“How many times can someone bend before they break forever?”
Ted – a man who is large and stature, has no friends, and lives in the house where he grew up. Ted clearly has some form of mental illness and suffers from blackouts or fugue states, sometimes for days at a time. He is troubled that these are happening more and more frequently… He loves watching monster trucks on TV, making up unique recipes (chocolate chicken curry) and his cat, Olivia. He does not feel physical pain.
“In one way I am very lonely, and in another I’ve got more company than I can handle.”
Olivia – is mostly black, with a white stripe down her belly. She prefers quiet environments, being stroked, reading the Bible, and of course, cardboard boxes. Olivia’s coping strategy: “Anyway the trick to life is, if you don’t like what is happening, go back to sleep until it stops.”
Lauren – Ted’s daughter. She is a teenager who only lives with Ted part time. Dee – is in her mid twenties. Eleven years ago, when she was a teenager, her younger sister Lulu was abducted from a lakeside beach. Now she is determined to find out her sister’s fate.
“There was a time when Dee would have thought that missing was better than dead, but the long years have taught her better.”
“Ted’s house smells strongly of vegetable soup and old, used-up air. If sorrow had a scent, this is what it would be like.”
What a wild ride! Anyone who enjoys original thrillers with unreliable narrators have hit the mother-lode with this novel. You get four for the price of one!
The nature of the plot makes it almost impossible to review the book without giving too much away. On that note, this review is going to be short and sweet. Just let it be said that this novel has myriad plot twists, and it deals with how the human mind finds different ways to deal with pain, fear, and emotional distress.
I can understand that this would not be to everyone’s taste. The cat co-narrator, the dark subject matter, the unreliability of all the narrators. Yet, somehow, I loved it! “The Last House on Needless Street” is probably one of the most unique, original, twisted, and riveting reads I’ve had for quite some time.
Follow Catriona Ward on Twitter @CatrionaWard