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An Apple Books Best of the Month Selection A Publishers Weekly Summer Reads 2020 Editors’ Pick A Library Journal “12 Novels Featuring Protagonists on the Autism Spectrum” Selection From #1 International Bestseller Charlie Donlea—A chilling murder in a prestigious prep school is at the heart of this riveting new suspense novel that’s perfect for fans of Lucy Foley and Ruth War An Apple Books Best of the Month Selection A Publishers Weekly Summer Reads 2020 Editors’ Pick A Library Journal “12 Novels Featuring Protagonists on the Autism Spectrum” Selection From #1 International Bestseller Charlie Donlea—A chilling murder in a prestigious prep school is at the heart of this riveting new suspense novel that’s perfect for fans of Lucy Foley and Ruth Ware.Forensic reconstructionist Rory Moore and her psychologist partner, Lane Phillips,must chase down the truth behind the ghastly killings featured on the hit true crime podcast sweeping the nation. Can they uncover the hidden secrets of the school and the psychology of a killer before the next episode airs? 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. . . . “Multiple intertwining story lines keep the pacing brisk and the tension high throughout. But the book’s real strength is the idiosyncratic Rory, who suffers from OCD and is on the autism spectrum, a deeply developed character readers can’t help rooting for. Hopefully, she’ll be back soon.” —Publisher’s Weekly


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An Apple Books Best of the Month Selection A Publishers Weekly Summer Reads 2020 Editors’ Pick A Library Journal “12 Novels Featuring Protagonists on the Autism Spectrum” Selection From #1 International Bestseller Charlie Donlea—A chilling murder in a prestigious prep school is at the heart of this riveting new suspense novel that’s perfect for fans of Lucy Foley and Ruth War An Apple Books Best of the Month Selection A Publishers Weekly Summer Reads 2020 Editors’ Pick A Library Journal “12 Novels Featuring Protagonists on the Autism Spectrum” Selection From #1 International Bestseller Charlie Donlea—A chilling murder in a prestigious prep school is at the heart of this riveting new suspense novel that’s perfect for fans of Lucy Foley and Ruth Ware.Forensic reconstructionist Rory Moore and her psychologist partner, Lane Phillips,must chase down the truth behind the ghastly killings featured on the hit true crime podcast sweeping the nation. Can they uncover the hidden secrets of the school and the psychology of a killer before the next episode airs? 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. . . . “Multiple intertwining story lines keep the pacing brisk and the tension high throughout. But the book’s real strength is the idiosyncratic Rory, who suffers from OCD and is on the autism spectrum, a deeply developed character readers can’t help rooting for. Hopefully, she’ll be back soon.” —Publisher’s Weekly

30 review for The Suicide House

  1. 4 out of 5

    Dita

    A prep school full of secrets, a haunting year old double murder and a rash of suicides among those who survived. What the what is going on?? Naturally a podcast is developed to answer this burning question. When Rory, an expert at reconstructing cold cases, gets involved suddenly there are more questions than answers. I like stories that happen at elite schools and this one held my interest from start to finish. Thank you to Charlie Donlea, Kensington and NetGalley for giving me this ARC in exchan A prep school full of secrets, a haunting year old double murder and a rash of suicides among those who survived. What the what is going on?? Naturally a podcast is developed to answer this burning question. When Rory, an expert at reconstructing cold cases, gets involved suddenly there are more questions than answers. I like stories that happen at elite schools and this one held my interest from start to finish. Thank you to Charlie Donlea, Kensington and NetGalley for giving me this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Meredith

    3.5 stars While a popular podcast focuses on “The Suicide House” at an elite boarding school, a journalist, a forensic reconstructionist, and a profiler, are brought together to piece together a tale of murder, suicide, and a secret society. The Suicide House brings back Rory Moore and Lane Phillips, who were featured in Some Choose Darkness, which I loved! Rory, a forensic reconstructionist, uses her autistic abilities to see what others can’t. Lane analyzes serial killers. Together they solve 3.5 stars While a popular podcast focuses on “The Suicide House” at an elite boarding school, a journalist, a forensic reconstructionist, and a profiler, are brought together to piece together a tale of murder, suicide, and a secret society. The Suicide House brings back Rory Moore and Lane Phillips, who were featured in Some Choose Darkness, which I loved! Rory, a forensic reconstructionist, uses her autistic abilities to see what others can’t. Lane analyzes serial killers. Together they solve the unsolvable. While they play a critical role in this book, they are not featured nearly enough. A lot is going on in this book: there are several mysteries and storylines to keep track of. The mystery of what’s going on at this elite prep school is compelling but gets bogged down by featuring too many characters and POV’s. For this reason, I wasn’t sure quite what I was supposed to be focusing on. I was confused in the beginning, but eventually, all the pieces came together. The pacing is slow, but with having so many characters and storylines to keep track of, I appreciated this aspect. Some parts are also repetitive. With that being said, I still love Rory and Lane. I also enjoyed reading the killer’s journal. I was left with some questions about the killer's motivation in the present and felt that this individual came across a little cartoonish, especially in their final scene. Overall, Charlie Donlea can write. While this book is crammed with too many storylines, characters, and voices, I still felt that this is a well-written thriller. I only wish it capitalized on featuring Rory Moore and Lane Phillips. However, it looks like there is a strong chance we will be seeing them again in the future!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Dita

    A prep school full of secrets, a haunting year old double murder and a rash of suicides among those who survived. What the what is going on?? Naturally a podcast is developed to answer this burning question. When Rory, an expert at reconstructing cold cases, gets involved suddenly there are more questions than answers. I like stories that happen at elite schools and this one held my interest from start to finish. Thank you to Charlie Donlea, Kensington and NetGalley for giving me this ARC in exchan A prep school full of secrets, a haunting year old double murder and a rash of suicides among those who survived. What the what is going on?? Naturally a podcast is developed to answer this burning question. When Rory, an expert at reconstructing cold cases, gets involved suddenly there are more questions than answers. I like stories that happen at elite schools and this one held my interest from start to finish. Thank you to Charlie Donlea, Kensington and NetGalley for giving me this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Debra

    3.5 stars “The Suicide House" is a hit podcast that focuses on the grisly murders of two students at an elite school. Westmont Preparatory School is an elite boarding school where the "secret" society is a known secret. It is tradition. Stunts hope to be chosen to be initiated into the secret society, to go to the hidden cottage in the woods, and survive the Man in the Mirror. A year later the tradition becomes a nightmare as students are dead, a teacher has been blamed and the horrors continue. 3.5 stars “The Suicide House" is a hit podcast that focuses on the grisly murders of two students at an elite school. Westmont Preparatory School is an elite boarding school where the "secret" society is a known secret. It is tradition. Stunts hope to be chosen to be initiated into the secret society, to go to the hidden cottage in the woods, and survive the Man in the Mirror. A year later the tradition becomes a nightmare as students are dead, a teacher has been blamed and the horrors continue. "Something was going on with those kids last year, and it's carried over to today." Pod casts, diary entries, a killer, and Rory Moore and Lane Phillips all rolled up in this book about murder, secrets, mysteries, questions, fear, and suspense. There is a lot going on in this book. There are many characters, several mysteries and subplots going on. I almost took out pen and paper to help me keep track of everything. Sometimes less is more. But at the end of the day (or the end of the book, depending on how you want to look at it), I enjoyed this book. I really enjoy Rory and how she looks at the world and picks up on things that others miss. She is an intriguing character and I was happy to become reacquainted with her. But I wanted more of her and Lane. They are a great pair and an interesting duo; this is where more would have been better. Donlea had a lot going on in this book and I believe that he is using this book as a stepping stone to his next book in this series (I am making an assumption/hoping/wishing/ putting it out into the universe that there will be another book). I am always extremely excited when I see that Donlea has a new book out. I love his writing and how he brings his story-lines full circle. This one took a little bit of work. I would recommend that those who have not read Some Choose Darkness to read that book first. Because (a) It is Awesome (b) it introduces you to Rory and Lane and (c) it showcases Donlea's masterful storytelling and how he builds suspense (d) it's the perfect segue into this book! Plus, Some Choose Darkness is mentioned several times in this book!. In this book, I felt there was too much going on but still enjoyed it and the resolution. Thank you to Kensington Books and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own.

