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Thirteen Storeys

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You're cordially invited to dinner. Penthouse access is available via the broken freight elevator. Black tie optional.

A dinner party is held in the penthouse of a multimillion-pound development. All the guests are strangers - even to their host, the billionaire owner of the building. None of them know why they were selected to receive his invitation. Whether privileged or deprived, besides a postcode, they share only one thing in common - they've all experienced a shocking disturbance within the building's walls.

By the end of the night, their host is dead, and none of the guests ever said what happened. His death remains one of the biggest unsolved mysteries - until now.

But are you ready for their stories?

Jonathan Sims' debut is a darkly twisted, genre-bending journey through one of the most innovative haunted houses you'll ever dare to enter.

390 pages, Paperback

First published November 26, 2020

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About the author

Jonathan Sims

19 books620 followers
Jonathan Sims is a writer, performer and games designer whose work primarily focuses on the macabre, the grotesque, and the gentle touch of creeping dread. He is the mind and the voice behind acclaimed horror podcast The Magnus Archives, as well as story-game design duo MacGuffin & Co., and some of your favourite nightmares. He lives in Walthamstow with the two best cats and an overwhelming backlog of books that he really should get round to.

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5 stars
1,461 (31%)
4 stars
1,821 (39%)
3 stars
990 (21%)
2 stars
305 (6%)
1 star
90 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 890 reviews
Profile Image for Ilse.
336 reviews21 followers
Shelved as 'tbr-unreleased'
April 5, 2020
I'm ready to get my heart ripped out and stamped upon yet again by Jonny Sims, this time in book form!!

this is fine
Profile Image for Zain.
1,376 reviews141 followers
January 12, 2023
“The Life and Dismemberment of Tobias Fell?”

Looking for a new place to live? Then how about a move to Banyan Court?

You’re not too rich or poor to move to Banyan Court, so long as the poor people stay away from the rich part of the building and stay over on their own decrepit side.

Too bad the ghost doesn’t care about the income or status of the tenant. I’m just confused about why they haunt whom they haunt?

Maybe I missed something during the three days I spent reading this book. Hopefully, someone else who reads it can tell me all about it.

Three stars equals the amount of my comprehension.🤷🏽‍♀️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Profile Image for Misty Marie Harms.
559 reviews331 followers
June 6, 2022
This book started off strong. I was so excited to see where it would go. Just enough mystery and creepy to keep you turning the pages. The reveal was.....yeah, let's just say disappointing. The rapid change of povs' gave me a headache because who can remember who is who. Especially me when it comes to names. Lost me in the end.
Profile Image for Blair.
1,768 reviews4,235 followers
December 3, 2020
The debut novel from Jonathan Sims, best known as the creator and star of the horror podcast The Magnus Archives, revolves around a London building. Banyan Court is the creation of billionaire entrepreneur Tobias Fell (who supposedly inhabits the penthouse, though nobody ever seems to see him). It's divided into two parts, and they are polar opposites: a set of expensive luxury apartments on one side, a designated block of 'affordable housing' on the other. Each chapter concentrates on the story of an individual resident; these characters hail from both sides of the building, and sometimes from outside it. There are – you guessed it – thirteen stories in all.

Every story is engrossing, though they vary in quality. The first – about Violet, who works night shifts – is good, but not remarkable; it's a readable, workmanlike tale of modern life and its cruelties, depicting an exhausted woman struggling to stay afloat (and awake). When I reached the second (Jésus, a wealthy and arrogant art dealer), however, I knew I was getting into something good. This story mixes ekphrasis, which is one of my favourite literary devices regardless of context, with horror; it's a winning combination, and the result is electrifying. The fourth story features a little girl and her imaginary friend, and contains a few lines that are more blood-curdlingly creepy than anything I've read this year. The tenth is another highlight: focusing on a mismatched pair of security guards, it boasts a blinding twist.

