House of Echoes: Book summary and reviews of House of Echoes by Brendan Duffy

House of Echoes

A Novel

by Brendan Duffy

House of Echoes by Brendan Duffy X
House of Echoes by Brendan Duffy
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' rating:

  • Published in USA  Apr 2015
    400 pages
    Genre: Thrillers

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book

Buy This Book

About this book

Book Summary

In this enthralling and atmospheric thriller, one young family's dream of a better life is about to become a nightmare.

Ben and Caroline Tierney and their two young boys are hoping to start over. Ben has hit a dead end with his new novel, Caroline has lost her banking job, and eight-year-old Charlie is being bullied at his Manhattan school.
When Ben inherits land in the village of Swannhaven, in a remote corner of upstate New York, the Tierneys believe it's just the break they need, and they leave behind all they know to restore a sprawling estate. But as Ben uncovers Swannhaven's chilling secrets and Charlie ventures deeper into the surrounding forest, strange things begin to happen. The Tierneys realize that their new home isn't the fresh start they needed...and that the village's haunting saga is far from over.

House of Echoes is a novel that shows how sometimes the ties that bind us are the only things that can keep us whole.

Read an excerpt

Read a Sample

Click to the right or left of the sample to turn the page.
(If no book jacket appears in a few seconds, then we don't have an excerpt of this book or your browser is unable to display it)

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!


Media Reviews

"Starred Review. This unsettling, atmospheric tale is right up the alley of those who enjoyed Jennifer McMahon's Winter People; and the shared appeal with Stephen King's The Shining is undeniable." - Booklist

"Starred Review. A fluid, suspenseful yet subtle thriller, with touches of humor, evocative writing, and characters that are both familiar and uniquely fascinating. A wonderfully tense and heart-wrenching debut." - Kirkus

Brendan Duffy's House of Echoes is one of those wonderful stories that come along only once in a while, a beautifully nuanced and riveting family drama set within a terrifying landscape that has you turning pages long past bed time." - Carla Buckley, author of The Deepest Secret

The information about House of Echoes shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Reader Reviews

Write your own review


The next Stephen King?
I don't really like to compare authors, but I can't help but think that Brendan Duffy may be the next Stephen King. House of Echoes was drenched in the atmosphere of its setting, a sprawling house from the Colonial period located above a strange and unwelcoming village, bordered by an isolated forest and difficult-to-navigate mountain roads. The last place to exude such presence was perhaps King's Overlook Hotel from The Shining. Now, add to that sense of place a troubled marriage, mental illness, a child who follows something strange into the woods, and macabre items left for discovery, and there are all of the ingredients for a chilling novel of believable horror. I was transported back to the 1980's when I was a teen and sat on my bed reading "scary books" all day long. Keep an eye out for Brendan Duffy!

Lisa E. (Naugatuck, CT)

House of Echos
House of Echos is a dark and enjoyable debut from Brendan Duffy: a gothic style mystery that has excellent pacing with subtle clues that can be easily missed, and those are my favorite kind. Brendan Duffy leaves us the tiniest of bread crumbs as we read, leading us little by little to the heart of his creepy tale. There is a constant feeling that something ominous is quietly lurking behind every page. Duffy never lets us get too comfortable. There are no tricks and no gimmicks here, just good, old-fashioned storytelling. You know something is not quite right, but just like the character of Ben, it's easier to ignore it and just press on. This was highly readable, perfectly paced, had well-developed, and didn't try any funny stuff. Good job, Brendan Duffy. You're one to watch!

Mary M. (Lexington, KY)

Scary Good
This book had a little of everything suspense, family drama, mystery and history together they made a great book. There is a sense of foreboding from the first pages. You know something isn't right but you don't know what it is. The author really takes his time telling the story and building the suspense. You don't know who is dangerous and who can be trusted. It is only in the last pages that all is revealed and it is worth the wait. I really enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more books from this author.

