LISTENING TO: 'The Last House on Needless Street' by Catriona Ward
'The Last House on Needless Street' was such a trippy experience, it almost defies explanation. There is almost nothing I can say about this book that won't on some level give it away. So I'll recount the plot ... or what one thinks the plot is: DeeDee is mourning the loss of her younger sister Lulu, who went missing during a family holiday at a lake. It's been a decade and she still can't get over it. Her sister's disappearance not only fractured their family of four, but resulted in her mother leaving home, her father dying an early death and DeeDee having to sacrifice her dreams of becoming a dancer.
Since then, DeeDee has spent her life on a fruitless search for likely suspects in the crime of having taken her sister, to no avail. Until she stumbles across one more promising candidate, Ted Bannerman, who lives on Needless Street, cloistered in his home with only his cat and his never-seen-outside daughter. Deciding that because of his proximity to the lake, a long-ago coincidence involving the street where Ted lives, and the fact that he fits a particular profile, DeeDee moves in next door to watch Ted. So sure is she that he took her sister, she's willing to risk everything to expose him.
In the meantime, Ted ... well ...let's just say that DeeDee isn't wrong. Something very, very strange is happening in the last house on Needless Street.
I listened to this one, and while it was confounding at times, I never considered abandoning it. Not only because the narrator was stellar---effortlessly switching the genders, tones, ages and attitudes of the characters without sounding campy---but because the psychological suspense was unmatched. Much of the book happens in the characters' interiors, but nevertheless, it felt action-packed. And as happens with the best suspense writers, details are fed to you piecemeal so that while you may suspect that they are clues, you have no idea clues to what. When all the answers are revealed, I defy you to say you saw it coming. But I will say though, that this is very much a focused reading experience. If you blink, you may miss the real clinchers.
Great author. Truly original delivery of a concept. Will I read more by her? Sure. When I have the stamina to go through something like this again.