Like many readers, I was initially interested in this because of The Magnus Archives. I am extremely picky when it comes to podcasts, and Sims has written some of the best episodes I have ever heard.* However, I think the currently airing series of the podcast (the fifth) has lost its way, so I wasn't necessarily predisposed to think Thirteen Storeys would be a work of genius. I was happy to find it has the same characteristics as all the finest Magnus Archives episodes, and indeed all the best horror: it's mostly grounded in reality, and it manages the difficult task of crossing the line into unadulterated supernatural terror without becoming overblown or silly.

Each story ends with the protagonist receiving an invite to a dinner party hosted by Tobias Fell, so it's pretty obvious throughout that the climactic chapter will depict the party. That climax is the least interesting part of the book, and its overarching moral is about as subtle as a sledgehammer. The greatest pleasures of Thirteen Storeys are definitely to be found in the individual stories, which make each character interesting and each distinct haunting memorable.

*If you've never listened to it before, I'd honestly just recommend starting at the very beginning. The first episode will likely give you a very good sense of whether or not it's your thing. But for the record, my favourites are 'Grifter's Bone' (episode 42), 'Binary' (65), 'Extended Surveillance' (148) and 'Alone' (13).

I received an advance review copy of Thirteen Storeys from the publisher through NetGalley.

TinyLetter | Linktree
Profile Image for Mark.
1,131 reviews
November 12, 2020
Superb Cover!
As for the story I am not 100% sure what I just read or how much enjoyed or was baffled by it
I will try and explain
Banyon Court is an affluent residential block in London, the penthouse is lived in by Tobias, a multi billionaire who commissioned and owns the whole building, there is also a not so affluent side ( at the back ) where the ‘poor’ people live, the book is then a set of short stories based around people who live there or are associated with the building ie a plumber, the concierges, an estate agent and tells their stories ( some more interesting than others ) and how they all link in to this Tobias chap, (who by the way is dodgy via various corporate wrong doings ) and then how strange things start to happen to them all, ghostly, horrific things and all culminates in an invitation being received by each of them to attend a dinner in his penthouse, at this dinner unspeakably gross things are asked of them all in a bid to live and if not they die and then....well, not saying anymore
I think that’s what I just read
It’s intriguing, disturbing, repulsive in parts, annoying in others and at times disorientating
But out of all those words Intriguing is the main one
I dont think, in fact I know it wont be, a book for everyone, more than that I am not quite sure what to say on it

For the ‘difference’ of the book it’s a
3.5 Stars
Profile Image for Michelle .
256 reviews80 followers
June 13, 2021
Thirteen Storeys is an anthology of short stories that come together in the end to tell the tale of Tobias Fell's death. Each chapter is about a resident or employee of Banyan Court (a London high rise with luxury apartments on one side and affordable housing on the other) each who are 'haunted' in one form or another.

Like all anthologies some stories are more compelling than others, but they were all necessary and purposeful. My favorites were Bad Penny, The Knock, Viewing Essential, A stubborn Stain, Round the Clock, Point of View, and of course The Builder. I loved seeing the characters from their neighbor's points of view as they entered and exited each other's tales.

The end was both grisly and satisfying. 4 stars! I'm excited to see what this author comes up with next.
Profile Image for Mariluu.
59 reviews10 followers
March 2, 2022
This book was so different from every other horror book I've read. Every chapter presents a story of its own placed in each of the storeys of the building, though the interesting plot is that they're all conected. And not only because they're happening on the property but the characters somethimes cross their paths and the outcome of their situations end up the same: an invitation to a party on the penthouse with the owner.
If you're up for very mysterious circumstances, paranormal activity and scare jumps this one might be your gem!
I enjoyed it very much and would totally recommend it!
Profile Image for Ginger.
753 reviews371 followers
June 29, 2021
3.5 stars!

Thirteen Storeys was pretty good. The writing was well done and descriptive.
I thought the 13 individual stories of the tenants in Banyan Court ranged from "meh" to "I like this weirdness and supernatural vibe!".

The stories are about twelve people that live or work in a London high-rise building that’s created by Tobias Fell, and the last story involves the actual owner of the building.
Tobias is an unethical billionaire that’s built a building of extremes. One side is low-income housing, and the other side is luxury living.

