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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

With Love For Horror Books - The Death House by Sarah Pinborough - Book Review, Interview & Giveaway

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Review by Suze

Defective children are being taken to the Death House. They have to leave their family behind and aren't allowed to interact with anyone but other Defectives and the staff. They're waiting to get sick, which means being taken to the sanatorium, where nobody ever returns from. The Death House has been divided into dorms and Toby is in one of them. He used to be a regular teenager and his biggest worry was going to a party with the popular crowd. Now he has different things on his mind. Toby has no idea when he'll start feeling ill, so far he's fine. Waiting for the inevitable, however, is tough. The Defectives can do whatever they like as long as they don't have symptoms, but their days are stressful as nobody wants to be the next one in line to be sent to the sanatorium.

Life at the Death House becomes a lot more interesting for Toby when Clara is among the new patients. Clara wants to spend her last days in happiness and her cheerful presence makes every child in the house feel better. Clara also shares Toby's secret, so he's no longer on his own, which makes it easy for them to talk and make plans. They don't want to end up in the sanatorium and there must be a way to have a respectful and peaceful ending instead, will they be able to find it?

The Death House is an impressive story about life and death, living in uncertainty, having a terrible inescapable destiny, friendship and love. Even though the Death House is all about the last stage before the sanatorium, it also feels like a regular high school with normal problems like trying to fit in, fights, cliques and forming friendships. This contrast makes the story even better. Toby and Clara are living in a nightmarish world, but they're determined to find light in the darkness, which I found incredible. They have something precious and they won't let go. I regularly had tears in my eyes while reading their story. While the idea behind it might be sad, there's so much hope and beauty in the way they connect and attempt to maximally live in the short time they have.

Sarah Pinborough has written a thought-provoking story. She raises questions and gives the reader the space to interpret. Everything she writes about is being experienced through the eyes of the Defectives, so the reader knows what they know and nothing more. I absolutely loved this approach and greatly admired the boldness behind writing a story that way. For me it worked very well and it made The Death House even more fascinating. I was curious, intrigued and captivated from beginning to end. The Death House is creepy and filled with fear, but there's also friendliness and love. I loved this contradiction. The story is multilayered with many surprising twists and turns and the ending blew me away. I highly recommend this fantastic book.


The Death House would be an excellent choice for readers who love stories that are creepy and beautiful at the same time.

About Sarah Pinborough

Sarah Pinborough is the number one Sunday Times Bestselling and New York Times Bestselling author of the psychological thriller Behind Her Eyes (Jan, 2017). During her career she has published more than 20 novels and several novellas, and has written for the BBC. Her recent novels include the dystopian love story, The Death House, and a teenage thriller, 13 Minutes which has been bought by Netflix with Josh Schwartz adapting.

Behind Her Eyes has sold to nearly twenty territories so far and was sold at auction to the US in a significant deal to Flatiron, Macmillan. There are discussions on going with several movies studios about the film adaptation.

Author links


1. Could you tell us a bit about yourself?

I'm an author and screenwriter who's written about (I can't remember!) 24 books across several genres including, thrillers, fantasy and horror.

2. What makes your heart beat faster?

Sex! ha! And the dark. And deep water. And flying. Basically everything scares me. Not the sex bit though;-)

3. Which horror monster do you fear the most?

Probably zombies because although they're quite boring, I don't want to be ripped apart by someone's bare teeth.

4. If the zombie apocalypse would happen today, what would you do?

Probably die in the first act. I'd be rubbish in the apocalypse. I don't even have anything in my food cupboard and all my kitchen knives are blunt.

5. What's your favorite horror movie?

That's really hard to say - I don't have one per se. I love a lot of films thought. The Orphanage, the Thing, Alien, An American Werewolf in London, Don't Look Now - the list goes on and on...

6. What's your worst nightmare?

I don't have one really. I'm afraid of everything if I'm given long enough to think about it, Actual nightmares I quite enjoy though. Most of my dreams involve some kind of apocalypse or vampires etc and I really enjoy those. IF they actually happened however, I'd be in a corner crying.

7. If your book was made into a movie, who would play the lead characters and why?

That really depends which book! Also, I never think in terms of actors or looks for my characters so I'm never able to choose. I'm always inside their heads - so I don't give much thought to their faces.

8. What inspired you to write horror stories?

Stephen King I think - he inspired pretty much all of my generation.

9. What do you like the most about the horror genre?

These days most of what I do in the horror genre is film related, and I love horror movies - more so than horror novels. Although I think the short story is a great format for scary stories. I think it reminds me of being a teenager and that's why I love it.

 10. What can we expect from you in the future?

I've got another adult thriller due out next year, the paperback of Behind Her Eyes comes out in July - I've just been paid to write the first episode of a supernatural crime series for potential TV, I'm writing a ghost film, and I've got a couple of other things in the pipeline!


One very lucky reader of With Love For Books will receive a signed paperback of The Death House by Sarah Pinborough.

The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.


  1. The Death House sounds like a thought-provoking, creepy story. Love these types of books.

  2. This sounds as if it should be such a sad read but Sarah's handling of the subject matter manages to lift it far above that.

  3. I've read several of her books and loved them. This sounds twisted, just the way I like em!

  4. The Death House sounds like a very intriguing book. Thanks for sharing.

  5. I love the horror genre. I'd love to read this book and add it to my collection :)

  6. This book looks so incredibly creepy - and such an unusual storyline!!! Definitely going to read it!

  7. It sound like am amazing book, but kind of spooky. But I like spooky.

  8. This sounds very different. But very intriguing, thought-provoking but creepy at the same time. My type of thing.

  9. This sounds like a fabulous read!!

  10. Thanks for the review and giveaway!

  11. It sounds really good, a page turner for me :)

  12. I'm gonna look out for this one in the library :) Really good review.

  13. I love to read a good horror. I'm currently reading 65 Spine Chillers. Each story is only 6 or 7 pages long but it's good fun.

  14. Thanks for the chance to win!


  15. Sounds great and I'm adding this to my TBR list.

  16. This sounds like a book that I would really enjoy

  17. It sounds a really interesting book. Thank you for sharing!

  18. Defective children is an interesting concept.

  19. Good job reviewing this novel and interviewing the author. Sarah has been among my faves since her time at Leisure Publishing. Very happy to see her doing so well. Her BEHIND HER EYES is an excellent novel. I'm sure this one is as well.

  20. wow.. love this story!! very inetresting