Review: The Suicide House by Charlie Donlea

Title: The Suicide House {Rory Moore/Lane Phillips #2}

Author: Charlie Donlea

Published: July 28th 2020, Kensington

Status: Read July 2020, courtesy Kensington/Netgalley


My Thoughts:

The Suicide House is the second book from Charlie Donlea to feature forensic reconstructionist Rory Moore, and her partner, psychologist Lane Phillips. It follows The Woman in Darkness (also published as Some Choose Darkness), though it can be read as a stand alone.

“Welcome . . . to The Suicide House.”

It’s been a year since two students were murdered on the grounds of an exclusive prep school in Indiana, and though a chemistry teacher was convicted for the crime, his attempted suicide means there are questions that have never been answered.

The mystery surrounding the gruesome slayings, and a subsequent string of related suicides, attracts the professional attention of an investigative reporter/blogger, Ryder Hillier, a podcast host, Mack Carter, and eventually Lane and Rory.

The story unfolds from multiple perspectives over two timelines, and includes journal entries, transcripts and flashbacks. Surprisingly, Lane and Rory’s entry into the story comes quite late so at first I was a little puzzled by their absence. Rory in particular is such a unique and interesting character I was worried she would be sidelined in this mystery, and though that concern eventually proved unfounded, the resolution is very much as a result of a team effort.

The plot is complex though all threads lead to the reveal of what really happened on the night when the students were killed at the abandoned boarding house. Much of the foundation of the story is provided by Ryder and Mack, though the scene of the murder is introduced by an investigating detective. The two murdered teens were part of a larger group of pupils taking part in a traditional initiation challenge, tied to the supernatural legend of ‘The Man in the Mirror’, to be admitted to a campus ‘secret’ society. The police determined that the chemistry teacher, who had been a target of the society’s pranks, killed the boys in a fit of rage but there are inconsistencies that seem to preclude such a neat resolution, hence the involvement of Rory, who is often capable of seeing what other investigators do not. Donlea skilfully develops several red herrings and alternate suspects that draw attention away from the killer so that their identity is obscured until the characters themselves begin to make the connections.

An engrossing mystery with an atmospheric setting and interesting characters I enjoyed The Suicide House.


Available from Kensington

Or from your preferred retailer via Booko I Book Depository I Indiebound


Also by Charlie Donlea reviewed at Book’d Out 


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Heather @ Random Redheaded Ramblings
    Jul 31, 2020 @ 19:50:08

    Thanks for sharing, I’m really getting in to crime books at the moment, I shall add this to my list!

    Liked by 1 person


  2. Trackback: It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #SundayPost #SundaySalon | book'd out
  3. Anne - Books of My Heart
    Aug 23, 2020 @ 06:31:23

    I enjoyed this one even more than you did. You are right about the beginning feeling a bit odd with Rory and Lane not involved. The last book was that way also. I felt like I got a little more of Lane which was great.

    I listened to the audio version.

    Liked by 1 person


  4. carhicks
    Aug 24, 2020 @ 00:34:59

    Great review Shelleyrae. I just recently read the first book in this series and am looking forward to reading this one, it sounds just as good and intriguing. I am hoping to find the audiobook version if I can.

    Liked by 1 person


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