The Other Side of the Wall

Genre: Thriller
Synopsis: When Sylvia looks out her bedroom window at night and sees a child face down in the pond next door, she races into her neighbour's garden. But the pond is empty, and no-one is answering the door. Wondering if night feeds and sleep deprivation are getting to her, she hurriedly retreats. Besides, the fact that a local child has gone missing must be preying on her mind. Then, a week later, she hears the sound of a man crying through her bedroom wall. The man living next door, Sam, has recently moved in. His wife and children are away for the summer and he joins them at weekends. Sylvia finds him friendly and helpful, yet she becomes increasingly uneasy about him. Then Sylvia's little daughter wakes one night, screaming that there's a man in her room. This is followed by a series of bizarre disturbances in the house. Sylvia's husband insists it's all in her mind, but she is certain it's not - there's something very wrong on the other side of the wall.


Review: I picked this one up because I noticed it's set in Ireland, which is always a treat for me. It's actually a surprisingly good book. For a significant portion of the book we're following blocks of narrative, first from Sylvia, and then a really long block from Kate, with a sprinkling of Sam. There are also two or three different childhood recollection chapters from different characters, and chapters from a mysterious 'woman' and her 'husband'. This borders on confusing for about half the novel (as you can well imagine), and I also found myself flicking ahead during Kate's block to see if the story would even return to Sylvia, or if that was some oddly long introduction to the family next door.

However, everything does actually come together really well. The characters are sufficiently fleshed out (for the most part, I did get confused by whose parents were whose a bit in the childhood flashbacks). So it is easy enough recall their stories and the events they're experiencing, and when the light bulb moment comes, it does all make sense. Now, the villain's motive is a little difficult to believe, but then isn't that almost always the case with thrillers? What I would say makes this one different is that the there is a pretty clever twist and enough substance to make the incredible reason a little more credible.

My only complain is that one thread of the novel is completely distinct from the rest of the book, and makes for a very unnecessarily confusing moment at the end of the novel. It could have been left out entirely, but in fairness not so much time was spent on it as to make it sufficiently detrimental to the rest of the book.

Rating: 4/5

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