This book is very intriguing, to say the least. I can not begin without making it clear that life can certainly become twisted, tangled, and complicated quickly, and especially when secrets are involved. At the end of the book, my reaction was; “Talk about a nightmare!”
The book begins with a pretty simple idea; five people have “won” a place as interns with a publishing company for a two year period. These five people do not meet until showing up for work, at which point seeing as how they are all in the same boat; fresh out of Uni, new job, new city, and looking for places to live, they begin to bond. Soon they discover how expensive living will be and decide to pool their money, buy a house, and split the mortgage. It is brilliant as they can share rides to work, and hopefully get some money out of the investment when it is time to move on. It just sounds so simple and smart. Who would not applaud their sense of responsibility, financial savvy, and wherewithal? But in reality what do they know about each other?
Set in Bristol in 1988, the Five purchase a house in an up and coming neighborhood. The issues begin when the mortgage begins to increase on an almost monthly basis, making it harder and harder to meet. The neighbors are certainly not fans of these young kids and their loud music and pranks. It moves quickly to disaster when they discover a dead body in their basement a few days after their New Year’s eve party. Being part of a generation that believes the police can not be trusted, they come up with a solution to the issue of what to do with a dead body in the basement, and from that point on it is a situation of the roommates from hell.
The book is really well written, keeps you on the edge and leaves you amazed that anything ever works out. In addition to the tension in the book (something I enjoy), I was pleased to find that Johnson ended the book with information about where the housemates ended up 29 years later. Let me wrap this up by saying: Wow, that was intense, scary, surprising and so worth the read!