  5. 4 out of 5

    marilyn

    Right before I read Suicide House, I read Some Choose Darkness, which centers around Rory Moore's past and present. She is a very unique character and I'm so glad I had her background from the first book, before I read Suicide House. The author says that he writes the books as stand alones and you can enjoy Suicide House without reading Some Choose Darkness but still, I'd suggest reading Some Choose Darkness, at some point, if you want to know more about Rory Moore and what makes her tick. In Su Right before I read Suicide House, I read Some Choose Darkness, which centers around Rory Moore's past and present. She is a very unique character and I'm so glad I had her background from the first book, before I read Suicide House. The author says that he writes the books as stand alones and you can enjoy Suicide House without reading Some Choose Darkness but still, I'd suggest reading Some Choose Darkness, at some point, if you want to know more about Rory Moore and what makes her tick. In Suicide House, Rory's partner lures her (in the nicest of ways) to an out of the way location, that was the scene of the grisly murders of two teenagers, followed by suicides that may be related to the death of the teenagers. Rory is a forensic reconstructionist and her skills are needed to determine what really happened when the two students were killed and whether later suicides were really suicides. The local law enforcement closed the case quickly since they had evidence that a teacher murdered the students and then later, tried to kill himself. He's now unable to speak or live unassisted, due to his injuries from the suicide attempt.  Prepared to be confused, in a very good way. Suicide House starts with someone reading from his journal, confessing people he has killed and the method he used for each murder. Throughout the book, various timelines are introduced but, often, we don't really know when some parts of the book take place. We also don't always know who one or more people are in some of the timelines or how they might relate to the present day reconstructions that Rory is performing. The atmosphere is very dark and foreboding at both the school and at the old boarding house, behind the school, where the murders took place. I was hooked on the story, from the very beginning and then it just got better and better for me. I look forward to more about Rory and Lane, in future books.  Pub July 28th 2020 Thank you to Kensington/Random House and Edelweiss for this ARC. 

  6. 5 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    When I find out Some Choose Darkness’ sequel finally arrived and I will have another chance to read about the coolest and smartest forensics reconstructionist (let’s say: she is the expert of heating cold cases) Rory Moore and his psychologist partner Lane Philips, I screamed “Hurray” as soon as I saw the book at my virtual NG bookshelf! And the plot was really intriguing. I always love to read about claustrophobic whodunit prep school stories about secret societies, looking in the mirror throu When I find out Some Choose Darkness’ sequel finally arrived and I will have another chance to read about the coolest and smartest forensics reconstructionist (let’s say: she is the expert of heating cold cases) Rory Moore and his psychologist partner Lane Philips, I screamed “Hurray” as soon as I saw the book at my virtual NG bookshelf! And the plot was really intriguing. I always love to read about claustrophobic whodunit prep school stories about secret societies, looking in the mirror throughout their ritual, instead of calling Bloody Mary’s name, they expect to see “man in the mirror”. So spooky and dazzling, right? Westmont Preparatory High School’s great reputation tainted with two brutal murders occurred and scandalized the entire place. After two students’ murders, a teacher is prime suspect, commits suicide but he cannot achieve to kill himself and is hospitalized, in vegetative state. A famous crime blogger Ryder Hillier starts writing about conspiracy theories and a popular podcast host Mark Carter already stole her story and hits ratings hit the roof. And one of the students who was at the crime scene of his other viciously victimized friends decides to end his silence and he wants to confess something important to Mark, sending him coded meeting place. Of course Ryder solves the coded meeting place message faster than him. Both of them arrive at the place and find the boy committed suicide at the train tracks just like the other students and his teacher did. When you read the long plot above, you ask the question yourself: Okay, when is going to our duo get involved with the case? This is the main problem with the book. Because in my opinion, there are too many POVS and too many characters instead of Rory and Lane in this book. We’re going back and forth between timelines and learning more about Westmont’s six students who were together at the eerie murder night. And slowly we find out more about Gwen and Gavin, two students left behind and still alive. Both of them look suspicious and act like they got involved something shady including their friends’ deaths because they’re keeping something secret and they know their teacher wasn’t the killer. We also read Marc McEvoy’s story who was former student of Westmont and he never recovered from getting rejected by the secret society and he knows the ritual times ( shortest and longest days of the year and June 21th is coming up!) He is obsessed to find out the secrets about Man in the mirror, at the cost of lying to his wife, acting like going to business trip and now he is missing. And we’re also reintroduced and welcomed Gus Morelli’s cameo from “Don’t Believe It” novel’s hotshot detective ( now he’s retired, enduring the humid of Florida) And of course we have some flashbacks about Rory’s childhood and the importance of porcelain dolls help her function more normally and adapt in normal life. I felt like I read three different books at the same time. Maybe if it would be a book about the campus murders and podcast host’s killing case solved by crime blogger Ryder Hillier, it would be easier for me to concentrate. But there is also Gus’s cold case story connects with the murders and another missing person’s case. There are so many questions to answer, so many POVS to read and too many characters to connect! Rory Moore hasn’t been involved in the case till the second half of the book. So many times I missed her and Lane because the other characters’ POVS and stories made me question if this was sequel of my favorite characters or if they turned into supportive characters of the story, make cameos like Gus. I think the author’s intention was preparing us to the next books and introducing the new characters. And she wants to connect her main characters from the other books to bring out new cases and new stories. Overall: At the end we got all the answers. There is no plot hole and even though murderer’s identity was predictable, it was great to read his background story and connections between the cases Gus and our favorite duo investigates. But I wish to read easier story with less characters. I still enjoyed and I’m charmed by my favorite duo’s returning back and I’d like to read their upcoming stories as well. But I’m cutting some points and giving 3.5 stars as always rounded up 4! (If it wasn’t for Rory and Lane, it could be three stars because this was exhausting reading!) But I’m so hopeful about conclusion and excited about those sealed boxes! Special thanks to NetGalley and Kensington Books for sharing this ARC with me in exchange my honest review.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kaceey

    This is the fourth book I've read by Charlie Donlea. And sadly it was my least favorite of all his books. What makes it so disappointing is I loved his previous releases. Unfortunately, this one just didn't grab me. Everyone wants to be part of the secret club at the exclusive boarding school. It’s up to the current senior members to approve or deny the Juniors’ acceptance. Once voted in, the initiation process begins. But at what cost? What lengths and sacrifices would you be willing to make to This is the fourth book I've read by Charlie Donlea. And sadly it was my least favorite of all his books. What makes it so disappointing is I loved his previous releases. Unfortunately, this one just didn't grab me. Everyone wants to be part of the secret club at the exclusive boarding school. It’s up to the current senior members to approve or deny the Juniors’ acceptance. Once voted in, the initiation process begins. But at what cost? What lengths and sacrifices would you be willing to make to belong to this club? How far will you take their secrets? Rory and Lane are two characters that I've become quite fond of. I watched them develop through the previous books and looking forward to seeing how their characters would blossom in this latest. But the same magic from this duo fell rather flat. I will continue to be a huge fan of this author and will definitely be reading more of his future work in the future. Just not a match for me this time. A buddy read with Susanne that left us both a bit underwhelmed.🙁 Thank you to NetGalley Kensington Books for an ARC to read and review.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews

