Book Review – THE RED HOUSE by Emily Winslow

The Red House by Emily WinslowThe Red House Synopsis :

Maxwell is living his worst nightmare when he begins to question whether his fiancée Imogen is his own blood sister, separated by adoption. A visit to Imogen’s birthplace in Cambridge stirs up déjà vu that intensifies his fears.

While Detective Chief Inspector Morris Keene languishes at home, struggling with a debilitating injury and post-traumatic stress, his former partner Detective Inspector Chloe Frohmann is following a suicide case in which Morris’ daughter Dora is suspected of assisting the death.

When buried skeletons are discovered next to an old barn, the suicide is linked back to Imogen’s childhood, revealing horrors of the past and new dangers in the present. (Allison & Busby)


Reviewing books, particularly fiction, is such a personal thing. I often wonder whether our response to fiction, or any art for that matter, can actually say more about the audience than the work itself. Or perhaps the beauty of it is just that, that the two concepts are inextricably linked – one of those chicken or egg situations?

It is not just that we can read the same words and take away different meaning — we each bring our own interests, experiences and thus personalities to the equation. In any social gathering there will be people we click with and others we won’t, and the same is true in literature.

When I first read the work of Emily Winslow back in 2013 I immediately connected with her writing style.

The Start of Everything by Emily Winslow has the artistry of literature, the grittiness of a best-selling crime thriller, the complexity of an academic puzzle and characters you will not easily forget. I look forward to reading anything this author publishes in the future.

Two years later, I could practically hear ‘the click’ as I began her latest release The Red House.

Winslow quickly establishes the tensions and foreboding, backs this up with grisly findings and introduces us to key characters that will feature in the drama about to unfold. I was hooked before finishing the prologue.

Once again, Winslow’s depiction of settings within Cambridge and its surrounds transports the reader. It evokes both a sense of timelessness to be admired but also a feeling that the characters cannot escape a future that has been shaped by actions of others in the past.

In The Red House Winslow employs the same alternating first person narrative structure that I found so successful in the past.

Why does it work so well? Because this framework draws out the point I raised earlier about each individual being preconditioned to view the same circumstances in a different light. Hearing the same event/interaction described by different characters affords the audience a deeper understanding and appreciation of both the events and the characters themselves. It also gives Winslow the means to explore nuance of character and the complexity of the mystery surrounding The Red House, while at the same time building suspense and keeping the reader on their toes.

‘We have to sing tomorrow,’ I remind him. I want it, that feeling of being inside a note that fractures into a chord so beautiful that you wouldn’t mind breaking into pieces yourself.

If comparing this novel with The Start of Everything, I would have to say I did not feel quite the same level of affinity with the characters in this outing. However the artistry of prose and use of juxtaposition and symbolism within The Red House are first class.

If you are looking for a high quality literary thriller, in my humble opinion you need look no further than the work of Emily Winslow.

BOOK RATING: The Story 4 / 5 ; The Writing 4.5 / 5

Get your copy from:
Scribd (1 Month Free Trial)Book Depository | KoboBooktopia(Aus) | Amazon

Genre: Crime-Detective, Thriller, Mystery, Drama

Author Information: 

Emily Winslow is an American living in Cambridge, and her books are set here and surrounding areas. She trained as an actress at Carnegie Mellon’s elite drama conservatory, which inspired her use of multiple first-person narrators, and her years designing puzzles for magazines inform her playful, complex plot structures. She lives in an award-winning architectural wonder and she and her husband homeschool their two sons. Follow her on Twitter: @emilycwinslow or visit her website:

– Read ‘The story behind The Red House by Emily Winslow’ at UPCOMING4.ME

Other reviews of The Red House: The Bookbag, Goodreads

* My receiving a copy of this book from Allison & Busby for review purposes did not impact the expression of my honest opinions in the review above.