The Boy at the Keyhole

Stephen Giles. Hanover Square, $25.99 (272p) ISBN 978-1-335-65292-8
In Giles’s nightmarish first novel for adults, after the children’s novel The Death (and Further Adventures) of Silas Winterbottom: The Body Thief, nine-year-old Samuel Clay lives on an estate in Cornwall, England, with only the tyrannical housekeeper, Ruth Tupper, for company. Samuel’s mother, a widow, has gone to America to take care of her late husband’s business, having left at night without saying goodbye to Samuel. She does, however, send him postcards from America. But after four months, Samuel, who misses his mother, has begun to get ideas in his head (thanks to his hyper-imaginative schoolmate, Joseph): maybe his mother’s been murdered by Ruth, who buried her body in the basement and has been getting a confederate in America to send those postcards to him. The more closely he observes Ruth, who perhaps has secrets to hide, the more firmly he comes to believe that his suspicions are true. But it’s not until he actively begins to search for proof that Ruth’s behavior really begins to seem suspicious. Told entirely from Samuel’s point of view, the novel is so adeptly constructed and controlled that Ruth becomes a chilling study in ambiguity. Like Laird Koenig’s cult classic The Little Girl Who Lives down the Lane, this novel dramatically tests the limits of youthful innocence when faced with adult mendacity. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/02/2018
Release date: 09/04/2018
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-1-335-00546-5
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-1-335-00551-9
Library Binding - 500 pages - 978-1-64358-017-3
Compact Disc - 978-1-9825-4322-8
Compact Disc - 978-1-9825-4321-1
MP3 CD - 978-1-9825-4323-5
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