Review: The Heights by Louise Candlish

 

Title: The Heights

Author: Louise Candlish

Published: 2nd June 2021, Simon & Schuster

Status: Read June 2021 courtesy Simon & Schuster Australia 

++++++

 

My Thoughts:

 

The Heights is a slow-burn psychological thriller exploring obsession, vengeance and justice from Louise Candlish.

Ellen Saint is stunned when, from a clients window, she sees a familiar figure on the roof terrace of a neighbouring building. It should be impossible, the man who broke her heart is dead. She knows this, because she is the one who killed him.

Presented in four parts, parts one and three are a first person account from Ellen Saint, taken from her to-be-published manuscript. Ellen paints herself as a happy wife to Justin, and adoring mother of 12 year-old daughter Freya, and her 17 year-old son from her previous relationship, Lucas. Lucas, a bright, responsible student, is in his final year at his private school when he is asked to mentor a new disadvantaged enrollee, Kieran Watts. Ellen’s introduction to Kieran leaves her feeling vaguely uncomfortable but that feeling soon turns to loathing as Lucas transforms into a rebellious, sullen teen more interested in partying than studying. It’s clear that this situation is not going to end well and Candlish skilfully builds and maintains the tension as the inevitable tragedy draws near.

Ellen may be a little high strung, but Candlish’s portrayal of her spiralling anxiety felt authentic to me. As a parent I could empathise with Ellen’s concern for her son, and her dislike of what she perceives to be the negative influence of Kieran. To be honest I once found myself in a similar circumstance, and I was at a loss as how to deal with it appropriately. I didn’t begrudge Ellen her fear, frustration or anger, especially given how the situation unfolded, even if I can’t condone her actions.

Parts two and four are presented from the third person viewpoint of Ellen’s ex partner, and Lucas’s father, Vic. Despite their separation, he and Ellen have remained close, and it’s Vic that Ellen turns to most often as Lucas’s behaviour worsens. Vic’s perspective of the situation is somewhat different to Ellen’s though, throwing some doubt on the veracity of her account. It’s a clever way to counter the established narrative, and surprise the reader with a few twists.

Carefully plotted, and with provocative characters, I found The Heights to be a gripping read, blurring the line between justice and vengeance.

++++++

Available from Simon & Schuster

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6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #SundayPost #SundaySalon | book'd out
  2. Laurel-Rain Snow
    Jun 28, 2021 @ 23:21:07

    I have been eyeing this book. Thanks for the great review.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  3. sydneyeditor1
    Jun 29, 2021 @ 20:30:49

    I don’t know this title, but it sounds thoroughly engrossing — I like the contrasts between Vic & Ellen’s POVs.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  4. Book of Secrets
    Jun 30, 2021 @ 10:23:36

    Sounds very good! I enjoy her thrillers. I was confused for a moment and thought that maybe this book was The Other Passenger with a different title. Nope! The Other Passenger releases in the US next month, and The Heights comes out next year. She’s prolific!

    Like

    Reply

  5. Mystica
    Jun 30, 2021 @ 17:16:30

    Thank you for the review. An author I’ve read just once before.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

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