    4.5 stars! A thrilling continuation of the series! Rory Moore is a forensic reconstructionalist who suffers from extreme social anxiety. She has a proven track record of cracking unsolved police case files and finds herself entangled in helping her psychologist partner, Lane Phillips, on a chilling and mysterious prep school double murder. The two travel to the prestigious Westmont Preparatory High School to investigate and immerse themselves in the year old murder case of two students. I’ve read a 4.5 stars! A thrilling continuation of the series! Rory Moore is a forensic reconstructionalist who suffers from extreme social anxiety. She has a proven track record of cracking unsolved police case files and finds herself entangled in helping her psychologist partner, Lane Phillips, on a chilling and mysterious prep school double murder. The two travel to the prestigious Westmont Preparatory High School to investigate and immerse themselves in the year old murder case of two students. I’ve read and loved every single book Charlie Donlea has created and this was no exception. I jumped right back into these characters lives and felt myself grow even more attached to them. The thick, foreboding atmosphere of the elite boarding school grounds had me engrossed from start to finish. There is something about boarding school settings that always appeals to me. This was a fast paced thrilling mystery that had my mind flip flopping over who was guilty. The chillingly gruesome murders kept me on edge and curiously intrigued throughout. With the timelines being only one year apart, I found myself confused a few times at the start but as I worked deeper into the storyline, the flow became much easier to follow. If you haven’t read a Charlie Donlea book, you need to drop everything and pick one up! I suggesting picking up book 1 in this series before reading this as it will give you a better understanding of the characters’ backstories and personalities. All of his other novels are standalones, however, he brilliantly incorporates his well-loved characters within more than one book which I love. Thank you to NetGalley for my review copy! Expected date of publication is July 28th.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    I have a confession to make....This is my first Charlie Donlea novel. *Gasps* When two teenage boys are found on the grounds of a prestigious boarding school murdered in horrific fashion it is believed their chemistry teacher that they were tormenting finally enacted his revenge. When the remaining survivors of that night are drawn back to the same spot to commit suicide it attracts the attention of a podcast host, a reporter, and also Rory Moore, a forensic reconstructionist, along with her par I have a confession to make....This is my first Charlie Donlea novel. *Gasps* When two teenage boys are found on the grounds of a prestigious boarding school murdered in horrific fashion it is believed their chemistry teacher that they were tormenting finally enacted his revenge. When the remaining survivors of that night are drawn back to the same spot to commit suicide it attracts the attention of a podcast host, a reporter, and also Rory Moore, a forensic reconstructionist, along with her partner Lane Phillips, a psychological profiler, from Donlea's last novel and first book of this series, Some Choose Darkness. "This wasn't a couple of kids screwing around. This was a goddamn slaughter." That line is all Donlea needed to say to get my attention and my attention he had until the very end. My only one complaint is that I struggled to keep all of the characters straight. I had to flip back and forth on more than one occasion. Of course with such a large cast of characters I had made so many assumptions as to whodunnit and I was wrong every time. Well played, indeed! 4 stars! Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington Books for providing me with a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Brenda - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews

    Yipee! Charlie Donlea will be joining us for a Q & A in the Behind the Pages Group on August 19! You can find the thread here https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/... Every time Charlie Donlea has a new book out The Traveling Sisters are cheering and we are excited to drive right into it. We were very excited to see beloved characters Rory and Lane from Some Choose Darkness return in The Suicide House With a title like The Suicide House, I have to say I was a bit nervous about reading it but it's Yipee! Charlie Donlea will be joining us for a Q & A in the Behind the Pages Group on August 19! You can find the thread here https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/... Every time Charlie Donlea has a new book out The Traveling Sisters are cheering and we are excited to drive right into it. We were very excited to see beloved characters Rory and Lane from Some Choose Darkness return in The Suicide House With a title like The Suicide House, I have to say I was a bit nervous about reading it but it's Charlie Donlea so how could I go wrong. Well, I am happy to say Charlie delivers another gripping original and exciting twisty thrill of a read! Charlie Donlea nails it here with this chilling and thrilling setting that sets a dark eerie mood to the story! I loved the settings here that connected the characters and added nail-biting tension to the story. The Elite school and boarding house in the woods sets an eerier feel to the story with its horrifying secrets. A year ago two students were murder and the case is now the focus of the podcast The Suicide House. Rory is back to find out those horrifying secrets the night the students were slaughter. The danger is still lurking and haunting the students who were there that night. For me, the strength of the story is our interesting, brilliant well developed diverse character Rory who exhibits mannerism that puts her on the autism spectrum. The dynamics between her and Lane are heartwarming and entertaining. We don’t see much of both of them together as I would of like however I loved what we did get. There is a large cast of characters here with multiple intertwining storylines that keep things interesting. At times I did become a bit confused with keeping everyone and everything straight. The tension and suspense rise with each chapter right up to those exciting final twists and reveals. I highly recommend starting with Some Choose Darkness before this one to get to know Rory and Lane however I do think The Suicide House works as a standalone as well I received a copy from the publisher on NetGalley!

  11. 5 out of 5

    DeAnn

    3.75 Twisty stars This is a favorite author of mine, Charlie Donlea, and I’m slowly making my way through all of his books. This one follows the same characters as “Some Choose Darkness” – Rory and Lane. They are both crime experts and a couple. While it’s been a while since I read “Some Choose Darkness” there were plenty of explanatory pieces to bring me up to speed (maybe a bit much!) and refresh my memory. I really like the character of Rory and I wish we got more background and details to fle 3.75 Twisty stars This is a favorite author of mine, Charlie Donlea, and I’m slowly making my way through all of his books. This one follows the same characters as “Some Choose Darkness” – Rory and Lane. They are both crime experts and a couple. While it’s been a while since I read “Some Choose Darkness” there were plenty of explanatory pieces to bring me up to speed (maybe a bit much!) and refresh my memory. I really like the character of Rory and I wish we got more background and details to flesh out her character in this one. This story is set at a prestigious prep high school in Indiana, modeled after similar schools on the east coast. One interesting point is that no one is ever kicked out of this school. Everyone sees a counselor and issues are dealt with by the school. There are problems at Westmont though as a year ago two students were murdered, and now other students have returned to the scene to kill themselves. What on earth is going on? There’s a fascinating first portion of the story with a true crime podcast built in and I really liked this piece and I was wishing for more of this storyline! Rory and Lane dig into the school and rumors of a secret society. The story features flashbacks to the summer one year ago when the tragic events took place. I’m used to a much longer gap between storylines! Can the duo get to the bottom of things before there’s another tragedy? I had a few gasp-worthy moments when a twist was revealed, and I did not see the ending at all! There’s a tense conclusion and a lot of pieces to figure out along the way. Overall, I enjoyed this one and looking forward to more from this author. While this wasn’t my favorite read of his, it still was a good distraction! I do recommend reading “Some Choose Darkness” if you want to start this series. Thank you to the publisher Kensington and Charlie Donlea for an early copy of the book to read through NetGalley. Get your copy of this one today.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*

