TITLE : The House Without A key

AUTHOR : Marin Montgomery

GENRE : Mystery/Thriller/Suspense

FBRC RATING : 2.5 Stars


When 17-year-old Maddy Pruitt vanishes from her sleepy town, word on the street is that she ran away. The daughter of an abusive alcoholic with a quick temper, she had every reason to leave in search of something better, and everyone who knew Maddy knew the type of company she kept wasn’t always ideal.

But when a second 17-year-old girl from a local, affluent family turns up missing shortly after Maddy’s disappearance, the circumstances become suspicious. Even though the girls are perfect strangers from opposite sides of town, attended separate schools, and traveled in different social circles, it turns out they have more in common than anyone could have imagined.

With the clock ticking, those closest to the girls lead a frantic search, uncovering secrets, lies, and a web of deceit that might have the girls paying an ultimate price…if they don’t find them in time. 


DISCLAIMER : I received an ARC of this book from the author Marin Montgomery in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Marin for sending me the review copy of the book.

DISCLAIMER : The book contains physical abuse, human trafficking, kidnapping and themes of rape. So if you are someone who might get triggered by any of these please proceed with caution.

The synopsis drew me in and made me interested in the story. The prologue was not what I expected and I found myself being confused at certain parts in the prologue hoping things will get cleared up once I read the book. The story started off and we get the POVS from Maddy, her dad, Allegra, Valerie, and the detective who are the main characters in the book. Different POVS gives us a glimpse into what the characters are thinking and who they are and what their intentions are. The plot and the central idea of the book are very important and something that needs to be addressed more in books. It is a very serious issue that our society is facing and we need more discussions on these topics.

The majority of the characters in the book are heavily flawed. I have to say the way the plot was designed was confusing and the way the characters were linked to one another brought more problems and solutions to the story. Maddy is the first character we get to hear from and we realize she is having difficulties at home dealing with an abusive, alcoholic father. Her relationship with him is fractured and he has little to no care for her majority of the time. He is resentful of her presence and the fact that he was saddled with the responsibility of raising her on his own while her birth mother was free of her responsibilities to her daughter.

Brian, Maddy’s father is just the worst dad. He spends the majority of his time drunk and beating Maddy. He is a mechanic and rarely gets enough money to hold up his drinking habits and take care of Maddy. He has a girlfriend who has a daughter and he wants to move on with her. Life is difficult and Maddy has run away several times to escape only to come back later. Maddy s kidnapped and her life takes a turn for the worse. Brian doesn’t seem to care and he talks as if he cares for her and wants to get her back. His character seems to be flip-flopping between resentment and guilt for having it. To say their relationship is complicated would be an understatement.  

Some aspects added to Brian’s life seemed to be there to only serve the plot and hold some intrigue. We then have Valerie and Allegra who are influential in their town and have money and power in their community. Valerie is a very confusing character with the things she says and the things she does. We see the love between the mother and daughter even though she enables a lot of things for her daughter that is not entirely right for her. Allegra has led a very privileged life and she seems to be fairly level headed for the most part. 

Delaney is the detective who is in charge of the investigation. The questions he asks and his overall behavior and mannerism are not what I would personally expect from a detective. I don’t know how to explain to him. I feel like most of the time I read his portions, I was wondering why he says certain things that didn’t seem to have anything to do with the situation but rather a way to take the story forward or hit us with some history. The way the history between the characters was established just felt unnatural and it was weird. One scene, in particular, involving Delaney and Allegra was messed up on so many levels.

Overall the characters were OK but need more refinement and the way the story was woven together was choppy. The story in and of itself didn’t make a whole lot of sense. Yes, the concept and plot device that drove the plot forward was of utmost importance and conversations need to happen. But the way it was executed was not favorable in the storytelling in my opinion. I had difficulty reading certain scenes because of the heaviness of it. But I do believe the conclusion could have been better, some elements were not necessary, the link between characters wasn’t required and finally, I feel certain scenes were not explained fully or were resolved in the end. There was a mystery, suspense, and intrigue for how the story would progress. Unfortunately, I wasn’t really invested in the characters. I cannot explain all the scenes and events that made me confused at the turn of the events as it would spoil the story. I felt the book was OK and I have given it 2.5 stars. The book was not the one for me, but I believe some of you might be interested in it. It is a nicely paced book and has some heavy themes in it.

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