The Turn of the Key

41960869._SY475_“I am telling you the truth. The unvarnished, ugly truth. And it is all that. It is unpolished and unpleasant, and I don’t pretend I acted like an angel. But I didn’t kill anyone” (16).

Ruth Ware’s The Turn of the Key is an adult thriller that begins with Rowen Caine writing a letter to a potential lawyer from prison. A child is dead, and she’s awaiting trial for murder, but did she do it? What started out as a simple live-in nanny position in a house that’s a mixture of Victorian and modern, with “Smart House” technology, in the Scottish Highlands turns into a nightmare as Rowen struggles to come to terms with the strange events unraveling before her before she was incarcerated.

Lights turn on and off, the house blasts music at odd hours on its own, and then there’s the strange sound of footsteps on the ceiling in Rowan’s bedroom when she lives on the top floor…

What’s great about this thriller is right from the get-go, Ruth Ware hooks you with Rowen’s statement to her potential lawyer: I didn’t kill anyone. Now, normally I’m not the biggest fan of an epistolary novel (a story told through letters, journal entries, etc.), but the way Ware structures the narrative, it doesn’t read like Rowen is writing a letter at all. Occasionally, she’ll “speak” to the lawyer directly, almost as a reminder of why she’s telling the story in the first place, but for the most part, The Turn of the Key reads like your typical novel told in first person POV.

One thing I will say about this novel is it is SO hard to put down! Once I started it, I couldn’t stop, and I ended up devouring it in two days. The writing in The Turn of the Key is simple, but fast-paced, with so many creepy elements that kept me up at night (literally. I had a hard time following asleep after this). This is my first Ruth Ware novel, and it certainly won’t be my last.

The only issue I had with this novel was the ending. There was so much build-up to the climax and the biggest reveal of all, and then—it just kind of ended ??? Nothing was really wrapped up…it was pretty anticlimactic compared to the rest of the book, which was a bummer.

Other than that, though, I’d say The Turn of the Key is a pretty solid read.

The Turn of the Key


I give this book four stars. The writing was good, and I loved how the author never made it feel like you were reading a letter. The story remained fast-paced and ominous right up until the climax. If the ending hadn’t been such a let down, I would’ve given this five stars.

What do you think? Did you like this book? Let me know in the comments!

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