Review | The Homecoming, Andrew Pyper

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This book blew my mind. Halfway through The Homecoming, I tweeted:

It’s 9:28 PM. I’m at 56% of The Homecoming. Do I:

  • Read on (So exciting!!)
  • Stop (Nightmares!!)

And that was pretty much my frame of mind throughout most of the book. I tried switching to a different book to avoid having nightmares, found myself unable to concentrate because I really, really wanted to keep reading The Homecoming, and finally at the 61% mark, I chickened out completely and burrowed under the covers, trying to think of anything but the story. The last time I remember being this affected by a book is, fittingly enough, another Andrew Pyper title, The Guardians. I’ve read other unputdownable books since The Guardians, so I might be misremembering, but this at least puts The Homecoming at my absolute favourite or second-favourite Andrew Pyper books ever.

The set-up for The Homecoming is absolutely my kind of atmospheric thriller: a controlling but absentee man has died, and his family has to stay in the same house for a month, isolated from all forms of outside contact, in order to claim their massive inheritance. It’s a set-up straight out of an Agatha Christie novel, and for a while, I expected one of the family members to murder another, and a third family member stepping up as amateur detective, And Then There Were None-style.

Except of course, this being an Andrew Pyper novel, things got quite a bit weirder and more twisted than I anticipated. Family members all having the same dream of a boat, alien music and drowning, for example. Mysterious figures in the woods. A doorway to an old campsite with violent messages graffitied to the walls. Things go wrong, and what I love about this is that everything that could be supernatural could also have a realistic explanation. The story is incredibly frightening, horrifying, terrifying — and I feel the need to include all those words because I went back and forth through an entire range of emotions while reading this book — and throughout it all, there’s this undercurrent of disquiet that just had me going “WTF” the entire time.

The best part for me is that all the scary bits are framed by this incredibly rich and complex family drama. The characters come to terms with how they feel about the man who died, and how they feel about all the stuff they’re learning about each other and about their family as they’re trapped in this house. So for all the fear this story raised in me, I also found it incredibly moving and emotional. I cared deeply for these characters, and the big reveal was more tragic than I could ever have anticipated.

And finally, I love how the book took on a bit of a sci fi twist. Like all good sci fi, even the more outlandish parts of this book are rooted in reality. And no matter how messed up the big reveal is in itself, the truly chilling thing about it is that its logic is believable. I can actually see why someone would do such things and, more horrific, I can actually see why some may consider such actions in service of a greater good.

This book is brilliant. Read it.

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Thank you to Simon and Schuster Canada and Netgalley for an egalley of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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