Well bloody hell! What a book!
I’ve never opened a review with a swear word but this title has literally blown me away! I couldn’t stop reading it (and trust me when I say that it’s been a while since that happened!) and the twists were phenomenal!
Let’s start with the plot; a lonely man takes in homeless girls when they need it the most. Nothing seems too sinister, until you realise this book is written by a thriller writer known for his guts and gore narrative and that the main character is really struggling with mental health difficulties.
As the plot thickens you see the lead character struggle with sleep, self regulation and balancing of emotions and as a reader you try to put together the pieces of the puzzle in front of you which are laid out with snippets of what can only be described as dark poetry. There’s talks of “being inside” and a lot of death and pain, which made me think that he had been in prison and perhaps was a criminal who had escalated in to a serial killer.and that rather than helping vulnerable women he was preying on them.
The plot actually develops over several twists and turns and becomes a true game of cat and mouse and toward the end, you have literally no idea who is the cat and who is the unfortunate mouse.
Honestly I thought the second to last chapter was going to be a happily ever after and hoped that all my instincts had been wrong, as they had been previously, but it turns out the last chapter totally changed everything. It was intense!
The Girl Downstairs is truly a magnificent read and I can’t believe I haven’t come across Maitland’s books before! I’m intrigued to follow him as an author and I really enjoyed his writing style and the characters he creates. Well worth a read!
About the Author
Iain Maitland is the author of three previous psych thrillers, The Scribbler (2020), Mr Todd’s Reckoning (2019) and Sweet William (2017), all published by Contraband, an imprint of Saraband. Mr Todd’s Reckoning is coming to the big screen in 2023. Iain is also the author of two memoirs, Dear Michael, Love Dad (Hodder, 2016), a book of letters written to his eldest son who experienced depression and anorexia, and (co-authored with Michael) Out Of The Madhouse (Jessica Kingsley, 2018). He is also an Ambassador for Stem4, the teenage mental health charity. He talks regularly about mental health issues in schools and colleges and workplaces.