‘Thirteen Storeys’ – Jonathan Sims

I received this book from Secret Readers, and was initially attracted by the suggestion of different tales merging to form a coherent whole. I was unsure about the extent to which this story could hold attention, but I feel it works overall.

Our main focus is the wealthy businessman Tobias Fell, who is found dead in his penthouse apartment. Nobody knows what happened to him and there are no signs of anything untoward. On the night of his death there were a number of guests from the building he owns invited to his home. None of them claim to have seen anything or know anything. What on earth happened?

Having told us there is something unusual about this occurrence, we are then given thirteen different stories. Each of these focuses on a different character, and the only thing they have in common is that they live in the building and have been experiencing strange events.

Naturally, some of the stories were more interesting than others. Few of the characters were particularly likeable, and each had something about them that appeared to make them unusual in some way. What was quickly clear, though, was that this building was not a positive place.

As the stories progressed I did feel that things were becoming a little repetitive. However, in light of the overall story – and once we have the closing scenes that we have spent the book waiting for – it becomes clear that this makes sense.

This was a little more graphic in parts than I was expecting, and I’m still unsure how much of this was real and how much was imagined. However, it certainly made clear the sometimes the real horror can be much closer to home!