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Cover for The Crooked House

The Crooked House

A Novel

Christobel Kent


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Other Editions of This Title:
Digital Audiobook (1/11/2016)


In the chilling tradition of Daphne du Maurier and with the acuity of Kate Atkinson comes a haunting, psychological thriller about one woman’s search for the truth about her past through a closed community full of dark secrets.

Alison is as close to anonymous as you can get: she has no ties and no home, and her only anchors are her boyfriend and her small backroom job in publishing. Which is exactly how she wants it. Because once, Alison was a teenager named Esme who lived in a remote, dilapidated house by a bleary estuary with her parents and three siblings. One night something terrible happened in the family’s crooked house, leaving Alison the only survivor. In trying to escape its horror, she moves away from the village, changes her name, and cuts herself off from her past.

An invitation to a wedding in her hometown, however, brings her back for the first time since she fled. And soon Alison realizes that the events of that night left their awful mark not just on her but on the entire village, and she begins to suspect that all the residents might somehow be implicated in her family’s murder.

Praise For The Crooked House: A Novel

“Compulsive, unsettling and scary as hell.”—Sunday Mirror (London)

“A taut psychological thriller, loaded with mood, and a puzzle tricky enough to keep you guessing to the final page....Kent’s book is a delightful reminder that absorbing and clever crime novels still exist.”—The Washington Post

“A weird, excellent literary thriller, equal parts psychological profile and twisty, nasty plot.”—Carmen Maria Machado, NPR

“A chilling psychological thriller featuring a claustrophobic English seaside town, a heroine the sole survivor of a family massacre, and her intriguing relationship with an older, slightly dominating man....Comparisons to Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca are apt.” —Victoria Caplinger, Library Journal (starred review)

The Crooked House is a high-strung thriller set in a small community unwilling to acknowledge a past....Christobel Kent writes with assurance, pulling emotion from her characters and readers alike, and keeping the tension high. She has a rare knack for the eerie.” —Book Reporter

"A suspenseful ride with a gutsy heroine."—Publishers Weekly

“Demands to be devoured in one sitting.”—Joanne Finney, Good Housekeeping (London)

“A Daphne du Maurier set-up, but updated, influenced by Agatha Christie, too, and transposed to the coastal Suffolk of P. D. James. While Kent handles her mystery plot and large ensemble adroitly, what is most memorable is the atmosphere of the novel’s estuarine world, where everything seems muddy, shifting and treacherous.”—John Dugdale, The Sunday Times (London)

“A tense, gripping thriller, and utterly compulsive. I loved it.”—S. J. Watson, author of Before I Go to Sleep

Picador, 9781250117908, 368pp.

Publication Date: January 10, 2017

About the Author

Christobel Kent was born in London and grew up in London and Essex, including a stint on the Essex coast on a Thames barge with three siblings and four step-siblings, before reading English at Cambridge. She has worked in publishing and TEFL teaching, and has lived in Modena, in northern Italy, and in Florence. She has written several novels set in Italy, including The Drowning River and A Murder in Tuscany, and lives in Cambridge with her husband and five children.