Each person that gets an invite for a dinner party one day have been experiencing supernatural or unpleasant situations in the last few weeks.

The first two stories at the beginning of the book almost stalled my progress.
I thought Night Work & The Knock were meh, but the writing quality was still good. I just didn’t get any emotional response or creep vibes from either story.

I’m glad I kept going because the stories and people keep getting more interesting.

Inbox, Sleepless, Round the Clock, A Foot in the Door, and Point of View are all okay.

Smart, Bad Penny, Viewing Essential, A Stubborn Stain, and Old Plumbing were all favorites.

And each one was great in different ways for me:

- AI creep factor.
- The creepy little kid. Ah!
- The sound of someone in another room and not wanting to go to investigate.
(leaving this one a bit vague for spoilers.)
- Something disgusting on the wall. (also vague)
- Old pipes & "issues" with plumbing. (also vague)

I got an emotional or creeped out reaction to each one of these stories!

The good thing with each story is that it has corresponding characters in other chapters, so I soon realized that each story was important for the overall flow and progress of the book.

The reason why I could not rate this higher was the ending.

I wanted more from the story The Builder and I felt like the ending could have been better for me. I wanted more character development from Tobias Fell and a better explanation for the overall building and how it all worked.

Plus, that ending felt like a morality punch in the face.
Don't get me wrong, I completely agreed with it. I just wasn’t expecting it and it took a bit away from the supernatural theme of the book for me.

Definitely read this one if you like horror.
It was different and I enjoyed the plot and concept of the whole book!
Profile Image for Nils | nilsreviewsit.
317 reviews469 followers
October 21, 2020
Thirteen Storeys is the debut release by Award-winning The Magnus Archives podcaster, Jonathan Sims. Part horror, part thriller and part paranormal, this is a deliciously dark twisted tale where you will enter a haunted house quite like no other.

Our story is set in Banyan Court - a thirteen storey residential development built in London and owned by the infamous billionaire entrepreneur, Tobias Fell. Banyan Court was built to accommodate both rich and poor residents, with the apartments being divided into two distinct sides. Consequently the residents range from living privileged lives of complete luxury to the deprived who are working all hours to make ends meet. Throughout this novel we explore the lives of thirteen characters, some of which are said residents and some who are working at Banyan Court. Yet these are no ordinary people and they each have a chilling story to tell - stories which always end with them receiving a mysterious invitation to a dinner party with their host, Tobias Fell, a man riddled with dark secrets.

From the very first page of this novel we are told that the dinner party in question goes direly wrong and despite there being thirteen witnesses, the events of that fateful night remain a high profile mystery. That is, however, until we pick up this book and uncover the hair-raising truth for ourselves. If, like me, you have a hankering for an unsettling atmospheric read, then I'd strongly suggest reading this book on a gloomy dark evening or two, a blanket wrapped around you, and a hot drink at hand, because it’ll perfectly set the scene.

This is a hard book to review because if I wrote in any more detail about each character’s narratives, I fear it would spoil a lot of what makes this a cleverly written horror. Sims has a fantastic way of building up each individual character, of illustrating their backgrounds, the things which make them tick, and then contrasts this by showing us how they each significantly change. Is Banyan Court haunting them? Are they visited by paranormal apparitions, or are they actually descending into insanity? We are continually left with questions which compel us to discover more, and I loved becoming immersed.

‘The spaces in this place aren’t only travelled by your feet. There are directions you cannot follow on a compass. Listen in the dark and follow the music.’

I would say that most of the characters are not overly likeable - each display varied degrees of selfishness, greed, or cynicism. I had my favourites who were less immoral, such as Caroline, a ghost hunter, and Damien who was also investigating unusual incidents surrounding Banyan Court. However, for many of the characters I felt a small satisfaction in watching their lives drastically unravel. I can have a dark sense of humour at times and I honestly found it entertaining to witness each character’s greatest loves become their greatest fears, and to see them become a dishevelled mess by the end of their chapters! I believe this in part was Sims’ intention, I feel the book often relayed the message ‘you get what you give!’

