Sunday, January 9, 2011

Confused, but Sexy

The Devil's Staircase
by Helen Fitzgerald

Genre; Fiction/Drama/Suspense
Publisher; Polygon/Edinburgh/2009
Pages; 217
ISBN; 978-1-84697-045-0

Plot; It all starts when Bronny, a young Australian girl, and her backpacker friends decide to break into a vacant townhouse in London.

Bronny has come to London, spare of the moment, to escape a part of her life which she considers to be tying her down. She is faced by the question; will she live, or die? Which is more than she is prepared to handle when she leaves the doctors office, grabs a taxi and goes directly to the airport with no thought of the family she is leaving behind, or even the lack of clothes she is travelling with.

In London, Bronny and her friends work as cleaners, pool attendants and bartenders, while at night they turn to an oblivion of sex and drugs.

The house they squat in becomes the epicenter of all their adventures, and, for a while, Bronny is happier that she ever thought she could be.

The sex, the drugs and the happiness all start to blur when noises from the basement start to haunt Bronny.

They are not alone in the house.

My Thoughts; In my opinion, this book is confused. It tries to be a thriller, it tries to be a coming of age tale, it tries to be an unlikely heroic story. It has a go at being all three and fails on all counts.

It isn't a bad book, it is entertaining at times, but it didn't grip me like I had hoped it would.

Bronny, the main character, is likable enough. You feel for her in her predicament and you can definitely have a laugh with her as she faces different experiences. I just couldn't relate to her in any way, and I found it difficult to believe her naivety at times, particularly when compared to decisions she makes throughout the book.

My real problem with this book is the ending. I will do my best not to give too much away, but to me the end didn't match with the book as a whole.

I think the book would have worked better if it had gone either way. If it had either been Bronny's story of dealing with her dilemma, or the basement thriller. Instead this book started as a coming of age, dealing with a personal crisis, drama and ended with a big action and suspense sequence. For me, this didn't work.

This book is A Walk to Remember, meets EuroTrip, meets Wolf Creek. If this sounds like an unlikely grouping to you, then I don't think this is a book you will enjoy. But, if you like a bit of quirk, give it a go and let me know your thoughts.

Happy Reading!

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