I would not have believed a book following three young men constructing a billion dollar house could be so enthralling!

Cole, Bart and Teddy jointly run a small business, True Triangle Construction, building garages, extensions, repairs etc. When Gretchen, an unknown wealthy woman approaches them to build a house they are flattered. Meeting Gretchen on site, they cannot believe their eyes.   Before them is the start of a grandiose luxurious mansion way beyond any of their previous creations. The previous squad left what they said was a cursed project after the death of one of the tradesmen.   Surely there is a mistake asking them to complete!  Gretchen offers them a huge amount of money if they will take it on plus each of them will receive a personal bonus if the house is finished by Christmas day.

They walk away to chat and  Teddy recalls his father saying if something appears to good to be true……..then it is. Decisions, decisions. A  huge challenge but the money is so tempting.  Time is short and winter is not that far away.  The weight of the money submerges the doubts and misgivings.  Was it ambition that made them punch above their weight?  Or was it greed?

The characterisation in this book is so finely tuned that Cole, Bart and Teddy leap off the page and despite their human failings cannot fail to arouse the reader’s sympathy.  I became totally engrossed in this book, willing the boys to succeed, despite their shortcomings.

As completion day approaches tension rises between the men themselves and with Gretchen.  The writer of this book is so skilled, building what initially is an interesting human story slowly and steadily, revealing flaws in characters, but also loyalty and firm friendship, and gradually the readers discovers it is an exciting thriller, wondering if the project of this magnificent house was really cursed!

What a terrific read this book is, gripping from first to last page. One of the best character led books I have ever read and it will stay in my mind for a very long time. I do not hesitate to highly recommend this  super read.   An author formally unknown to me  has become one that I must read again.

Review by Sheila Grant

Published by Faber & Faber; Main edition (29 July 2021)
Hardback, ISBN 978-0571362950