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The Uninvited

3.47  ·  Rating details ·  2,187 ratings  ·  437 reviews
A seven-year-old girl puts a nail gun to her grandmother's neck and fires. An isolated incident, say the experts. The experts are wrong. Across the world, children are killing their families. Is violence contagious? As chilling murders by children grip the country, anthropologist Hesketh Lock has his own mystery to solve: a bizarre scandal in the Taiwan timber industry.

Hardcover, 303 pages
Published January 8th 2013 by Bloomsbury Pub Plc USA (first published July 5th 2012)
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3.47  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,187 ratings  ·  437 reviews

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liz. jensen.

so super-psyched that i was able to get a netgalley pre-u.s release of this book. not that many of you care, because so few people read liz jensen. which is, i think, the cause of most of the world's ills. floundering economy? probably because not enough people are reading liz jensen. hurricane sandy?? happened 'cuz not enough people have read liz jensen. rihanna and katy perry are fighting?? all of this could have been avoided by just one or two more of you reading some liz jensen.

I'm going to tell you two things that made me want to read this book:

1) The cover - I mean, c' kick-ass creepy is this?

2) The first sentence of the book jacket description: "A seven-year-old girl puts a nail gun to her grandmother's neck and fires."

Creepy, evil kids doing creepy evil things is usually a win for me. So it was a foregone conclusion that I would dive into this book with abandon.

First of all -- it isn't horror, despite the cover and the book jacket description. It's more a
Nov 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
[I received this book as an ARC through a Goodreads give-away.]

The narrator of this book, Hesketh Lock, has a PhD in Anthropology and now works as a special kind of trouble-shooter for the firm of Phipps and Wexman. What does this firm do? It’s never exactly clarified. As Hesketh says, it regularly treads “the space between sharp practice and corporate fraud. ‘After a catastrophic PR shock, our job is to ensure nothing like that ever happens again anywhere on your global team, because it won’t n
Jan 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is the first book I’ve read in a long time that defies easy categorizing. Some may call it a dystopian sci-fi fable; others may believe it is a psychological cautionary tale; still others may view it as an anthropological-based literary thriller. In fact, it is all of these and none of these. It is a truly original piece of work.

The main character, Hesketh Lock, is a handsome, intelligent anthropologist with Asperger’s syndrome. He excels at this work because he can eliminate all the messy
Lukas Anthony
Dec 18, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
The blurb to this LIES, don't believe it!

I picked up this book because of the first line of the blurb, 'A seven-year-old girl puts a nail-gun to her grandmothers neck and fires.' Interesting, eh? I was hooked from that alone, and then I heard that this book had kids that were cannibals! I was instantly amazed and had to have it! So you can imagine my disappointment when instead of getting some kick-ass horror book featuring feral cannibal children, I get some very light mystery where the killer
Jun 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary
When a seven year old kills her grandmother and blinds her father with a nail-gun, it is considered a tragic, yet isolated incident. Hesketh Lock works for a company that investigates corporate sabotage and is sent to Taiwan to unearth a whistle-blower at a timber plant. The man in question is a loyal employee and claims he was forced into it. His behaviour is bizarre and he speaks of the Hungry Ghosts and starving children. A few days later he commits suicide. But Sunny Chen is only the first, ...more
Jul 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2014, horror
What a strange read.

I enjoyed it, but it's difficult to describe beyond the hook in the description. A wave of violence perpetrated by children sweeps the globe, and a man tasked to investigate corporate saboteurs is lured into investigating the cause, partly due to his love for the little boy he had to leave behind when he split with his girlfriend.

It's not nearly that simple though. The protagonist, Hesketh, feels a limited emotional connection with people due to Asperger's. He is rather bri
Paulo "paper books always" Carvalho
First Impression:

I am thorn between my star rating... The book until the end is near perfect... But the ending...

What a hell Liz?? :\

Second Impression:
This tale follows two linked stories. Hesketh, a man with a Asperger syndrome is an investigator for an insurance company. He travels from place to place to investigate several sabotages on some companies. First he go to China, then Sweden, Dubai and then he travels back to England. Since this book was written on a first perspective we learn a l
Jan 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
The zippy premise (not that the premise is zippy, per se, but that I am going to state the premise in a zippy manner): Hot anthropologist dude with Asperger's tries to figure out why the world's children are suddenly attacking their parents and going into dissociative states while adults are sabotaging their companies and killing themselves.

Jensen's first-person narrator is aces and always interesting. I admire how she fully commits to the messy big idea of the premise, even if the ending doesn
Feb 05, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dystopia
I think I could've liked the book more. The idea was quite fascinating and unusual. And I liked Hesketh, the main character and the narrator. And his story with his stepson Freddy was touching. But I don't know. It was kinda slow? Boring? I was thinking of DNFing it several times but I wanted the answers and then some moments touched me emotionally. But all in all... I think I just prefer much more dynamic books. And then the ending - huh? I didn't feel it at all. But it's an individual reaction ...more
Sep 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Copy received from Bloomsbury through Book Geeks.

