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House of Spines

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  555 ratings  ·  137 reviews
Ran McGhie's world has been turned upside down. A young, lonely and frustrated writer, and suffering from mental-health problems, he discovers that his long-dead mother was related to one of Glasgow's oldest merchant families. Not only that, but Ran has inherited Newton Hall, a vast mansion that belonged to his great-uncle, who appears to have been watching from afar as hi ...more
Kindle Edition, 276 pages
Published August 16th 2017 by Orenda Books (first published July 15th 2017)
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Average rating 3.69  · 
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 ·  555 ratings  ·  137 reviews

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Chelsea Humphrey
Jun 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Chelsea by: Orenda Books
Shelves: from-publisher
Today is my stop on the Blog Tour!

It is a pleasure to be reviewing another book by Michael J Malone. Last year I read my first book from him, A Suitable Lie, and found it well worth the fuss, so I knew I was in for a treat reading this one. I immediately began drooling upon the cover reveal for House of Spines and I can attest that the contents inside are just as spectacular as the cover that graces the front. I'm a sucker for a story that is tied together nicely on all ends; here we have a plot
Miriam Smith
Sep 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: orenda
What an opening couple of chapters! There was no way I was going to be putting this down any time soon. I was completely intrigued by the mysterious great-uncle Fitzpatrick and his devoted library. The anticipation of every page and creeping sense of unease just draws you into this superbly written novel.
With so many twists you're not sure yourself who and what to believe never mind poor Ran. Fantastic and vivid descriptions of every nook and cranny of Newton Hall have you feeling like you're wa
Aug 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
House of Spines is the latest from Michael J. Malone. Malone previously gave us the rather excellent A Suitable Lie. This time, we get a gripping modern day gothic novel. It has all the essential ingredients; a creepy haunted house, a ghostly apparition and a family that seem to be dreadfully unlucky.

House of Spines introduces a rather fascinating man in his twenties. Ranald McGhie is an impoverished writer, with a complicated mental health history. He is told that he is the beneficiary of a Mr
Nov 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Michael J. Malone's House of Spines is a poetically written gothic ghost story, weaving in family dynamics, tragedy, and some romance in between. The story starts off with 20-something year old Ranald McGhie meeting with his family attorney after his Great-Uncle, Alexander Fitzpatrick passes away and leaves his beautiful Victorian mansion to him, with the condition that the library stay in tact and the housekeeper and her husband maintain their own cottage on the property. Ranald is skeptica ...more
Jan 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley-arcs
Ran McGhie is a down on his luck poet that suffers from bi-polar disorder. He's just barely getting by in life when a lawyer reaches out to him to tell him that his great uncle Alexander Fitzpatrick has not only left him his family mansion, Newton Hall, but also the wondrous library inside. His only instructions is that Ran can never ever sell the mansion. Nor can he remove any of the books from the property. Ran, in shock, can't believe his luck. He never even knew about this family and now eve ...more
Sep 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Michael J Malone’s previous standalone novel, A Suitable Lie, made to my Top Reads of last year and having enjoyed that one so much, I couldn’t wait to get into House of Spines and oh my what a addictive read it is.

For anyone expecting a story similar to A Suitable Life, be aware that House of Spines is VERY different. It has a supernatural element which, combined with the gothic atmospheric description of old Newton Hall works perfectly. I’m not generally a fan of the supernatural but this is s
Brenda - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
Loved the grand, spooky gothic mansion with hidden secrets in the walls and the ghostly things going one here, however, there just wasn't enough tension to the story to keep me interested and engaged in the story.

I received a copy on NetGalley.
Liz Barnsley
Sep 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
House Of Spines is a brilliantly creepy and extraordinarily readable (translation: I had another late night) psychological gothic thriller, strongly character driven and with added shiver.

Definitely with added shiver!

The tension in this book is palpable – an inheritance, a seemingly easy task, but something is not quite right and soon our main protagonist is caught up in his very own ghost story. He is not exactly mentally stable, for the reader the house comes alive on the page and as we head f
Crime by the Book
Sep 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Read my full review here:

Absolutely LOVED this book! A chilling blend of psychological thriller and Gothic ghost story. Outstanding!
Jan 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Gothic ghost story full of chills and thrills and books!

This was a very atmospheric read that sent chills down my spine more than once... A big rambling house full of history and secrets.... A house that felt so alive that you could feel it breathing.... I am seriously getting the chills just writing this review, what a creepy story this was!