My only slight gripe was there were perhaps too many characters to keep track of. You see, all of them are connected in one way or another, and they are all most certainly connected to Tobias Fell. I’m in the habit of keeping notes whilst reading, so I could always refer back to those if I forgot any of the details. Yet most readers won’t want to do that, which is why I suggest reading this in one or two sittings because a lot of the finer points you may dismiss early on actually become relevant later. Sims really has created an innovative novel where everything falls into place within its thrilling climax.

It takes a lot to make me feel creeped out, but I have to give Sims credit here because a few of the stories actually managed to have me on edge. I think this lies in the way Sims’ writing is visually cinematic, and also unsettling because he writes about events which could very well be mental breakdowns rather than anything paranormal. Psychological paranoia and real-life terror is far more frightening to me than the idea of ghosts or demons, and as we are never sure which it is or what is real, I was left feeling apprehensive.

‘The once impressive building now stands silent, casting a lonely eye over the dilapidated buildings below. A thirteen-storey tombstone to a man whose shadow still falls as darkly as that of his creation.’

Within Thirteen Storeys, you will find tales of hauntings, spiralling obsessions, paranoia and underneath it all, of tragedies long buried, and by the end you will surely learn that the forgotten will be forgotten no more.

ARC provided by Gollancz in exchange for an honest review. All quotes used are taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication. Thank you for the copy! Thirteen Storeys is out November 26th but you can preorder a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Thirteen-Sto...

Profile Image for Louise Wilson.
2,746 reviews1,616 followers
November 24, 2020
A dinner party is being held in the penthouse of a multimillion pound development. All the guests are strangers, even their host, the billionaire owner of the building. None of them know why they were selected to receive his invitation. They all share one thing in common,they've all experienced a shocking disturbance within the buildings walls.

What a creepy and suspense filled read. The first 12 storeys focus on one of the invited guests at the party. There's quite a lot of characters and I kept forgetting who was who. The plotline is complex. This is an intriguing read that I can't say too much about as I would spoil it for potential readers.

I would like to thank #NetGalley, #OrionPublishingGroup and the author JonathanSims for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.
151 reviews44 followers
January 29, 2022
i’m gonna settle on a 3/3.5 for this one!

so, yeah, this book is *definitely* written by jonathan sims. it’s very much the magnus archives in book form. if you’re looking for something extremely evocative of TMA, you’ll absolutely love thirteen storeys. if you want something a little bit different from jonathan sims (like me), you’ll probably come away from this still thoroughly entertained but maybe a little disappointed.

either way, thirteen storeys is definitely a lot of fun (for people who find this sort of stuff fun, that is). the ending is AMAZING.

definitely recommend this to people who love interlinked horror short story collections. it’s one of the good ones!
Profile Image for Helga.
887 reviews124 followers
March 10, 2021

The dead are dead. Justice is for the living.

They have never met the billionaire Tobias Fell, the thirteen people who are invited to his dinner party. They have also nothing in common, except living in the same building as Tobias Fell or working for one of his many companies.
Oh, except they all seem to experience weird occurrences inside the building.

Some say there's no such thing as ghosts. Some say houses can't be haunted. But one thing is for sure, buildings can't get sick. Or could they?

Are there ghosts in Banyan Court? Or is there something more sinister lurking in its halls? Either way, our thirteen invitees are going to find out soon enough.
Profile Image for The Tattooed Book Geek (Drew). .
296 reviews617 followers
November 24, 2020
Thirteen Storeys features thirteen stories from people who all either live or work in Banyan Court, a thirteen storey high-rise apartment block and residential development in London. Each of the first twelve stories focuses on an individual person and their experiences within Banyan Court and ends with that person receiving an invitation to a dinner party that is being hosted by Tobias Fell the reclusive billionaire and architect who designed Banyan Court and who, hidden away from the prying eyes of the world and unseen by the public in years lives in the penthouse. The thirteenth and final story brings all the assembled players together as the chosen of Banyan Court arrive for the fateful dinner party that saw Tobias Fell murdered in bloody fashion.

