Review: House of Correction by Nicci French

Title: House of Correction

Author: Nicci French

Published: 27th October 2029, William Morrow

Status: Read October 2020 courtesy William Morrow/Edelweiss


My Thoughts:

House of Correction is the latest standalone thriller from husband and wife writing team, Nicci French.

“She wanted to say: this isn’t real. I’m not one of you. I don’t belong here.”

Accused of murder and remanded to prison when the body of a man is found in her garden shed, Tabitha Hardy is certain the authorities will quickly realise their mistake and let her go. When her court-appointed lawyer explains that the police believe they have the evidence to convict her and advises Tabitha to plead to manslaughter with diminished responsibility, Tabitha fires her, determined to prove her own innocence.

Proving her case seems impossible, Tabitha has a history with the dead man that ostensibly gives her a motive, and no real alibi, her memories of the day are indistinct, lost to the fog of her depression. Impulsive, with few interpersonal skills, Tabitha is her own worst enemy as she tries to make sense of the evidence, and search for witnesses to help her.

French has a talent for devising complex characters, and Tabitha is a complicated young woman. Not particularly likeable or trustworthy initially, she is the sort of character that grows on you. She’s a loner, not very self-aware, and instinctively aggressive but also determined, and forthright and I could not help but admire her by the end.

There in fact few likeable characters among the cast. Several of the villagers are wholly unpleasant, others are revealed as opportunistic or weak. Tabitha’s only real support comes from her monosyllabic cellmate, who is released before Tabitha’s trial begins, and plays a surprising role in court.

The mystery is certainly compelling, cleverly plotted this one is not easily guessed. The claustrophobic settings of the prison and courthouse, and the ‘ticking clock’ heighten the suspense, though the start is a little slow. The story is quite grim at times, but also darkly funny, especially during the latter half of the story.

I found House of Correction to be a gripping and entertaining read, though I think it will have both its fans and detractors,


Available from William Morrow

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

Also by Nicci French reviewed at Book’d Out 

7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Monika @ Lovely Bookshelf
    Oct 29, 2020 @ 07:45:04

    Ohhh unlikable characters make for some interesting reads. I might have to give this one a try.

    Liked by 1 person


  2. Helen Murdoch
    Oct 29, 2020 @ 15:01:20

    I haven’t read this author before and I am not sure how good I am with unlikable characters. Maybe I’ll try one of her other books first.

    Liked by 1 person


  3. Theresa Smith Writes
    Oct 30, 2020 @ 00:20:01

    On my tbr! Great review.

    Liked by 1 person


  4. Grab the Lapels
    Oct 30, 2020 @ 01:25:21

    I really enjoy a book with unlikable characters if they are realistic. I just finished a novel in which you’re rooting for this priest the whole time, but NOTHING about him is redeemable. He’s controlling and mistrusting of anyone unlike him. But still. Sounds like this book was fun!

    Liked by 1 person


  5. 1girl2manybooks
    Oct 30, 2020 @ 14:40:23

    I enjoyed this one a lot!

    Liked by 1 person


  6. Trackback: It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? | book'd out
  7. Izabel Brekilien
    Nov 03, 2020 @ 21:25:13

    I have 3 books by Nicci French on my shelf right in front of me, I hope I’ll be able to get to them soon, great review 🙂

    Liked by 1 person


I want to know what you think! Your comments are appreciated.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s