The Devil's Staircase - Helen Fitzgerald

Genre: Thriller
Synopsis: Bronny, a young Australian, finds herself down and out in London. She's a sweet girl who has spent her teenage years in a fearful, cautious bubble. She's never taken drugs, had sex or killed anyone. Within six weeks she's done all three. A group of backpackers break into an abandoned London townhouse seeking a rent-free life of debauchery. They don't realise someone's already there: a terrified woman bound and gagged in the basement. The Devil's Staircase combines a chick-lit voice and a dark crime noir environment. Not for the faint-hearted, The Devil's Staircase is funny, sexy and disturbing - it will keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish.


Review: During my October reading slump, I decided to pick up yet another Helen Fitzgerald. My third or fourth this year, Helen is rapidly becoming a regular go-to for a reliable fix of thrillers. This one moves a little differently than her previous ones. A significant portion of the novel is focused around the actual drama facing Bronny, who has run away to London, and the people she encounters there. All of the characters were pretty interesting, even if the relatively good fortune of Bronny's situation in finding a safe space and people willing to help out is a little difficult to believe. I enjoyed it, but I did find myself starting to wonder if this novel was going to be a radical departure from her other books.

Nope. Once it kicks in, it *really* kicks in. This might be the most violent and depraved material I've read by Helen yet. I'm impressed! I'm also impressed by the recurring theme of strong, but not flawless, female characters in her work. Seriously though. I don't know where the author gets this stuff from, but it is absolutely brutal. As is the ending, actually.

I didn't find this the easiest of her books to read; I'm not sure why, it was very very good. Might just have been my lack of reading mojo, so I'm not going to take any marks off for that. I am taking a mark off for the extended teen runaway drama at the beginning - it was good, but it wasn't what I was looking for in this novel. Not sure I'd agree with the 'funny/sexy' assessment of the synopsis. All the same, a solid installment in Helen's work, not to be missed.

Rating: 4/5

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