Ran inherits this rambling estate from an uncle he never knew he had... the one condition of the inheritance, he must keep the house’s library intact... R
Joanne Robertson
Sep 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Having read and loved A Suitable Lie by Michael J Malone (you can read my review of that book HERE ) I was intrigued by the blurb of his latest book, House of Spines, as it had a very different vibe about it. I do have a soft spot for a gothic chiller though so I was interested to see what sort of spin this author would apply to the genre. And thankfully I absolutely loved it!

When Ranald McGhie inherits a substantial property from a great uncle he didn’t know he had, it is the start of a new lif
The Book Review Café
Aug 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
All my reviews can be found at

Oh my I really struggled to write a review for this book why? Because I’m not sure anything I write will truly reflect what a fabulous and enthralling read House Of Spines turned out to be. Ever since I read A Suitable Lie by Michael J Malone I’ve been eagerly awaiting for his next offering. Firstly I have to mention what a versatile and gifted writer Michael J Malone is, I’m amazed that he’s gone from writing about domestic abuse to the
Aug 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
A Suitable Lie by the author was one of my top reads of last year so I was very excited to see he had a new book coming out and couldn’t wait to read it.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from the book description, in a way it sounded like the perfect story line for a horror film, of which it isn’t a horror by the way, but it definitely has hints of it in there.

Ranald is down on his luck. He has a broken marriage behind him and due to events from his childhood it has left him very damaged as wel
Sep 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ebook
You may remember me raving last year about A Suitable Lie so to say I was thrilled to read House of Spines would be an understatement. While the two books couldn’t be more different in terms of the plot, there was the same sense of being utterly consumed by this book that I had while read ASL. Malone has the uncanny ability to get under your skin and his writing style is so eloquent and fluid, it’s a captivating experience to read his work.

Almost from the moment that Ran enters Newton Hall he
Apr 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Ran McGhie's world has been turned upside down. A young, lonely and frustrated writer, and suffering from mental-health problems, he discovers that his long-dead mother was related to one of Glasgow's oldest merchant families. Not only that, but Ran has inherited Newton Hall.

I really enjoyed the character of Ran, it was a nice change to have a good guy be the protagonist. This was a nice creepy, physiological thriller with a touch of a gothic tale. To be honest, it didn’t really work for me; it
Louise Beech
Aug 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
House of Spines is a deliciously dark tale about the things that haunt us. Unexpected and beautiful, the novel has all the gothic elements of classics like Rebecca, and the all the poetry and page-turning trickery you'd expect from Michael Malone. Wonderful. Cannot recommend enough.
Aug 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ranald McGhie has a tumultuous past with mental health problems stemming from the loss of his parents. He is divorced, living alone, and trying to make ends meet with a less-than-creative writing career. That all changes when he receives notice that he has inherited Newton Hall is the descendant of the wealthy Fitzpatrick family. Ranald never knew his family. His mother always kept them separated because she was shunned from them for her decision to run away and marry his lower class father. App ...more
Laura Rash
Oct 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
With a certain level of creepiness this book was so enchanting I couldn’t read it quick enough! An unbelievably good work of writing that shouldn’t be missed! Perfect for this time of year with Halloween approaching!
Thanks to Orenda for this copy in exchange for review:)
Aug 29, 2017 rated it liked it
House of Spines was a totally different novel to what I expected – I was expecting a conventional psychological thriller that followed the usual path but this book certainly was not that! It is a psychological thriller but I felt it had a really heavy, dark, twisted, gothic romance element to it – it was a bit much at times, not in a descriptive detailed way, but at times it felt like I was reading a gothic romance novel as opposed to a psychological thriller. The romantic elements did serve a p ...more
Caroline Mitchell
Feb 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: thriller, paranormal
I'm a fan of Michael Malone, having thoroughly enjoyed his last book A Suitable Lie. Now, I love a good gothic thriller so I was chomping at the bit to try this book. I was not disappointed and soon found myself becoming invested with every character in this book. It comes as no surprise that the author is also an acclaimed poet. His descriptions were beautifully written, evoking all sorts of emotions as I 'entered' the mansion of Newton Hall. This is not one of these books that you whizz throug ...more
Kate~Bibliophile Book Club
Review to follow on the blog tour!
Aug 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing

This review has been such a struggle to write and if I could have gotten away with just saying “brilliant, buy it now!”, I totally would have. The only thought in my head when I finished reading went something along the lines of “holy guacamole, what the frickety-frack was that?!”. I’ll say this though, if you’re looking for something utterly compelling and enthralling that will leave your head spinning in the most delicious way, then look no further! House of Spines does exactly that and so
Joanna Park
Wow! This book is definitely going onto the list of the best books I have ever read. I so enjoyed reading it and found it incredibly hard to put down.

