killer he probably won’t win the Sanest Person in Neighbourhood Award any time soon, but the dialogue thing? Heavens, I don’t know which of him I found the scariest.
The Resident plays on our fear of having our safe haven invaded, of being watched without us even realising. Despite the simplest of settings and the few characters, David Jackson takes the reader on a riveting ride that I thoroughly enjoyed, and the only little gripe I have is that the finale was over too soon, my mind couldn’t handle the change in pace, but I’m sure that says more about me than about the story 😬 If you’re looking for a suspenseful thriller to read over the summer, you can’t go wrong with The Resident!
The Resident is out on 16 July, you can pre-order here. Huge thanks to Viper Books and NetGalley for the e-ARC! All opinions are my own.