The Boy at the Keyhole: A Novel
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Hanover Square Press; Original edition (September 4, 2018)
Just in time for Halloween, The Boy in the Keyhole by Stephen Giles delivers just the right amount of creepy Gothic suspense to keep you reading past your bedtime.
The plot is this: 9-year-old Samuel is all alone in a giant old manor house in Surrey with only his housekeeper, Ruth. His father is dead and his mother has disappeared – presumably out of the country settling her husband’s affairs after his death. However, she has been gone for over a hundred days with no word, not even a goodbye to her son.
Ruth’s iron-fisted rule over the house is noted by the townspeople, but truly only understood by Samuel. As he endures Ruth’s rules, Samuel begins to suspect that something more sinister is afoot – that perhaps his mother isn’t traveling abroad, but has instead been murdered.
This is a psychological thriller with a terrific final act that will make you sleep with the lights on! I highly recommend this debut novel by Stephen Giles.
“Nightmarish…so adeptly constructed and controlled that Ruth becomes a chilling study in ambiguity. Like Laird Koenig’s cult classic The Little Girl Who Lives down the Lane, this novel dramatically tests the limits of youthful innocence when faced with adult mendacity.”—Publishers Weekly
“A psychological puzzle with its roots in Du Maurier and other gothic fiction…Giles creates a mystery rife with slowly unspooling tension…Subtle and haunting.”—Kirkus Reviews
“A neat little thriller with enough red herrings and clever ambiguities to keep the pages turning on the way to a disturbing, surprise ending.”—Booklist