    EXCERPT: I killed my brother with a penny. Simple, benign and perfectly believable. ABOUT THIS BOOK: 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. EXCERPT: I killed my brother with a penny. Simple, benign and perfectly believable. ABOUT THIS BOOK: 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 THOUGHTS: I haven't read 'Some Choose Darkness' #1 in the Rory Moore/Lane Phillips series. If you haven't either, it's not a problem. Both books are written as stand-alones although they feature the same main characters. But, first thing Monday I am off to the library to get a copy of Some Choose Darkness. I want to read it and am annoyed with myself that I missed it when it came out. There's a lot that goes on in this book and it takes a little while for it to start to tie in together. One thing is for sure - I never wanted to go away to school, and The Suicide House has reinforced that decision! Secret societies, dangerous pranks, dares and hazing form the background for this story of death and a dangerous obsession. The two characters around whom this book is centred don't actually feature as prominently as I expected they would. The Suicide house begins with a rather enigmatic journal entry by a boy who has killed his brother, and gotten away with it. These journal entries continue sporadically throughout the novel. The timelines are split between Summer 2019 when the murders occur and August 2020, at which time we meet broadcaster Mack Carter and journalist Ryder Hillier, who are both independently working on the Westmont Prep School Murders. August 2020 is also when we meet Dr Lane Phillips, forensic psychologist and criminal profiler. I found it quite hard to get a handle on his character, another reason I want to read the preceding book. His partner, Rory Moore, is a forensic reconstructionist specializing in cold-case homicides, with a passion for the reconstruction of antique dolls. I found it quite disappointing that more use was not made of their skills. While I really enjoyed this read, there are a few things that don't make much sense to me. There seems to be a point to most secret societies, but with the one at the centre of The Suicide House, there doesn't seem to be any point other than to participate in game of 'The Man in The Mirror'. Missing man, Marc McEvoy, was an unnecessary distraction and overcomplicated the storyline. A new character, Gus Morelli, is introduced towards the end of The Suicide House, and I hope that we see more of him in the future. The Suicide House certainly held my interest from start to finish. There's a few relationships between characters that didn't quite sit right for me and left me with a few questions about the resolution, therefore only a 4 star rating rather than 5 stars. Definitely a series I want to read more of. I have enjoyed everything I have ever read by this author, and The Suicide House is no exception. 😲😲😲😲.1 THE AUTHOR: Charlie Donlea resides in Chicago with his wife and two young children. He spends a part of each year fishing with his father in the far reaches of Canada, where the roads end and lakes are accessible only by floatplane. These majestic trips to “God’s Country” inspired the setting for his first novel, Summit Lake. DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Kensington Books via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Suicide House by Charlie Donlea for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions. For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon, Instagram and my webpage

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jayme

    3.5 stars rounded down. Rory and Lane are back! But, maybe they shouldn’t be...🤔 I was ALL IN, when this book began! Intrigued by the mysterious journal entries being read aloud by “somebody” to ???? Enjoying the podcasts hosted by the famous Mack Carter. Loving the moxy of Ryder Hillier, a “true crime column” writer and blogger, who has more knowledge of the Westmont Prep Murders and Suicides than Mack Carter does- but lacks his name recognition. I wanted to know what 13:3:5 meant!! And, to see if 3.5 stars rounded down. Rory and Lane are back! But, maybe they shouldn’t be...🤔 I was ALL IN, when this book began! Intrigued by the mysterious journal entries being read aloud by “somebody” to ???? Enjoying the podcasts hosted by the famous Mack Carter. Loving the moxy of Ryder Hillier, a “true crime column” writer and blogger, who has more knowledge of the Westmont Prep Murders and Suicides than Mack Carter does- but lacks his name recognition. I wanted to know what 13:3:5 meant!! And, to see if Mack and Ryder would compete or cooperate, to solve the mysteries surrounding “The Suicide House”. And, just as things were getting good, Mack and Ryder, become a sub plot as the focus shifts to Rory and Lane. The pace slowed considerably as we are reintroduced to these characters (from book one, “Some Choose Darkness”.) The author’s note at the conclusion of the book shares that Charlie Donlea, wants each of his books to be able to be read as a standalone and that he will often have characters from past books make an appearance in a new one. I am all for cameos, but feel that I would have preferred learning what happened at the “Suicide House” through the eyes of Mack and Ryder. Rory and Lane making a cameo appearance to share their expertise, would have been welcomed, but would not have required these characters to be “fleshed out” for a second time. There was too much repetition from book one. I hope that Charlie Donlea moves in a new direction with his next novel, and that it is not a Rory/Lane book 3...and I say that with lots of love and admiration for the author’s work! ❤️ I would like to thank Kensington Publishing for the digital ARC provided through Netgalley in exchange for a candid review! You can pick up a copy of this on July, 28, 2020! HAPPY PUBLICATION DAY!!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Susanne Strong

    3 Stars Be Very Very Scared! Westmont Preparatory School. An Elite School and Campus. An initiation game where select Juniors are invited to play “The Man in the Mirror.” Much to the horror of the participants and the school, the game does not go as planned. Podcasts detail the atrocity of the events. An investigation involving the Police and Forensic Reconstructionist Rory Moore and Psychologist Lane Phillips take place. The issue of course is that no one, and I mean, no one is safe. “The Suicid 3 Stars Be Very Very Scared! Westmont Preparatory School. An Elite School and Campus. An initiation game where select Juniors are invited to play “The Man in the Mirror.” Much to the horror of the participants and the school, the game does not go as planned. Podcasts detail the atrocity of the events. An investigation involving the Police and Forensic Reconstructionist Rory Moore and Psychologist Lane Phillips take place. The issue of course is that no one, and I mean, no one is safe. “The Suicide House” is the third book that I’ve read by Charles Donlea. Unfortunately, it left something to be desired. It started out slow and felt more like a YA horror novel than an adult mystery suspense. It also involved a few different themes, which I personally don’t feel meshed well. It took until the middle of the book for me to be interested in the storyline (as that featured more of Rory and Lane) but unlike Mr. Donlea’s other novels, I didn’t care about the characters in the same way, which is surprising given the fact that Rory Moore and Lane Phillips both appeared in Donlea’s prior novel “Some Choose Darkness” and that was a favorite of mine. All in all, this ended up being an enjoyable, fast paced read even though it didn’t rate as high as the other Charles Donlea novels that I’ve read. I still have a few of his books to read and plan to move them up on my tbr asap and look forward to this author’s next release. This was another book read with Kaceey! Thank you to NeGalley, Kensington Books and Charles Donlea for the arc. Published on Goodreads on 4.26.20.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Marialyce