Even though there were guests at the party, people who should have been eye-witnesses to the murder, no-one saw anything, no-one admits to knowing what happened and there is no knowledge about Fell’s brutal demise. Half a decade later, the guests have never spoken about the dinner party and Fell’s murder has gained a level of infamy as one of the most famous unsolved murder mysteries in the world.

Banyan Court is divided into two opposite sides. The front of the building features large, lavish and luxury pristine and modern apartments for the high-class, privileged and the wealthy where their every whim is catered to While the back of the building features basic and functional tenement style apartments that are affordable, dilapidated and rundown for the deprived, low-income and the lower-class. The twelve people who each receive a dinner party invitation are workers and residents of varying ages who come from both sides of the social strata and both sides of Banyan Court.

The residents and workers aren’t connected, they don’t know each other, only, for some their paths have crossed in passing and none of them has ever met or even seen Tobias Fell. The only connections that they have are the dinner party invitations that they receive and that they have all felt the cold embrace and the ghostly caress of strange and unexplained occurrences in Banyan Court. The chosen have all been tainted by the evil that is woven into the fabric of the building, the skeletons in the closet of Tobias Fell that have been burnt, left to crumble, to turn to dust, but that are reaching from the beyond, clawing to be let out and the sickness that is seeping out of the walls and infecting them.

Each story (bar the thirteenth which as I have already mentioned is the climax) is a separate strand, a singular thread on the spider web to the overarching plot with the mysterious death of Tobias Fell at the centre of the web. A snapshot of the individual person, giving you their own tale and the picture surrounding what is happening to them, but as you read more of Thirteen Storeys you begin to see things coming together, the clouds disperse and you get a clearer picture about Banyan Court, about Tobias Fell and the reason behind what is happening and why.

There is some slight overlap between a few of the stories, but it is nothing major, just a gentle nudge, a whisper on the wind. Occasionally, seemingly innocent and innocuous sentences that mention in passing events and characters from the other stories have been cleverly added to the narrative that will make you question what you have already read. I know that after writing in the previous paragraph that the stories are separate that I sound like I am contradicting myself, I’m not. Each story can easily be read separately with the endpoint for each being the individual character receiving their dinner party invitation. The overlap doesn’t change that, at all, is only very minor and simply serves to make you ruminate further on the stories and adds a little extra layering and depth to the complete story.

The characters are an interesting and eclectic bunch of personalities who are all human with the diversity and flaws that being human entails. The stories in Thirteen Storeys are saturated in an eerie atmosphere with a creeping sense of unease and a sinister undertone. Some are insidious and offer a grounded and measured approach, are cerebral and use the adage of ‘less is more’ leaving your imagination to run wild. While others are far more visceral with sections that include some full-blown grotesque and macabre vivid imagery that aid in raising the creep factor and chilling the blood in your veins to ice-cold. With the differences in both the stories and the hauntings, Thirteen Storeys is a varied collection of immersive and unsettling tales. The one constant in the stories and this is where, for me, the true terror lies is that they are all written in such a way that you are left with a niggling doubt over whether what the characters are experiencing is psychological and they have fallen down a rabbit hole of delusion, their own fears, obsession and paranoia or if there is actually a hostile and malevolent supernatural force at play that has touched, corrupting and is influencing them.

Without going into detail, some favourite stories of mine were The Knock about a renowned art dealer who acquires a painting and becomes obsessed with it. Smart about a tech apartment which is a fascinating and frightening look at technology, our reliance upon it and how it can take over and control our lives. A Foot in the Door which is about a character researching the history of Banyan Court and Tobias Fell. Bad Penny about a child on the rich side, her always hungry imaginary friend and the games that they play. Round The Clock about two concierges working the rich half of Banyan Court. Old Plumbing about a plumber who is investigating the pipes in Banyan Court and the discoloured liquid that is flowing out of them. And finally, The Builder which is the last story gives reader’s their first glimpse at Tobias Fell and features the dinner party, all of the convened guests and the true events that transpired in the penthouse.

