Don't Let Me In by Phil Kurthausen #BookReview #BlogBlitz

While trying to manage her agoraphobia, as well as the online trolls and her family life, Sarah begins to uncover some uncomfortable facts relating to the cold case.

As she edges closer to accusing someone of the murder, the online threats soon become physical and as the outside world draws closer and closer to her front door threatening her home, her family and her life, Sarah must decide between fight or flight…

I'm delighted to be taking part in the blog blitz for Don't Let Me In by Phil Kurthausen today. Many thanks to the author and Bloodhound Books for inviting me and for my digital copy of the novel.

Anybody who used social media knows that for all the positive interactions (sharing the book love!), there is also a much darker side and women who dare to put their head above the parapet will almost certainly attract the attention of trolls. Most of the death and rape threats will be empty threats of course; sent by agitators, gleefully trying to provoke a response but some may genuinely have a more malicious intent. At the start of Don't Let Me In, Sarah is unperturbed by her latest death threat; they've become a daily occurrence and she knows that as the police will do nothing, all she can do is block the sender. She formerly worked in television news but something has caused her to become agoraphobic and as a result she has started to record podcasts from her basement. She is still an investigative journalist at heart, of course and can't help but become interested in a cold case she is asked to look at. Twelve years previously, Khalil Bukhari was found guilty of murdering his girlfriend, Lauren and jailed for life. His brother, Mo is convinced of his innocence and hopes that Sarah's podcasts will flush out new evidence to convince the authorities that Khalil's conviction should be quashed.
Don't Let Me In blends the classic chills of a home invasion thriller with contemporary issues, from the aforementioned social media trolling to the ongoing rise in Islamophobia over the last couple of decades. Sarah's investigation into Lauren's murder means she invokes the wrath of the alt-right types who are furious that she is defending a Muslim man. As the book progresses, this theme is explored still further as it becomes clear that Khalil's arrest came at a time when the country was gripped by terror following the 7/7 bombings with the police perhaps unconsciously using racial profiling and accepting the testament of witnesses, while ignoring other lines of enquiry. The threats Sarah receives become increasingly sinister and there are some tense moments when she starts to wonder whether she is really safe at home.
The trigger for Sarah's agoraphobia isn't revealed until later in the story but it is plain that some traumatic event took place. However, it would also seem that Sarah has dark secrets of her own and her fears of the outside world aren't the only demons she must face as it becomes progressively obvious that her marriage is in trouble. Her husband, Henry is manipulative and resentful and their young son, Finn becomes caught up in the toxicity too. Sarah seems to be trapped in her marriage as much as she is trapped within the walls of her home but like many people, she still persists in maintaining a #soblessed persona online, sharing happy family pictures that were actually taken years ago but allow her to keep up the pretence that all is well.
The twists and turns throughout the novel meant I never quite knew who could be trusted. Sarah's predicament means that her investigation into the murder leaves her understandably paranoid but also increasingly vulnerable which leads to some terrifically nerve-wracking scenes. I wasn't surprised to learn that Phil Kurthausen has written TV and film screenplays because I was struck throughout by the thought that this would make a brilliant film. Don't Let Me In is dark, atmospheric and topical; I thoroughly recommend it to anybody looking for an intelligent thriller to set their pulses racing.

Don't Let Me In is published by Bloodhound Books and can be purchased from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Don't forget to check out the other blogs taking part in this blog blitz, details are below.

About the Author
Phil Kurthausen is the best selling author of the Erasmus Jones series of novels and the terrifying new psychological thriller, Don’t Let Me In.
He has travelled the world working as a flower salesman, a lawyer and, though scared of heights, helped to paint Sydney Harbour Bridge. Ken Dodd once put him in a headlock for being annoying. He currently lives with his wife in Barcelona
He has published award nominated short stories and his novel ‘The Silent Pool’ won the Thriller Round in the Harper Collins People’s Novelist Competition broadcast on ITV in November 2011 and he later appeared in the final. The Silent Pool was shortlisted for the Dundee International Literary Prize in 2012 and the second novel in the Erasmus Jones series, Sudden Death was a commercial and critical success. He has broadcast short works on BBC Radio 4 extra and written TV and Film screenplays.
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