Barbara C. (Fountain hills, AZ)

Cold and creepymystery
House of Echoes surely does echo a creepy, mysterious, voice from the past. Although you cannot quite put your finger on why this book has hidden things going on, you early on realizes that things are all not as they should be in this idyllic setting. The letters from Bess to Kathy, as well as the dead animals scattered around are harbinger of some mysterious stuff going on. Caroline, the wife, also exhibits actions not exactly normal. You get the feeling that the townfolks are a bit spooky and creepy, but it is just a feeling - at this point. Duffy's description of the cold, snow and ice make you want to turn up the heat. He does a great job creating a winter atmosphere. Besides being a page-turning mystery, House of Echoes is also the story of a family - father, mother and two young sons where the mother obviously has some mental problems. Ultimately, the family, though the horror and desperation of the climax, realize the true meaning of family and importance of life. The book is a page-turner, and is fun to read.

Darcy C. (San Diego, CA)

Good Story - Great Descriptions!
I couldn't wait to get this book - and I was not dissatisfied. There was a good amount of suspense for my taste (I wanted even more.) On a scale of 1 to 10, the creep factor is a 7. I won't summarize the plot, but merely mention different scenes (without spoilers): I wish the book explored more of why Mom decided to destroy parts of the home. I would've liked more follow-up to her "hearing" things which led to her acting irrational with a deadly tool. I thought the use of the forest and of a thing-in-the-forest created great suspense, especially the butchered animals. Gross, but really effective. (I think I might have been holding my breath at these times in the book.) They provided a real sense of impending menace. It was Duffy's descriptive sentences I loved the most. I loved reading: "You always hid razors in your words, Benji." And the simple description of: "A hand tapped his leg..." gave me crazy goose-bumps! I love books that make me work for the end -- when I can't guess the ending. You will enjoy this spine-chilling book. I am already waiting for Brendan Duffy's next book – I hope it's even creepier!

Marianne S. (Ulysses, KS)

Creepy Old House and Young Family
This sounds like a familiar story, and but the author makes it original. A young family buys a huge, rundown house in a sparsely populated area in the mountains north of New York City. The wife has some serious mental problems. The people in the area are weird and creepy. All of the characters are well developed, especially the main one. The setting is wonderfully developed in an eerie way. I felt like I was there. The plot had some surprises and I definitely didn't want to put the book down until I finished.

...16 more reader reviews

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Author Information

Brendan Duffy

Brendan Duffy is an editor. He lives in New York, where he is at work on his second novel.

More Author Information

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

More Recommendations

Readers Also Browsed . . .

more thrillers...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Beekeeper of Aleppo
    The Beekeeper of Aleppo
    by Christy Lefteri
    In Christy Lefteri's sophomore novel, The Beekeeper of Aleppo, the author introduces readers to ...
  • Book Jacket: Marilou Is Everywhere
    Marilou Is Everywhere
    by Sarah Elaine Smith
    "The point is that at that moment in my life," writes the narrator of Sarah Elaine Smith's debut ...
  • Book Jacket: Let's Call It a Doomsday
    Let's Call It a Doomsday
    by Katie Henry
    However the world will end, Ellis Kimball is ready for it. Her obsessive stash of survivalist ...
  • Book Jacket: The Winemaker's Wife
    The Winemaker's Wife
    by Kristin Harmel
    Liv Kent's world is falling apart. After 12 years of marriage, her husband has decided he's done, ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Secrets We Kept
    by Lara Prescott

    Reese Witherspoon's Sept Book Club Pick!
    "This is the rare page-turner with prose that’s as wily as its plot."—EW
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Yale Needs Women
    by Anne Gardiner Perkins

    A tale of courage in the face of arrogance that remains eerily relevant on U.S. campuses today.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club
Book Jacket
The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek
by Kim Michele Richardson

A story of raw courage, fierce strength, and one woman's belief that books can carry us anywhere.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Chase Darkness with Me

How One True-Crime Writer Started Solving Murders

Have you ever wanted to solve a murder? Gather the clues the police overlooked? Put together the pieces? Identify the suspect?


Word Play

Solve this clue:

S S A C A Big S

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.