I relished and took a savage glee in seeing the characters unravel and slowly come undone inside the nightmarish confines of the disturbing Banyan Court and I found the dark and twisted delight that is Thirteen Storeys to be thrilling, chilling and thoroughly entertaining.
September 6, 2022
I was so excited by the premise but I have to say I got way too confused by the many characters and their back stories to fully appreciate this intricate story. I felt like I needed to make notes! A cast list would have been really useful to refer to!
The denouement was very late in coming but was well executed.
Profile Image for ellyG.
41 reviews
Currently reading
June 10, 2020
A book?? By Jonathan “Jonny” Sims himself????? Yes, i’m ready to die the millionth time by the hands of this man.
Profile Image for Gavin.
198 reviews24 followers
October 31, 2020
An enjoyable read that had several issues for me sadly.

The pacing is rather slow.

Each story usually has an unsatisfying conclusion but I let that go as it was obvious the finale would tie ends up.

The finale was somewhat underwhelming. Morals are delivered via a sledgehammer.

Possibly too many characters that are all linked in some (often tiny) ways. You really need to make sure you keep up.

Saying that, there are many positives. This plays out like the classic Amicus portmanteau of yesterday year. It would make a brilliant TV series in the vein of Nyman's Ghost Stories. A lot of this book is about atmosphere and mood. It's this that possibly makes the book a little slow but on the screen the authors ideas will pop.

I would recommend this book for anyone looking for a well written chiller. Just don't pin your hopes on a satisfying ending. The penthouse wasn't quite as luxurious as I'd hoped.
Profile Image for ella.
430 reviews35 followers
June 4, 2020
Disclaimer: I received this book free from Secret Readers.

I wasn't so sure about this at first because I've never actually read a horror book, I've read thrillers but never horror so it was a bit of a leap in the dark but I'm glad I chose this book.

The story is set in a block of flats in London, and in each new chapter we follow a different character living or working at Banyan Court. Each character is experiencing something distinctly paranormal in the building, whether they are from the rich side or the poor. Their only connections to one another are these experiences, and the invite they each receive for dinner with the reclusive, billionaire owner of the building who hasn't been seen in public for years.

It took me a little while to get into, I think partly cause I didn't particularly love any of the first few characters, but what kept me reading was the atmosphere. If you take one thing away from this review, let it be that My God, Jonathan Sims knows how to write a creepy atmosphere. I had literal chills. As I read further I started liking more of the characters (namely Cari - 7, and Damian - 12), but mid-way through the book I was completely invested - regardless of which character was being followed.

I really liked the way the book built up, with each different character's perspectives, and how each character's chapter ended with them receiving their invitation to dinner with Tobias Fell. By the time I got to the thirteenth chapter, I was very excited to find out how everything fit together and the conclusion did not disappoint.

Having finished my first horror book I don't feel so intimidated by the genre and I look forward to reading any future books from Jonathan Sims.
Profile Image for Lisa.
1,209 reviews
July 24, 2021
4.5 stars rounded up as overall the book was superb!

A slow-building tense and raw horror thriller. Twelve random people are invited to dine in the Penthouse of a notorious tower block with the building owner who they have never met.
The apartments inside are split between the wealthy on one side and the poor on the other side and the guests are made up of people from both sides... and some who don't even live there... with seemingly nothing in common...

Each guest has their story told prior to receiving their invitation and I did think this formula was a little repetitive...but please hang in there...some people's stories are more engaging than others but they are all important (I would recommend making notes as it's easy to lose track of who's who, especially during the finale).

My favourite character is Damian and we don't hear his story until the end... however I don't think it would have worked if we met him any sooner so you'll have to bear with.

I love the ending!

No spoilers but there is a point to some of the monotony and it really is worth pushing through...as the saying goes you can't fully appreciate the highs without the lows.

This is not a cheery book...it is full of horror and there is a small amount of gore but the psychological and paranormal aspects of the book are it's greatest strengths so if these things aren't your bag then don't go there!
Profile Image for Liz Barnsley.
3,430 reviews990 followers
October 3, 2020
Blimey this one steals your sleep, not only because its such a page turner but it is very very creepy…I spent several nights waking up suddenly thinking someone was watching me…yep that’s a sign of a great piece of storytelling right there.