It starts with one child, a young girl, taking a nail gun and killing her grandmother before injuring her father for no apparent reason. It seems to be a random occurrence, a one-off event, tragic and shocking but unique. Hesketh Lock hears about this murder while on his way to the airport. He is travelling from England to Taiwan to investigate a bizarre corporate scandal.
Hesketh Lock has Asperger’s Syndrome and isn’t good at relationships or read
Jan 30, 2013 rated it liked it
There are parts of this book that are great. Jensen has invented something so sinister that even as I was laughing at myself, I still had to sidle to bed after staying up way too late reading, hurrying to the bathroom in the dark so I could whirl around & make sure nothing was behind me. What exactly was I afraid of? Kids? Kids are short & they have small hands. The element of surprise is the only reason that you should be attacked by them, unless they're in a great big pack. I've only g ...more
Nov 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Alan by: karen
Shelves: 2013, novels
Not my sort of book, usually, this one is a kind of scifi/monster/detective mashup, a bit different from the 'dirty realism' I normally read. But Karen's review was persuasive. I'm not sure we would have world peace if everyone read Liz Jensen, but she can write: crystal clear prose.
The story is fascinating, children turning on and murdering their elders, industrial sabotage, talk of possession by djinns, trolls etc. Is there a connection? The narrator Hesketh Lock is an anthropologist/troublesh
Feb 15, 2016 rated it did not like it
When I first saw this book I was very intrigued by it. The cover and the back summary of the book. Yes, please. I had to read this book to find out what was causing all of these children to go psycho and kill people. I agree with others that this book is not a horror story. Even though the front cover would lead you to think it is.

The opening scene of this book had me hooked. I could not wait to dig deeper into the story to learn the truth. After this the story just went flatline. It was a stru
Mauoijenn ~ *Mouthy Jenn* ~
So not what I thought this was suppose to be about. This sucked. You should have stuck to the storyline of children killing. Just say'in.
Nov 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Children are turning murderous, and adults are committing acts of random sabotage and then committing suicide. Could the two phenomena be related, and if so how? It's up to a borderline Autistic anthropologist named Hesketh Lock to try and work out what's going on, leveraging the unique perspective of someone who doesn't make assumptions because he doesn't really understand what it means to be a normal human being to start with.

The novel meanders between horror, supernatural suspense, science fi
Terry Weyna
Apr 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The Uninvited opens with a scene of intense horror, as a young child slaughters her grandmother with a nail-gun to the neck. “No reason, no warning.” Everyone’s immediate reaction is that there has been a terrible accident, especially as the girl is found staring at the wall, as if in shock; but then she comes to herself, grabs the nail gun, and puts it to her father’s face and fires again. “One murder, one blinding. Two minutes. No accident.” The girl had just turned seven.

The narrator of the t
Dec 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Liz Jensen is an extraordinary writer.

I can count eight, wonderfully diverse, novels now. She has taken in so many subjects – from ecology to time travel; from fertility to social history – mixing so many different ideas in different, and unexpected, ways. And though her subject matter wouldn’t always draw me I always find her writing intriguing.

The Uninvited is, I think, as good as anything she’s done.

I was pulled in from the very first paragraph.

Mass hysterical outbreaks rarely have identifiab
Christy LoveOfBooks
Nov 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
First things first: I love this book! Love it! The Uninvited is one of those books that I just get and has so many elements that I love. I might use the word love a lot in this review, so be prepared. It’s also one of those books that I am holding close, and don’t want to hear if people didn’t like it or if they had any issues with it. I honestly don’t care, because The Uninvited is now a high favorite of mine and will remain so for a long time. It’s books like this that frustrate me because I w ...more
Christal (Badass Book Reviews)
See this review and others like it at!.

I enjoy a good horror book now and then and I do have to give it to Liz Jensen on that account, she wrote one unsettling book. The imagery was super creepy and my favorite part of the book. I love a good read that can get your heart pounding and this one definitely had moments of that. Unfortunately, the plot just didn’t come together as a whole for me and I was actually very disappointed by the ending.

Hesketh Lock is our narrative voi
**Review copy received via Netgalley**

For me, this novel was such a slow-burner I wasn’t sure I would be able to get into it at all. After a surprisingly graphic, attention-grabbing opening chapter the pace settles down rather too drastically for my liking and I have to confess that I found my attention wandering a bit. Following the obligatory introduction of protagonists and a new story-thread however, I was immediately pulled back into the plot- and I’m glad I stuck with it, as ultimately I w
Lily at Bookluvrs Haven
Nov 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Originally published on Bookluvrs Haven.

