STARRED REVIEW
May 2018

Watch your step

By Jess Kidd

What do you get when a cantankerous old hoarder in a decrepit mansion collides with a world-weary caregiver who has a reluctant talent for communing with the dead? The answer is Jess Kidd’s imaginative second novel, Mr. Flood’s Last Resort, an enchanting thriller that disarms and delights.

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What do you get when a cantankerous old hoarder in a decrepit mansion collides with a world-weary caregiver who has a reluctant talent for communing with the dead? The answer is Jess Kidd’s imaginative second novel, Mr. Flood’s Last Resort, an enchanting thriller that disarms and delights.

When Maud Drennan is assigned to look after Cathal Flood, all she knows is that he has managed to run off his previous caregivers through a combination of psychological warfare, booby traps and outright hostility. However, Maud is made of stronger stuff than her relatively plain appearance would suggest, and she arrives at Cathal’s doorstep ready for a fight. With dogged determination, Maud slowly enters into an uneasy truce with the inscrutable old man, but she also comes to realize that there is more to Cathal—and his property—than meets the eye.

While the moldering manor house is filled with decades-old detritus and an army of slightly feral cats, it is also a mausoleum of secrets, potentially lethal ones. When Maud learns about the suspicious circumstances surrounding the death of Cathal’s wife—and the house begins to offer up clues regarding a cold case that eerily echoes memories from Maud’s traumatic childhood—she knows it is up to her to uncover who Cathal Flood truly is and to appease the restless spirits that haunt the halls of his home.

Unique and unconventional, Mr. Flood’s Last Resort is an unforgettable mystery that will appeal to fans of Tana French and Sophie Hannah, as it charms and unsettles in equal measure. Kidd (Himself) deftly balances whimsy and humor with a genuine sense of malice and danger. Savvy readers will question who can be trusted, as nothing—not even Maud—is as it initially seems.

 

This article was originally published in the May 2018 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

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