We open with a retrospective of an unsolved mystery – that of the death of a rich entrepreneur at his own dinner party…to this day his guests have remained tight lipped claiming no knowledge of how it occurred. Reader, we are about to find out..

Strange events, ghostly goings on, a snapshot of disparate and diverse lives as each separate character is lead inexorably towards one night in a penthouse suite that ends in visceral violence. It is scarily beautifully crafted, the author subtly linking each tale, carefully leading you to a brutal and edgy finale. I loved every minute of this despite the distinct feeling of underlying doom each separate strand offers.

Very clever indeed, this is a haunted house story on acid. Here’s one talented author for sure. Highly recommended
Profile Image for Imane.
262 reviews133 followers
January 16, 2022
this book makes me wonder if there's any point in horror if it's not as masterfully, ominously, heartbreakingly anti-capitalist as this book. a tour de force if i ever saw one
Profile Image for Kimberly.
1,698 reviews2 followers
July 8, 2021
Well, I did like the set up of this book--a "wraparound story" that concludes after individual stories from different tenants in a building. The premise was interesting...unfortunately, almost all of the individual tales began to bore me quickly. By the Finale, I had even forgotten who one of the characters was supposed to be.

I DID enjoy the ending, but wish the stories had been more condensed, less repetitive, and the characters more interesting--at least so that I could remember who was who by the end.
Profile Image for Elysa.
370 reviews35 followers
June 4, 2021
This certainly is an innovative take on the haunted house genre.

The book is a short story collection about a strange and haunted apartment complex called Banyan Court. the building composes of two halves, the front half for the affluent residents and the back for the poor. And these stories weave the building's tale through the "shocking disturbances" of the guests to a penthouse dinner. Mostly these disturbances are unique to the guests' individual flaws or fears. Most of the stories were a thrilling ride or at least taught us new things about the building. At the end of each story, the guests are each invited to the penthouse on top of the building where the owner, an eccentric billionaire recluse, lives.

The number of characters could be a negative effect though. The guests are diverse, but even still sometimes it's difficult to keep track. And I found that this was most prominent when the characters met and physically described each other in their POV, as it didn't always match how I envisioned them. At the dinner party especially, I had to pause, cycle through the guests, and reimagine them. So, it's important to pay attention to details in this one. And maybe read the stories in 1-2 sittings.

Final note... this was written very, very well. The writing was my favorite part of the whole book.
Profile Image for JasonA.
292 reviews52 followers
June 6, 2021
This book is a little hard to classify. It's more or less a shorty story collection, but the stories are interconnected and culminate in the final chapter with all the characters present. If I were rating this as a short story collection, it would probably only get about 2 or 3 stars. There were only a couple of stories that I felt stood alone as great stories. I think it probably works better to view this as a regular novel that has a different viewpoint character for each of the first 12 chapters. The farther you get into the book and the more connections you see between the different character's stories, the better I felt the book was. I really didn't feel the first couple of stories, but once things started to tie together, I enjoyed it a lot more.
Profile Image for Montzalee Wittmann.
4,559 reviews2,312 followers
June 13, 2021
Good supernatural story

Thirteen Storeys by Jonathan Sims
This is about a billionaire that built a 13 story building with half of it for the well to do people and the back half for the poor. He had the top penthouse. The house itself, and things in and around the house are creepy. The story is that one night there was a party in the penthouse with 13 people. Blood was found around the room. The only body found dead was the billionaire.
Then it tells a little about each of the people invited to the party before that night. Then it describes what really happened. Pretty good. A slow creepy atmosphere.
Profile Image for 8stitches 9lives.
2,784 reviews1,625 followers
November 26, 2020
Thirteen Storeys is a cross between macabre horror and an unsettling thriller by renowned horror podcaster Jonathan Sims. In his nightmarish debut, Sims pens an anthology of interlinked short tales, which all come together to make up a chilling novel playing on both modern and more traditional fears. Banyon Court in Whitechapel, London, is a set of apartments commissioned and owned by reclusive and introverted billionaire Tobias Fell, with an odd mix of luxury apartments for the elite and more affordable flats for the poor, accessed by the back door. A sight of glossy metals and sparkling glasswork, the block is built on the site of an old, disused Victorian-era factory. We are informed via an obituary at the beginning that Tobias died mysteriously not long after hosting a lavish dinner party in his penthouse suite and inviting each of the inhabitants or those with ties to the apartment building as guests. Each of the thirteen chapters is told from the perspective of a different partygoer and is a mini-story in itself detailing exactly how each guest was invited. No one knows what happened to the seemingly timid Tobias but it was certainly suspicious in nature and warranted further investigation.