I have to admit to being a little apprehensive when I first started this book. I had heard lots of great reviews from my fellow bloggers but i am a huge wimp at heart and the title along with the reviews of ‘terrifying’ led me to believe that this would be a horror book. I’m not good with horror and get scared incredibly easily (i managed to have n
Oct 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
4.5 *s. What a perfect October read!!! The House of Spines by Michael J. Malone is a contemporary Gothic thriller. Ran McGhie, a writer, inherits a huge mansion filled with books from a great-uncle who he did not know. He moves in and finds that everything is not as it seems. A mysterious locked elevator has a mirror in which he sees the face of a woman. Ran, who suffers from a mental illness, makes a great unreliable narrator. What is real and what is a product of Ran losing touch with reality? ...more
Beagle Lover (Avid Reader)
Jan 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: family dysfunction, murder, betrayal, mental illness
Recommended to Beagle Lover (Avid Reader) by: Goodreads giveaway
House of Spines

Bright shining 4 stars! 😊

I had a whole, wonderful review written out, but the computer crashed and I lost it all. So suffice it say I am not going to rewrite the review.

Instead, I will say that this book was a wonderfully crafted mystery/suspense story that held my interest from page 1 to the last page. Great character development, terrifically twisted plot lines and a finely crafted twist ending makes this a must read for the consummate mystery/suspense/horror reader. I look f
Feb 05, 2018 rated it liked it
You’re thinking vertebrae, maybe? But it’s book spines, which makes it all the more interesting. Yes, this is one of those stories where an aimless young man inherits an estate from a relative he didn’t even know existed only to find out the place is haunted. Why doesn’t anyone just leave someone a nice mansion with a spectacular library and no clauses and conditions? Probably because it wouldn’t make for a very interesting story. Malone doesn’t reinvent the wheel here, but he does this particul ...more
Sep 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Oh my giddy aunt! Where do I start!? There are just no words for the absolute gorgeous brilliance of this story! Set in Bearsdon, Scotland we are taken on a gothic and psychologically thrilling tale of a haunting past, mental illness, relationships, dysfunction, loss, abandonment, hope, passion, betrayal, deceit, love and the magic of books.

Needless to say, I was hooked from the get-go. Michael J Malone plunges the reader into a world where reality seemed blurred. The words, the writing, this st
Aug 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Originally posted on my blog September 13. 2017.

Today is my stop on the HOUSE OF SPINES blog tour, and I’m delighted to have the opportunity to share my thoughts about this outstanding book.

Ranald McGhie is a financially-challenged writer who comes into an unexpected windfall when he inherits his Great-Uncle Alexander’s home—Newton Hall—and everything in it, including a vast library of books. Divorced and doing his best to cope with mental health issues that coincided with the death of his paren
Sep 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2017
Deliciously spooky gothic tale. Do review up on the blog soon, but recommended, if your nerves can handle it!
Emma Mitchell
Sep 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
When I'd finished crying and gathered my emotions together, I didn't quite know what to do with myself.
I mean, WOW!!!!!
Malone has nailed it again. Totally nailed it.
Delivering another atmospheric masterpiece, Malone brings us the story of Ran McGhie, a troubled soul who unexpectedly inherits his estranged great-uncle's mansion, Newton Hall.
At a real low point in his life, this couldn't have come at a better time, could it?
What drew me so deeply in to this book was the descriptive prose.
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“An image of the library flowered in his mind. Shelves upon shelves of unread books. Bound papers and the scent of vanilla and burnt almond. Realms beyond count that he had yet to witness. The real world held at a distance by imaginings that were untarnished by fact.” 1 likes
“I should learn to listen. Allow the words to settle in that padded room between denial and acceptance. But it would be easier to place one foot on the low wall of a high bridge, spread my arms crucifix-wide, lean forward and will flight into the span of my arms.” 0 likes
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