    4.5 stars Many years ago there was a commercial on TV which told people a product called Calgon would take you away. Looking for the same take me away focus, I was ever so pleased when I was approved for Charlie Donlea's newest book The Suicide House. I am pretty much of a neophyte when it comes to his books, but the one I did read Don't Believe It, provided me with many great reading hours. I am happy to report that this new book also took me on a journey where I was able to forget the Pandemic 4.5 stars Many years ago there was a commercial on TV which told people a product called Calgon would take you away. Looking for the same take me away focus, I was ever so pleased when I was approved for Charlie Donlea's newest book The Suicide House. I am pretty much of a neophyte when it comes to his books, but the one I did read Don't Believe It, provided me with many great reading hours. I am happy to report that this new book also took me on a journey where I was able to forget the Pandemic nightmare and instead focus on a nightmare being portrayed at an elite boarding school. Rory Moore and Lane Philips enter into a world where young people have died tragically by throwing themselves in the path of an oncoming train after an initiation ritual at their prestigious high school goes disastrously awry. These two characters, first introduced in his book Some Choose Darkness form the background of ferreting out what exactly is occurring as certain students are chosen to join a secret club if they pass the man in the mirror test. The initiation takes place in an old abandoned house on both the winter and summer solstice, that once was home to the teachers in the school, but is now deserted. It lay next to railroad tracks and these tracks become the place where students have thrown their lives away. As in most initiations, there is hazing and cruelty, and the gauntlet being thrown down as to how one can gain entrance to this most sought out secretive club. Teachers are usually the butt of pranks and one teacher in particular has been designated as the patsy for the kids initiation rites. Things go disturbingly wrong and the students who were privy to a night where two students were massacred, hold a secret, a terrible conspiracy that threatens their very lives. As the deaths mount, Rory and Lane try to ferret out what exactly is happening. These two are wonderfully developed characters, Rory, being not only a forensic reconstructionist, but also autistic. Somehow she is the pivotal character equipped to see what other don't. Lane, is the ying to her yang and he analyzes serial killers. As we follow all the characters, there emerges the idea that one among them is a cold blooded killer and it's probably not the man who was convicted of the crime. Fast paced, engrossing and compelling, this story will keep the reader fully engaged in the tragedy that unfolds. It's certainly was for me, a fascinating and riveting story. Definitely recommend this one and now onto more Donlea books for this reader! Thank you to Charlie Donlea, Kensington Books, and NetGalley for a copy of this gripping book due out June 28, 2020.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    3.5 stars In this 2nd book in the 'Rory Moore/Lane Phillips' series, the criminalists look into deaths at a private school. The book works fine as a standalone. ***** Classy 'Westmont Preparatory High School' in Peppermill, Indiana used to pride itself on graduating ALL its students and sending them on to good colleges. Then starting on June 21, 2019, a string of tragedies ruined the school's statistics. Two students were murdered on that summer solstice night, and - in the subsequent year - two mo 3.5 stars In this 2nd book in the 'Rory Moore/Lane Phillips' series, the criminalists look into deaths at a private school. The book works fine as a standalone. ***** Classy 'Westmont Preparatory High School' in Peppermill, Indiana used to pride itself on graduating ALL its students and sending them on to good colleges. Then starting on June 21, 2019, a string of tragedies ruined the school's statistics. Two students were murdered on that summer solstice night, and - in the subsequent year - two more students committed suicide. The institute's losses were the media's gain. Crime blogger Ryder Hillier has a blog devoted to the Westmont deaths..... ….. and television newsmagazine host Mack Carter has a podcast, called The Suicide House, about the incidents. Mack Carter leases a house near Westmont Prep, and in the summer of 2020 hires Chicago forensic psychologist/criminal profiler Lane Phillips to contribute to future episodes of the podcast. Lane rents a cottage in Peppermill and cajoles his girlfriend, forensic reconstructionist Rory Moore, to follow him a couple of days later. Lane specializes in psychotic killers and Rory is a cold case expert, so they're good 'gets' for The Suicide House podcast. Up to this point the blog and podcast covered the following: Two students named Andrew Gross and Tanner Landing were brutally killed in an abandoned house on the edge of the Westmont campus on June 21, 2019. A few days later the prime suspect, a chemistry teacher called Charles Gorman, threw himself in front of a train near the abandoned house, and is now a vegetable. In the following months, two friends of the dead boys, Bridget Matthews and Danielle Landry, also threw themselves in front of trains, and died. It turns out that Westmont Prep has a secret club, called 'The Man in the Mirror', that meets at the abandoned house. Each year the club extends invitations to a few juniors, who must perform harrowing challenges to become members. All the dead students were associated with The Man in the Mirror, and - as the story unfolds - more deaths follow. Lane and Rory make it their mission to unravel all the mysteries at Westmont Prep, and endanger themselves in the process. The book is very complex, with several subplots. Moreover, the story skips back and forth between the summer of 2019 and the summer of 2020. Thus there's a lot to follow, but once I got into the rhythm I was able to keep up. A strong point of the book is the wide array of characters, including students; faculty; administrators; parents; journalists; police; and more. The best character is forensic reconstructionist Rory Moore, a woman on the autism spectrum whose favorite beverage is Dark Lord beer. Rory has trouble making eye contact and is most comfortable wearing a beanie hat; big glasses; and Madden Girl Eloisee combat boots. Rory also has OCD, which she controls by restoring damaged antique dolls. In this book Rory reconstructs an Armand Marseille Kiddiejoy German baby doll, and the scenes of Rory working on the doll are instructive and interesting. I won't give away plot secrets but I will say that Charlie Donlea is a master of misdirection and twists. For me the plot is a bit overly contrived, but I enjoyed the book and recommend it to fans of suspense novels. Thanks to Netgalley, the author (Charlie Donlea), and the publisher (Kensington Publishing) for a copy of the book. You can follow my reviews at https://reviewsbybarbsaffer.blogspot....

  17. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    3.5 stars, rounded up The Suicide House brings back the team of Rory Moore and Lane Phillips. Rory is a forensic reconstructionist and Lane is a psychological profiler. For this plot, they undertake an investigation into the gruesome murders of two students at a prestigious boarding school which leads to the subsequent suicides of four others. The school seemed odd from the get go. It requires therapy for all their students, not just the ones with serious issues. Part of that therapy is journal w 3.5 stars, rounded up The Suicide House brings back the team of Rory Moore and Lane Phillips. Rory is a forensic reconstructionist and Lane is a psychological profiler. For this plot, they undertake an investigation into the gruesome murders of two students at a prestigious boarding school which leads to the subsequent suicides of four others. The school seemed odd from the get go. It requires therapy for all their students, not just the ones with serious issues. Part of that therapy is journal writing, which figures into the plot. The book goes back and forth between current day and one year earlier, in the time leading up to the murder. Short choppy chapters keep the reader off balance. It started off slower than his other books and it took longer to draw me in. Donlea throws lots of red herrings into the mix to keep us confused. I was definitely up in the air as to who was behind the murders. But I also felt that the story was forced, that there were too many red herrings. Rory, who is on the spectrum, is an interesting, complex character. She continues to remind me of Genevieve Lenard, Estelle Ryan’s MC. I recommend her books to those who enjoy Donlea and vice versa.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Bridgett

