The Family at Number 13 by S.D. Monaghan


Connor thinks St. Catherine’s Hill will be an ideal place to live and run his therapy practice, and he’s eager to become part of the neighborhood. Unbeknownst to him, his new neighbors are already antagonistic towards him. One is a former client with an axe to grind. The other is a woman named Mary whose family life is made difficult by her troubled nephew and indifferent husband. All of them have secrets, but one leads to tragedy.

Seeing ‘secrets’ referenced in a book description always piques my curiosity, and makes me read the rest of the blurb. As soon as I read the blurb for this book, the questions started racing in my mind. What’s the secret? Why does Mary’s husband avoid her? Why is the nephew so angry? And most importantly: what do the anonymous letters say, and who is sending them? With that many questions, I had no choice but to satisfy my curiosity by reading it!

The story is told from the perspectives of Connor and Mary, starting near the end of the story at a significant event, before going back a few days to show what led up to it. Oddly enough, I didn’t have a preference between perspectives… which is rare for me. That’s likely because neither character felt particularly trustworthy or likable, in my opinion. That feeling panned out, to a degree, because one of the characters was revealed to be an unreliable narrator.

The questions I mentioned having were all answered satisfactorily, except one: the anonymous letters. Given the content of the letters, I was expecting something thrilling and frightening  to be revealed. But it was just kind of meh, which was a disappointment.

The event that kicked off the story, and what eventually followed, was pretty good. It didn’t blow my mind, but it wrapped up the story nicely. That said, they were pieces of the story (not to mention characters) that I wish had been fleshed out a bit more. Some things were too vague, and a couple of characters felt one dimensional despite having the possibility of being very intriguing and/or a bigger player in the overall story.

Despite having some disappointments, I enjoyed reading this book. I’ll probably read this author again in the future.

I received an advance reading copy of this book courtesy of Bookouture via Netgalley.

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Author: S.D. Monaghan
Title: The Family at Number 13
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Publication Date: April 27, 2018 by Bookouture
Rating: 3 stars

About the Book

The most perfect lives can hide the darkest secrets…

Mary has everything. Beautiful and rich, she lives on an exclusive street in the heart of the city, in a house with gorgeous views and an immaculately maintained garden. Her life looks perfect.

But behind closed doors the truth is very different. Her husband Andrew barely speaks to her, spending his days down in the basement alone. Her teenage nephew is full of rage, lashing out with no warning. Her carefully constructed life is beginning to fall apart.

And then someone starts sending Mary anonymous notes, threatening her and her family…

Everyone has secrets. But is someone at number 13 hiding something that could put the whole family in danger?

About the Author

S. D. MONOGHAN grew up in Dublin before travelling extensively in Asia, Europe and America. After teaching English in Thailand for two years, he moved back to Ireland and gained an honours degree in psychology. While living in Canada for four years, he studied screenwriting in Toronto. S. D. Monaghan completed the Masters in Creative Writing at Trinity College, Dublin.