Review: The Suicide House (Rory Moore/Lane Phillips #2) by Charlie Donlea

Print Length: 368 pages
Publisher: Harlequin Historical (July 28, 2020)

From  A chilling murder in a prestigious prep school is at the heart of this riveting new novel from acclaimed author Charlie Donlea, featuring forensic reconstructionist Rory Moore and her psychologist partner, Lane Phillips.

Inside the walls of Indiana's elite Westmont Preparatory High School, expectations run high and rules are strictly enforced. But in the woods beyond the manicured campus and playing fields sits an abandoned boarding house that is infamous among Westmont's students as a late-night hangout. Here, only one rule applies: don't let your candle go out--unless you want the Man in the Mirror to find you. . . .

One year ago, two students were killed there in a grisly slaughter. The case has since become the focus of a hit podcast, The Suicide House. Though a teacher was convicted of the murders, mysteries and questions remain. The most urgent among them is why so many students who survived that horrific night have returned to the boarding house--to kill themselves.

Rory, an expert in reconstructing cold cases, is working on The Suicide House podcast with Lane, recreating the night of the killings in order to find answers that have eluded the school, the town, and the police. But the more they learn about the troubled students, the chillingly stoic culprit, and a dangerous game gone tragically wrong, the more convinced they become that something sinister is still happening. Inside Westmont Prep, the game hasn't ended. It thrives on secrecy and silence. And for its players, there may be no way to win--or to survive. . . .


My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

The premise of this novel was unique and there was an overall creepiness that started from the first page and managed to continue on throughout different parts of this story. It was that creepy factor and the unexpected twists this story took that kept me glued to its pages and staying up way too late at night to finish it. I especially enjoyed all the excerpts we got from the killer's point-of-view (and their journal entries OH MY GOODNESS WERE SO GOOD) - although as some others have mentioned the POV does bounce around a bit and it takes some time in the beginning to get used to not only the changing viewpoints, but the bouncing between past and present. 

Where this one lost me was in the constant repetition of unimportant details. Case in point - how many times do we need to hear about Rory's "Madden Girl Eloisee combat boots"? It wouldn't surprise me if it was at least a dozen times that this tidbit was mentioned. Also I get it Rory's mind doesn't work the way a "normal" person's mind works. It's this quirkiness that makes her so good at her job because it allows her to see things other people miss. Again - I did not need to be reminded of this fact every couple of chapters. 

Also for those of you who have also read this novel - can we talk about that ending in a non-spoiler way? I mean what the heck!? All of that build-up. All of those secrets and THAT IS HOW IT ENDED?!?! *sighs loudly*

Despite those things - this was a thoroughly enjoyable novel and I would read more from this author if I saw their name come up again. 

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.

                                The Suicide House is available from

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