Though I am not one that usually judges books by their covers, I do admit that this one caught my eye on NetGalley. It's very simple, yet there is something so undeniably creepy about a child that has that look. A look of evil intent, one could say, and deadly calculation. There is no denying that this novel in its entirety was also meticulously calculated.

I was very excited to begin this read and though I have quite a few that were ahead on my list, I co
Oct 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
I had a rough start with Uninvited. I had a NetGalley publisher distributed e-galley, and there was a problem with the formatting, particularly with the letter 'f'. Every time I came upon a word with that letter, I'd stumble over it and it would suck me out of the narrative. This isn't anything having to do with the book; rather it is a plea for publishers distributing electronic advanced copies to pay a little more attention to the files. I probably would have never made it through this book if ...more
Rosina Lippi
Two little boys murder their father with a knife, which would be shocking at any other time -- but all over the world, very young children are killing the people they love best, and remember nothing afterward. Odder still, they show no emotion about the death. Also on a global scale, established, successful, loyal business people commit senseless acts of sabotage at their companies and then commit suicide raving about being harassed by small creatures -- djinn, or elves, or similar.

Sometimes th
Janette Fleming
Sep 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-books
A seven-year-old girl puts a nail gun to her grandmother’s neck and fires. An isolated incident, say the experts. The experts are wrong. Across the world, children are killing their families. Is violence contagious? As chilling murders by children grip the country, anthropologist Hesketh Lock has his own mystery to solve: a bizarre scandal in the Taiwan timber industry.

Hesketh has never been good at relationships: Asperger’s Syndrome has seen to that. But he does have a talent for spotting behav
So I really, really want to write a review of this book to tell you all how good it is and to push you into reading it. But I'm not sure what to say that would a) in any way match or reflect the book's quality or b) not give anything away. I was drawn in by the combination of the creepy cover and karen's review promising that it was amazing. Neither led me astray. But the book turned out to be more compelling and complex than I'd anticipated and seeing its ideas develop with little foreknowledge ...more
Keith Davis
Apr 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Xenogenesis is the word for when children bear little or no resemblance to their parents. If you have ever been a little creeped out by children then The Uninvited is the perfect thriller for you.

Hesketh is a corporate consultant who specializes in investigating industrial sabotage. He is also an Asbergers case whose ex-wife describes him as a "robot made of meat". He is almost Vulcan with his calm logic and lack of affect. His only real emotional connection is with his ex-wife's son Freddy who
Feb 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
THE UNINVITED by Liz Jensen is difficult to put into a niche. It's a distopian and psychological thriller, involving all types of evil that people embrace in their religious and societal beliefs: restless spirits of ancestors, trolls, jinns.

Children are going seemingly mad and doing evil things. Adults are sabotaging their own projects. When they realize what they've done, they commit suicide. The suicides are taking place globally and before each occurs, the victim complains of one of the evil
I...have no words. This book was horrifying & creepy & wonderfully written & complex & cerebral. BUT I STILL HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS!!!

I also really just need more books with Hesketh as a narrator. What a delightful, refreshing voice. What a fascinating perspective on life.

Creepy murderous children straight outta Lord of the Flies, massive pandemic crisis, end-of-the-world-scale sabotage, etc. Sounds like a wild ride, right? But this book is a slow-burn, a slow descent into crazy
Aug 13, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was creepy and really odd. I didn't want to put it down because I wanted to know the explanation for what was going on. When I got the explanation I was just a bit disappointed with it. I enjoyed the book overall but I think it could have had a stronger end. I really liked the main character Hesketh a lot and seeing the events through his eyes was very interesting. His Asperger’s Syndrome made him a really compelling narrator and his unwavering rationality made him the perfect foil for ...more
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2015 Reading Chal...: The Uninvited by Liz Jensen 2 19 Apr 19, 2015 03:34PM  
What did you think of this book? 4 38 Oct 19, 2014 05:24PM  
What's the Name o...: SOLVED. YA Horror children Killing adults [s] 10 73 Aug 07, 2012 10:34PM  

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Liz Jensen was born in Oxfordshire, the daughter of a Danish father and an Anglo-Moroccan mother. She spent two years as a journalist in the Far East before joining the BBC, first as a journalist, then as a TV and radio producer. She then moved to France where she worked as a sculptor began her first novel, Egg Dancing, which was published in 1995. Back in London she wrote Ark Baby (1998) which wa ...more
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“The thought of losing him again kills me. This is of course a figure of speech, I will remain alive, but I will not know happiness.” 2 likes
“There are moments in life – so few you can count them – when time's perspective seems to shift quite literally. In those moments, a second can last a minute, or freeze to near-eternity. Soldiers know this. But homes can be war zones too.” 0 likes
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