    **AVAILABLE TODAY** "This wasn't a couple of kids screwing around. This was a goddamn slaughter." I didn't realize when I requested this novel that it was the sequel to Some Choose Darkness, which I have never read. Thankfully, The Suicide House can be read as a standalone, but there is a very stark sense of missing a great deal of character history and background. The story was interesting enough--murder and mayhem at an elite boarding school in small-town Indiana. Unfortunately, there was so **AVAILABLE TODAY** "This wasn't a couple of kids screwing around. This was a goddamn slaughter." I didn't realize when I requested this novel that it was the sequel to Some Choose Darkness, which I have never read. Thankfully, The Suicide House can be read as a standalone, but there is a very stark sense of missing a great deal of character history and background. The story was interesting enough--murder and mayhem at an elite boarding school in small-town Indiana. Unfortunately, there was so much going on, it diluted the mystery. While the conclusion was eventually tied neatly with a big, red bow, the sheer number of characters and story lines decreased my enthusiasm and diverted my attention to other chores and errands. Very early in the story, I suspected two characters...I wasn't sure which it was, but I narrowed in on them almost immediately. When it was all said and done...I was proven correct. So, yea. That was a bummer. I may choose to read the first book in this series...I haven't decided yet. I did love Rory and the way her mind was explained. Having a son on the spectrum, I could relate to her genius and her quirks. Thankfully, her spectrum traits weren't portrayed in a derogatory manner either, which I appreciated. Bottom line: This had the potential to be an amazing story, but it just tried to do too much. 3.5 stars. TRIGGER WARNING: Gratuitous violence and gore. Available July 28th. My sincere thanks to Kensington Books and NetGalley for my review copy.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    Heart-chilling abandoned places need no words. Charlie Donlea is venturing into the deep and the dark in this one. The Suicide House is far more than the usual "Who dun it?" that Donlea has showcased in the past. This one drifts off into minds filled with scurrying head spiders. Gave me a web-infested feeling throughout. The stately Westmont Prep School juts out from behind tall trees. It's been renowned for almost 80 years for turning out the best in its students here in Peppermill, Indiana. But Heart-chilling abandoned places need no words. Charlie Donlea is venturing into the deep and the dark in this one. The Suicide House is far more than the usual "Who dun it?" that Donlea has showcased in the past. This one drifts off into minds filled with scurrying head spiders. Gave me a web-infested feeling throughout. The stately Westmont Prep School juts out from behind tall trees. It's been renowned for almost 80 years for turning out the best in its students here in Peppermill, Indiana. But a shadow will be eclipsing this fine school this semester. Not from an over-zealous moon. More like tragedy and death. Mack Carter has heard all the buzz about Westmont Prep. The horrific events have been like pouring gasoline while setting his podcast on fire. His fan base keeps growing and growing as they can't get enough chatter about what happened but with no "why" in sight. But there's some resentment from Ryder Hillier, researcher/journalist, who has a true crime blog on just this topic. It seems like Mack is grabbing Ryder's info for his own podcast. With three deaths surrounding the abandoned teachers' boarding house in the overgrown acreage of Westmont Prep, highly professional help is needed. Lane Phillips, forensic psychologist, and Rory Moore have been sent in from Chicago. Rory is a forensic reconstructionist. Bordering on the autistic spectrum, Rory has an uncanny talent for seeing what others never will. She is an ace when it comes to cold cases. But will this be a chase down a dark rabbit hole for even these two? The Suicide House has earmarkings of the stellar writing talent of Charlie Donlea. I've read every novel of his and clamor for more. But this one ranked at a 3.5 kicked up to 4 stars. It is evident that there is an abundance of research, time, and effort into this one. But The Suicide House bogged down at times with the weight of too many characters to keep track of and too many flips between time passages. I think a more linear storyline with Lane and Rory at the helm would have been the way to go. Donlea shows that he can set up a bucketful of horror with a Stephen King vibe. Next time, I'd like to see more of those Madden Girl boots from our fav, Rory. I received a copy of The Suicide House through NetGalley for an honest review. My thanks to Kensington Books and to the talented Charlie Donlea for the opportunity.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sandy

    Two students enter an abandoned old house on a dare. A disturbing history is revealed in a private journal. Police are called to a grisly scene near a prestigious prep school. Holy Moly…and we’re off! Three distinct & creepy threads make up a prologue that immediately grabs your attention & fills your head with 100 questions. Who are these people, are the events related, what the hell just happened…..there, I got you started. We soon realize everything revolves around an horrific event in Peppermil Two students enter an abandoned old house on a dare. A disturbing history is revealed in a private journal. Police are called to a grisly scene near a prestigious prep school. Holy Moly…and we’re off! Three distinct & creepy threads make up a prologue that immediately grabs your attention & fills your head with 100 questions. Who are these people, are the events related, what the hell just happened…..there, I got you started. We soon realize everything revolves around an horrific event in Peppermill, Indiana during the summer of 2019. That’s where you’ll find Westmont Preparatory H. S., a prestigious academy that takes in teens & spits them out 4 years later, polished & ready for uni. On the summer solstice, a group of students made their way to an old house on school grounds. Most returned home. Two did not. Detective Henry Ott was called to the scene & although a local man was eventually convicted of murder, he’s never been able to let go of what he saw that night. One year later & several students have returned to the area & committed suicide, one by one. Despite the school’s efforts to hush up the whole mess, the cases are currently the topic of a hugely popular podcast & true crime website. And that’s when criminal profiler Dr. Lane Phillips & his partner Rory Moore get involved. We were introduced to them in Some Choose Darkness & they’re an interesting pair. Rory usually consults with the Chicago P.D. She has a unique ability to recreate a crime scene & “see” what others missed. Rory falls somewhere on the autism spectrum & although she lacks social skills, her eidetic memory & obsessive need for detail mean she’s a rock star in the world of cold case solves. The book has an interesting format that serves the multiple story lines very well. Rory & Lane are key characters but they share narrating duties with several others in alternating chapters. This means you gradually get the low down on what happened in 2019 as events in current day unfold. It effectively builds tension as what you learn about the original case begins to inform Rory & Lane’s investigation. And it’s obvious pretty damn quick that someone would rather they stop digging & put Peppermill in their rearview mirror. After reading the previous book, I knew this was a series I’d follow. One of the reasons is the intriguing MC’s & their relationship. Lane is a smart & driven man who accepts Rory & all her personal tics as is. As for Rory, I enjoy watching how her brain picks away at a puzzle. The author portrays her as completely self aware, someone who has learned how to channel the “gift” she’s been given in order to function. Her hobby of restoring antique dolls is particularly poignant as the meticulous care she puts into fixing their broken bodies mirrors the effort it takes for her to manage her life. But the other reason I knew I’d be back is the author’s ability to spin a compelling story that keeps you reading. As each thread progresses, connections are made & the reader begins the game of name-that-killer. I was keeping my eye on a couple of candidates but it wasn’t ’til the final pages that i knew their identity. At some points we know more than Rory & this adds nicely to the tension that culminates in a creepy finale. A bonus for faithful fans are cameos by several characters from previous books. If Moore/Phillips #3 is on the way, I’m all in. 3.5 rounded up to 4 stars

  21. 4 out of 5

    Dave

    If you have always thought exclusive boarding schools featured Robin Williams inspiring generations of young scholars like in Dead Poet's Society, you are in for a bit of surprise. Cause here that prep school is more like a scene from The Shining or perhaps the Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Westmont Prep School is exclusive. It's gated. It's a special place with counseling even for the troubled and wayward youth and it's motto is that, you enter the gates alone, but leave together. Except for one fa If you have always thought exclusive boarding schools featured Robin Williams inspiring generations of young scholars like in Dead Poet's Society, you are in for a bit of surprise. Cause here that prep school is more like a scene from The Shining or perhaps the Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Westmont Prep School is exclusive. It's gated. It's a special place with counseling even for the troubled and wayward youth and it's motto is that, you enter the gates alone, but leave together. Except for one fateful night on the Summer Solstice when two young prodigies never leave at all. They are butchered. One in a bloody mess in a drawing room and one impaled on a gate. And, in succeeding years, other students involved have killed themselves. Luckily, the suspicion quickly turned to a tormented faculty member who also tried suicide and ended up in a vegetative state. There were rumors for years of a secret society and secret initiation rituals, rumors of dark secrets that perhaps never should be unearthed. Donlea approaches this murder mystery from a number of angles, which is an approach at once enlightening and confusing. Intermixed with narratives about what happened are competing podcasts because this has now become a true crime fascination for thousands across the internet. And, a most interesting pair of forensic reconstructionists get involved. Lane is a famed ex FBI psychiatrist profiler. Rory is an intuitive genius who can look at a crime scene and see things in cold case evidence no one else can see. She is also a sufferer of obsessive compulsiveness and is forever walled off from people. This is he second novel involving this pair who are romantically entwined. An appealing thriller that is filled where the tension inexorably builds as the crime unfolds and things are slowly but surely revealed with typical thriller misdirection. Certainly a surprisingly worthwhile read. Many thanks to the publisher for providing a copy for review.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Amy Imogene Reads