Taking place in the months leading up to his death we see life through the eyes of each unique character. Banyon Court is no ordinary abode as a creepy atmosphere lingers like a dark cloud above it at all times and there's always a faint yet strange chill in the air. None of the guests know each other past the odd glance or smile in passing, but they all share a common complaint: they've each experienced the unexplainable and downright terrifying within their four walls. Only in the genius ending chapter is everything revealed when the characters come together as an ensemble and the truth is unfurled. This is a chilling, disturbing and completely entertaining horror story written in such a unique and refreshingly original fashion that it's impossible not to swiftly become immersed in the weirdness and gruesome mystery of the happenings at Banyon Court. Some of the characters are more memorable than others and differ in terms of likability, too, but each one added another puzzle piece towards the full picture, and I thought telling it from a diverse range of perspectives worked like a charm. Sims is a master of instilling his narrative with a palpably tense, almost claustrophobic, atmosphere and a deeply engrossing and creeping sense of dread.
Profile Image for Jonathan.
744 reviews3,567 followers
November 28, 2020
actual rating: 4.5 stars

soooo.... this was great.
i admit i had a hard time getting into it and i was pretty sure i wouldn't like it after reading the first 3 chapters but then the plot got more intense and i got used to the way the whole thing was structured and was pretty much hooked by the end of chapter 5.

it is kinda slow moving at first but things get crazy pretty fast and there were some very eerie scenes that left me very uncomfortable, which is totally the vibe i was hoping for!

we also have a pretty big cast of characters and all of them were very distinctive. they were all very diverse regarding race, gender and class. the diversity was mostly subtly woven into the story, which i really liked. i favored some characters over others - *cough* Damian *cough* - but all of them had fleshed out personalities and motives and generally felt very realistic.

i had both the audiobook and the ebook at my disposal and while i definitively prefer the ebook (something to do with the fact that i would have preferred for jonny to just read the whole thing), i actually really enjoyed the last chapter where all the narrators came together and basically acted out the whole scene. so i understand why the decision was made to hire a bunch of different narrators for every character and it's definitely a clever idea, but it just wasn't for me most of the time. mostly because i went into the audiobook with different expectations but that's on me.

i would recommend this if you're a fan of jonathan's work or if you'd just like to read a horror-thriller-murder-mustery with ghosts.

Excuse me, but the audiobook is narrated by the man himself and i just ahhhhhhhhhh
edit: turns out the audiobook has more narrators than i have friends. not sure I'm into it. i just wanted Jonathan Sims to read to me 🤨
can't wait for Jonny to rip out my heart again tomorrow, but this time in book form 😭
Profile Image for Michelle.
1,239 reviews123 followers
November 1, 2020
Thirteen Storeys by Jonathan Sims a collection of stories about residents of Banyan court. A building owned by Billionaire Tobas fell who died when he invited 12 people to dinner. Each story about the residents tell us of paranormal experiences that they have while residing there and after each of them being given an invitation to join Tobas fell for dinner.
I really enjoyed these unique stories about the residents that came to an inclusion at the end. Each from different backgrounds and some of them not knowing each other until that fateful night that brought them together and others meeting each other around the estate. Conversing with each other to see if they are experiencing the weird goings on that they have been witness too. This book was creepy and atmospheric with some weird characters that kept me engaged throughout. I thought this was quite apt for this time of year.
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