The House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward #BookReview #Horror #PsychologicalThriller #RIPXVI

In a boarded-up house on a dead-end street at the edge of the wild Washington woods lives a family of three.

A teenage girl who isn’t allowed outside, not after last time.
A man who drinks alone in front of his TV, trying to ignore the gaps in his memory.
And a house cat who loves napping and reading the Bible.

An unspeakable secret binds them together, but when a new neighbor moves in next door, what is buried out among the birch trees may come back to haunt them all.

What I Loved

The House on Needless Street is one of those stories where the less I say about it, the more you will enjoy it. I can say this: I loved the artistry involved in telling the tale. There are so many spoiler details that even tiptoeing around them is not possible. 

Each secret revealed is done at a time and in a place that just heightened the already overwhelming intensity this story delivers. And it is this intensity that pushes the story past the psychological thriller line into the realm of horror. I sometimes thought I couldn’t be within this world for another second and wanted to put the book down more than anything. The only thing that kept me going was the all-consuming desire for answers and explanations. And, boy, did I get them. I never read as wild and jaw-dropping explanations that still are plausible as contained in the pages of this novel.

What I Wish

Honestly, I wouldn’t have a clue what to wish for. The story is so artfully told, I couldn’t imagine any changes that would improve it.

Trigger Warnings

Graphic death/murder including children

Reminds Me Of

As I read, I kept thinking this would be a book that Hitchcock would have wanted to get his hands on to turn into one of his movies.


The story opens with three characters: Dee, the sister of a little girl that went missing years before the novel begins; Ted, a man who lives in the house on Needless Street; and Olivia, Ted’s cat. I can’t say that I particularly liked any of the characters nor, do I believe, was I supposed to. Dee’s chapters were the easiest to read initially as they contained the least amount of nerve-shredding potency. Those chapters in the first half provide as much of a break as I was going to get. And, having a cat character is intriguing.

To Read or Not to Read

If you love psychological horror, you won’t want to miss out on this perfect story for the Halloween season.

My Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

21 Replies to “The House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward #BookReview #Horror #PsychologicalThriller #RIPXVI”

  1. A cat who likes to read the bible? I wonder if that tells us more about the bible than about the nature of the cat.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t know either. It’s gothic creepy – so very atmospheric. The story totally messes with your head with its intensity and plot but once you find out the big secrets is not so uncomfortable to read anymore (that happens at about 70% in ish). I think you would definitely appreciate, as I did, the absolutely genius craftsmanship that went into it. 🤷‍♂️

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hmm. Okay, I’m keeping it on my radar. Maybe after I knock some others off my TBR first. Needless Street has definitely been calling me from the first time I saw it.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent review Tessa. I felt the same way when I did my read/listen.


  3. I chicken-laughed out loud, Tessa. You describe a girl, a guy, and a cat, and then you write you don’t like any of the characters. And I thought, “Whoa, that cat must be a d**k.” This sounds like Fear Street for grown ups! I’ll check if my library has it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think it may just be your kind of read. Ward really is a brilliant story teller. But boy is it a thought read. And no, I can’t say that I liked even the cat ❤️. Shame, right?

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  4. I’m not sure I’m ready to read any horror books, but I’m so glad you liked this one!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t know that like is the right word. I feel like celebrating just because I made it through. It is brilliantly crafted. Ward is definitely a writer of immense talent. But what a tough read. I mostly rated it based on the writing brilliance.

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