    This had all of the best tropes: journal entries, podcasts, multiple timelines, boarding schools, and secrets. Y'all excited after that list? Me too. Plot/Pacing: ★★★★★ Villain(s)/Reveal(s): ★★★★ Writing: ★★★ Enjoyment: ★★★★ Hidden within Indiana's Westmont Prep boarding school lies a world of secrets. At the core of those secrets is The Man in the Mirror—a secret society club run by the seniors. It involves a brutal hazing period for junior initiates and a dark night spent in the woods and in the a This had all of the best tropes: journal entries, podcasts, multiple timelines, boarding schools, and secrets. Y'all excited after that list? Me too. Plot/Pacing: ★★★★★ Villain(s)/Reveal(s): ★★★★ Writing: ★★★ Enjoyment: ★★★★ Hidden within Indiana's Westmont Prep boarding school lies a world of secrets. At the core of those secrets is The Man in the Mirror—a secret society club run by the seniors. It involves a brutal hazing period for junior initiates and a dark night spent in the woods and in the abandoned boarding house at the edge of the property. But when the night ends in two murders, things will never be the same. And then several more students commit suicide at the scene of the crime. Forensic reconstructionist Rory Moore and her psychologist partner, Lane Phillips, are used to the weird cases. Armed with enough knowledge to puzzle out the coldest of cold cases, Moore and Phillips come to Indiana with the intent of solving the weird case. They're faced with the murders, the suicides, a YouTube journalist with an agenda of her own, a hit-series crime podcast stirring up trouble, and a detective willing to bend the rules to get to the bottom of his case. Drawn deeper and deeper into a web, they don't realize that the murderer is very aware of their progress. And the murderer is ready. Things I loved: Rory Moore - fantastic character, and compelling enough to make me pick up Charlie Donlea's backlist to read more of her. (You don't need to read the previous book to read this one, it's essentially a standalone.) I also loved that there were enough shocks, red herrings, and curious plot points to keep me continually guessing throughout the book. While I did guess the murderer before I was supposed to, I did NOT see several of the side plot surprises coming...which is really impressive and means it was a good one for me. Things I didn't love: Right off the bat, I want to address the elephant in the room: the title. I think it was a bit much, if I'm honest, and we could have easily called this "Murder House" or something of the like as the suicides....weren't actually the core of the novel....so it was clearly a shock value thing. And as a shock value thing, I think its trivializing the triggering subject matter. I don't think anyone who is triggered will pick this book up given its title - a positive? - but still, wanted to put my uncomfortable feelings out there. This is a personal taste thing, but I really struggled with the actual structure and writing of this novel. I'm clearly in the minority as several of my friends love his books, but something about the writing just never jelled with me. That, plus the fact that this is a 300 page book with over 100 chapters in it.... the average chapter length was 3 pages! I get antsy with those types of chapters, because I feel like I never sink my teeth into the moment. So for that reason, I had a bit of a harder time with this book than I would have liked. But it was still a fantastic read, so take that as you will! Looking forward to more Charlie Donlea in the future. Thank you to Kensington Books for this ARC in exchange for an honest review. Blog | Instagram

  23. 4 out of 5

    Chelsea Humphrey

    *Many thanks to the publisher for providing my review copy.

  24. 5 out of 5

    CYIReadBooks

    A new favorite author! After shamefully offering a two star rating on an excerpt, I need to walk or perhaps run back my dismal rating and "eat crow." The Suicide House is a chilling tale of murders at a prestigious preparatory school and the people who are tasked to solve the case that has since gone cold. Rory Moore, a forensic reconstructionist, together with her partner Lane Phillips, are brought on the case to reconstruct clues and evidence in the hopes that the case can finally be solved an A new favorite author! After shamefully offering a two star rating on an excerpt, I need to walk or perhaps run back my dismal rating and "eat crow." The Suicide House is a chilling tale of murders at a prestigious preparatory school and the people who are tasked to solve the case that has since gone cold. Rory Moore, a forensic reconstructionist, together with her partner Lane Phillips, are brought on the case to reconstruct clues and evidence in the hopes that the case can finally be solved and closed. A gripping mystery-thriller. You won't be disappointed if you enjoy this genre. You will be captured by the intensity of the narrative until the end. Five stars which is a drastic change from my initial assessment. I thoroughly enjoyed The Suicide House and look forward to reading more from the author, Charlie Donlea.

  25. 4 out of 5

    JEN A

    I received an advanced copy of this book from Net Galley and the publisher in return for an honest review. The release date for this book was 28 July 2020 This book was incredible, amazing, enthralling - a marvelous thriller you won’t regret reading!! The characters are unique and intriguing and the plot twists just keep on coming. This isn’t a book for the faint of heart but anyone who loves a great thriller must read this book! I just couldn’t put it down and look forward to reading more from t I received an advanced copy of this book from Net Galley and the publisher in return for an honest review. The release date for this book was 28 July 2020 This book was incredible, amazing, enthralling - a marvelous thriller you won’t regret reading!! The characters are unique and intriguing and the plot twists just keep on coming. This isn’t a book for the faint of heart but anyone who loves a great thriller must read this book! I just couldn’t put it down and look forward to reading more from this author.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Mandy White

    Some Choose Darkness was the first Charlie Donlea book that I read. So I was pleasantly surprised when I found that The Suicide House brings back 2 characters from that book. But you do not need to have read it to enjoy Suicide House. Again Donlea has given us a book full of twists and drama. I read this in 2 sittings and couldn’t get enough. Suicide House is a podcast that has true crime fans excited. Just over a year ago 2 students were brutally murdered on the grounds of Westmont Prep School. Some Choose Darkness was the first Charlie Donlea book that I read. So I was pleasantly surprised when I found that The Suicide House brings back 2 characters from that book. But you do not need to have read it to enjoy Suicide House. Again Donlea has given us a book full of twists and drama. I read this in 2 sittings and couldn’t get enough. Suicide House is a podcast that has true crime fans excited. Just over a year ago 2 students were brutally murdered on the grounds of Westmont Prep School. A teacher was charged with the murders but why are other students who were involved on the night returning to the scene and killing themselves? And there are some that do not believe that the teacher was the murderer. Forensic Reconstructionist Rory Moore and her partner Lane Phillips get involved and early on it is clear that someone doesn’t want the case to be investigated. Another fantastic book from Charlie Donlea. Thanks to Kensington Books and Netgalley for my advanced copy of this book to read.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    Westmont Prep High School - an elite boarding school in Indiana harboring some big secrets. When a group of selected students join the initiation for a top-secret cult led by upperclassmen, those secrets unleash horrifying murders and suicides. The murderer was caught, supposedly. But why the suicides? Popular podcasts have kept the murders in the news, especially since the spate of suicides involving students have occurred. Rory Moore, forensic re-constructionist along with her work colleague an Westmont Prep High School - an elite boarding school in Indiana harboring some big secrets. When a group of selected students join the initiation for a top-secret cult led by upperclassmen, those secrets unleash horrifying murders and suicides. The murderer was caught, supposedly. But why the suicides? Popular podcasts have kept the murders in the news, especially since the spate of suicides involving students have occurred. Rory Moore, forensic re-constructionist along with her work colleague and life partner, serial profiler Lane Phillips, are called to assist with research on the podcast. And the fun begins. The Suicide House is a wonderful, suspenseful whodunit which kept me wondering throughout. There were so many possibilities and red herrings tossed out by the author, Charlie Donlea. To be fair, the red herrings all contributed to the conclusion, but never in the way I thought they would. There's nothing better than a book that surprises you throughout, all the way to the end. This one definitely did that! The book is a stand-alone, but its predecessor, Some Choose Darkness, which I can't wait to read, apparently introduces the character of Rory, and gives some background as to her unique character, including her obsessive-compulsive disorder and possible placement on the autism spectrum. I found her character fascinating, especially her obsession with restoring antique dolls. Although some might wonder why this element is even part of the story, I found a parallel between her restoration and reconstruction of broken dolls from the past, and her reconstruction of cold cases, fitting pieces together to make sense of them again. This was my first Charlie Donlea book, but it won't be my last. Thanks to NetGalley and Kensington Books for an ARC in exchange for my honest review. 5 creepy stars!

