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
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  • Published in USA  Apr 2015
    400 pages
    Genre: Thrillers

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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.

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Reviews

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

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Reader Reviews

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Melissa

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

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Author Information

Brendan Duffy

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

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