Do not disturb
Moving to a new place should be something special but when you learn what happens to Kirsty and her family you too might think twice before picking up stakes and moving into a new home. But, this is not an ordinary home, it is a guest house which when all of them check in things start to happen that lets you know this place has a history and not a good one.
This guesthouse is in the Welsh mountains and appearances care deceiving. Kirsty, her husband Adrian and her two daughter Amelia and Evie along with Carol, Kirsty’s mom, move into the little village in the Brecon Beacons in Wales. Looking at the house before they fix it up the roof needs work, the walls need painting but moving from London to get a fresh start seemed right. Adrian had a breakdown and left his job to write his novel.
The book opens with a scene that will haunt readers. Carol, her mom is scene hunched over a dead body. Then we get the back events and the book flashes back two months before the guest house is ready. Amelia is livid and hates the move and thinks the house is haunted and cursed. Evie walks in her sleep and is always going into the parent’s room to sleep. The town’s people are cold and unfriendly and not welcoming to the family. People that are outsiders need to not be there and there are stories that the house might be haunted.
Life was fine for a while until her mother informs her that her cousin Selena will be a guest for a while with her disabled daughter, Ruby. Ruby is thin, hardly walks and in a wheelchair. As you get to know her and see Selena with her you wonder what is really making her so sick or who. Selena and Kirsty have not seen each other for over 20 years due to an argument and bringing it into the present sheds a new light on things but Selena is the queen of lies and storytelling and what she reveals in the present is hurtful and more. Added in her adopted brother Nathan and his wife arrive and they are having troubles too plus Evie things the house is haunted.
Conversations are tense and fear builds within Evie, Kirsty and Amelia warns her sister to be careful. Selena and her old boyfriend Dean seem to want a new start but there is something off about him and then someone is sending dead bouquets of flowers and someone put a noose over Kirsty’s door. Things get more intense when Carol finds a dead body.
There are many issues that are brought to light before the answer to the murder is revealed. Family disharmony, distrust, betrayal, mental illness , suicide and depression. There is no backstory about what caused Adrian’s breakdown but as the story moves ahead we might learn more about how he handles the murder and where this leads Kirsty and her family in the future.
The police arrive and questions are asked but where is Dean, why is Kirsty so defensive, and what about the other guests? Who might have committed the murder or was it just an accident and the victim fell?
Lies, betrayals and then a secret about Selena comes to light as Carol tells Kirsty something never to be revealed and Kirsty does some research about the history of her house and what she learns is startling and frightening as another death took place years before. Guests leave, her brother Nathan and his wife remain, Ruby needs care and the twists, turns and surprises are coming. Just who killed the victim? Why? What will happen to Ruby? Where is Nigel and what role did Dean play? Added in Adrian’s past might come to the present will he have another breakdown too because of all the tension, fear and strain?
Told in the voice of Kirsty Woodhouse, you can hear the crackling in her tone at times, the fear and the despair. Her relationship with her mother is strained, her father is gone and now she must deal with a murder. Selena was the queen of tall tales and telling her about her own father, Uncle Owen you wonder what fact is and what is fiction. Her mother was abusive, and her father did nothing to change it. Carol and Serena are close and the tension between her and Selena is felt throughout the novel. Dean is crude and disappears and is nowhere to be found and her mother, is constantly critical of her. Ruby’s illness seemed to be a product of her mother wanting her to be ill. Nancy who helps clean the guesthouse seems to feel that the house has bad energy and might be cursed plus Janice who seems to have psychic powers.
The veils of deceit are quite heavy, and you can almost get closed in by the thickness of this covering as Kirsty learns some harsh realities about Selena, her father and even her own adopted brother. Hidden truths and lies come to the forefront, a killer is hiding in plain sight and someone is going to down for it but is it the right person? Julia and Nathan have issues to iron out? Nigel, Ruby’s father comes and brings a new perspective a hidden truth. Carol has been hiding and harboring a secret that has ripped her apart inside for years as Kirsty learns the harsh truths and lies about Selena.
The police are on the case, Dean is on the loose and then an attempt is made on Kirsty’s life if she does not lie for this person. Do Not Disturb the title has many implied meanings as you can turn it on your phone not to get voicemails, alerts or even text messages. But, when you read this novel, dig into the plot and read into the underlying meaning of what these characters are relating you almost feel like they do not want you to disturb their lives, their actions, thinking or motives when committing a deed that will if found out or brought to light will interfere with his/her life.
Author Claire Douglas takes us inside the minds of each character and vividly describes in detail their motives, feelings, actions and their words most of all when explaining or justifying their actions. But those that are most vulnerable: Ruby, Evie and Amelia have their own secrets to hide as Kirsty must face a harsh reality and one child tells her something that will change it all. Just who killed the victim? Why? Just what really happened and who pushed this person? What lies about Selena come out to explain Ruby’s illnesses?
Do Not Disturb is a disturbing novel that leads you to believe at the end when you read the last page and the last line: is this over yet or what’s next?
Fran Lewis: Just reviews