  28. 5 out of 5

    OutlawPoet

    So, this book had sooooo many things that should have bugged me. • Flashbacks. So. Many. Flashbacks. • Quirky characters. Seriously quirky. • The old – exclusive private school with secrets plot. And…I loved it. The book is extremely suspenseful, with good spooky undertones. The mystery was well-crafted. No cheating, but the author managed to surprise me more than once. And when certain mini-reveals came, the author sent my suspicions spinning in so many directions! I also loved our characters, quirky So, this book had sooooo many things that should have bugged me. • Flashbacks. So. Many. Flashbacks. • Quirky characters. Seriously quirky. • The old – exclusive private school with secrets plot. And…I loved it. The book is extremely suspenseful, with good spooky undertones. The mystery was well-crafted. No cheating, but the author managed to surprise me more than once. And when certain mini-reveals came, the author sent my suspicions spinning in so many directions! I also loved our characters, quirky bits and all. I adore Rory. She’s so…not like me at all. I just loved her. I also love her partner, Lane. I would read them again and again and again. Yeah, I really loved this book and I’m so on board for the next book featuring these characters! *ARC Provided via Net Galley

  29. 4 out of 5

    Heidi

    THE SUICIDE HOUSE is my first book by Charlie Donlea and I wonder what took me so long! I had heard such amazing things about this author and I think it was the promise of a spooky abandoned house setting that finally made me take the plunge. If you are as fond of spooky house settings as I am, the promise on the blurb of “an abandoned boarding house” and students going there at night to play a game called “man in the mirror” (creepy!) will probably act as much as a red flag for you as it did for THE SUICIDE HOUSE is my first book by Charlie Donlea and I wonder what took me so long! I had heard such amazing things about this author and I think it was the promise of a spooky abandoned house setting that finally made me take the plunge. If you are as fond of spooky house settings as I am, the promise on the blurb of “an abandoned boarding house” and students going there at night to play a game called “man in the mirror” (creepy!) will probably act as much as a red flag for you as it did for me. I simply HAD TO read it! Rest assured that the setting is just as creepy as promised, and it comes with a high body count, because several students have met their maker there, some at the hands of a brutal killer and some to apparent suicides on the nearby railway tracks. The happenings at night, both in the house and in the dark woods surrounding it, have exactly the sort of spook factor I was after, and I gratefully snuggled deep into the safety of my doona whilst reading it. There is a lot going on in this book, and a lot of characters to keep track of, so it took me a little while to get into the full flow of the story. Basically, two students have been murdered in the most horrific fashion during the “man in the mirror” initiation night at the abandoned boarding house, a college tradition of the school’s secret society (which in itself was very intriguing). A teacher has been convicted of the murders, his subsequent suicide attempt seen as an admission of guilt. So why do other students involved in the secret society continue to throw themselves in front of trains? Has the wrong man stood trial for the murders? Enter brilliant investigators Rory Moore and Lane Phillips and you might get the answer to these questions .... The story never quite slows down its frantic pace like the trains that rumble past the old boarding house at night, as the author uses various formats to tell his tale, from podcasts to journal entries to different POVs. At times, I thought there was almost too many characters, because I kept mixing them all up, but it still worked out perfectly for me in the end and made for a real roller coaster of a read. I wish I had read SOME CHOOSE DARKNESS first, which introduced the two main investigators, but I will definitely make up for lost time now. Also, not having Rory’s brilliant mind, I constantly mixed up the timelines, probably because they are only one year apart and not that easily distinguishable from one another. All in all, THE SUICIDE HOUSE made for a breakneck read I was loathe to put down, combining a multi-layered mystery with a deliciously spooky setting and two fascinating main investigators I definitely want to read more of. Sinister and gruesome in places and staged in a great atmospheric setting, it made for perfect night time reading. I really enjoyed it and will now catch up on the author’s earlier work. Thank you to Edelweiss and Kensington Books for the free electronic copy of this novel and for giving me the opportunity to provide an honest review. *blog* *facebook* *instagram*

  30. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Leone-campbell

    A year ago, there was a horrific tragedy at a prestigious prep school in Indiana.  A teacher went on a grisly rampage and murdered two students, and then threw himself in front of a train attempting suicide but did not die and now is living in a vegetative state. And some of the students who witnessed the incidents have since taken their own lives, by throwing themselves in front of trains. Now, a year later, the murder and the sordid ordeal are being brought back into the spotlight by a very pop A year ago, there was a horrific tragedy at a prestigious prep school in Indiana.  A teacher went on a grisly rampage and murdered two students, and then threw himself in front of a train attempting suicide but did not die and now is living in a vegetative state. And some of the students who witnessed the incidents have since taken their own lives, by throwing themselves in front of trains. Now, a year later, the murder and the sordid ordeal are being brought back into the spotlight by a very popular criminal podcast.  They are calling the episodes The Suicide House due to the abandoned boarding house where the tragedy happened.  As the episodes begin, the anxiety of students and teachers at the school increases.  And then another one of the students who witnessed the murder throws himself in front of a train.  That is when cold case expert Rory Moore and her partner Lane Phillips, a forensic psychologist are asked to come to Indiana and recreate what happened that night at the isolated house which was often times used for student rituals. Perhaps clues were missed at the scene and new eyes can shed new light on that night.  Moore, who herself has a few idiosyncrasies, has just finished up solving a cold case and usually needs time to decompress, but Phillips who knows her soft spots convinces her to help him. But nothing is as it seems in this small town and their presence begins to stir things up.  Why? The story races back and forth between what happened during the days leading up to the murders, to the new investigation and new puzzle pieces. There are chapters in which diary entries from a mysterious unknown person are read while they are in what seem to be counseling sessions. Is someone lying? What really happened that night? What kind of burden do the students carry with them from that evening that they would want to take their own lives? Why would a teacher snap and kill his students? The Suicide House is a heart thumping psychological case study in insanity with twists and turns that leave you craving for more.  The ending....a volcanic eruption!  This is the second book in the Moore/Phillips series and as Donlea writes in the afterward, he tries to make sure that all his books can be read as a stand alone as well.  Since I was unaware this was a series book until I read his note at the end, I can certainly say he was able to accomplish what he set out to do. The Suicide House can be preordered right now.  Publication date is July 28.  Get it! Thank you #NetGalley #Kensington #CharlieDonlea #TheSuicideHouse for the advanced copy.

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