Title: Leave The Lights On
Name: Egan Hughes
Publisher: Little Brown UK
Genre: Psychological thriller
Date of publication: 27 May 2021
Format reviewed: e-ARC
Number of pages: 386
Their new ‘smart home’ is Joe’s dream. A remote cottage where everything – from the lighting to the locks – is controlled through an app. It’s the perfect blend of old-world charm and modern convenience. What better place for them to escape after all Lauren’s trauma?
Lauren desperately wants Joe to be happy after all she’s put him through, so she doesn’t tell him how much she hates being so dependent on technology. How vulnerable it makes them.
Then ‘the incidents’ begin.
Joe thinks Lauren is the victim of her own fevered imagination. But Lauren can’t be sure. She doesn’t believe in ghosts, but she also knows the past rarely stays buried. And she is haunted by one question:
Is their past finally catching up with them?
Leave The Lights On does its job and it does it perfectly.
Joe’s baby is his “smart home” Imagine not having to find your keys for your house’s front door to open. That would definitely help those of us who can never remember where the darn keys are!
It’s a different matter for his wife Lauren. She was perfectly happy renovating the cottage with no technology involved. All she needed was Joe, her easel and paint, and her dog. But she wants Joe to be happy, and what makes him happy is to control his house via his phone. So she keeps it to herself. At first…
What do you think of smart homes? It’s a big no for me… says the woman who is connected via her Fitbit and controls her printer through her WIFI connection. Alright, basic technology is now part of our lives, we can’t deny it. I draw the line at the Alexas and Google home machines who make me feel like someone is spying on me. That’s probably why I took Lauren’s side from the very beginning. The flawless and anxiety-inducing writing did the rest and before I knew it, I could not tear myself away from the book.
Lauren and Joe have settled and now wish to make the house their comfy safe home. All is well, despite Lauren’s feelings towards the house being able to boil water on its own or switch on and off lights in a room when you enter. Except not all is well. Even if I could understand Lauren’s reluctance, the undertone of her words and thoughts made me wonder why she was so anxious.
When strange things began to happen, I picked rationality. A glitch from the house. A shadow that would have frightened Lauren. Easy explanations were rife. When things escalated, I started to doubt. The beauty – and the darkness – of this book lies in the fact I did not simply doubt my assumptions, but also the characters, and even the place. My down-to-earth approach was challenged by a very ominous feeling enhanced by the gorgeous creepiness oozing from the chapters.
Funnily enough, while everything was against Lauren, even her husband, I could not stop thinking she was right. But how? Why? The reader is drip-fed information about what led Lauren and Joe to the cottage and why each of them behave the way they do. Again, I found myself believing in Lauren, fuming when mental illness was used to explain her fears. Egan Hughes cleverly builds an insanely intense plot like a chimney fire, adding one log after the other, slowly and with purpose, until it gets so warm and dangerous that you suffocate and burn yourself.
Do you like suspecting people? I do, and with this book, there was plenty to do! The more I read, the less I knew who to trust. Leave The Lights On feels so realistic I got goosebumps on more than one occasion. I got jumpy, I got riled up, and the many red herrings made me feel I was losing it! Well, I adored losing myself in this book and the hours flew by! This novel definitely gives you nightmare vibes, and you’ll beg for more! I loved it!
An atmospheric and creepy techno-psycho-thriller!
Publication day is coming, you can grab your copy on Amazon
I would like to than Frankie at Little Brown for inviting me to be part of the tour! Check out the other spots and reviews!