Within These Walls by Ania Ahlborn

Release Date - April 21, 2015

Ania Ahlborn
Gallery Books

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

It's the chance of a lifetime. Lucas Graham, a true crime author, receives a letter offering him an interview with the very reclusive Jeffrey Halcomb, a death row inmate who killed a woman and her unborn child. It's the chance Lucas needs to revive his stagnant career, and possibly win back the affections of his wife and daughter.

There's one big catch though. Lucas must live in the home where the murder was committed. Plus, this all must happen within a specific period of time. Otherwise, Lucas loses out on his chance to be the only person to ever hear Jeffrey's side of the story.

Within These Walls jumps around from news clippings regarding the murders and past residents of the home, to Lucas's and his daughter's experiences within the home, and to the past where readers learn about Jeffrey's upbringing and how he met the woman he would be accused of murdering.

I admit, there was a definite creep factor. For all intents and purposes, Jeffrey Halcomb is just a version of Charles Manson. He's creepy and I definitely didn't want to connect with his character in any way. Not that I really needed to, it's clear from the start that this book is really about the house, Lucas, and his daughter. You see, Lucas's wife is cheating on him, their marriage is dangling by a thread, and the daughter connects with neither parent.

Take a grumpy teen, put her in a house with such a brutal past, and a father who is obsessed with writing another bestseller and you have two, possibly three if you count the house, characters that I ended up never liking. The daughter just needed to open up to her parents about her feelings. and Lucas needed to take his blinders off.

Despite not liking any of the characters, I kept reading. I wanted to know how things turned out. Once I'd finished, and without giving any spoilers, I guess I just felt cheated. The writing is solid, the story line has promise, but the delivery, for me anyway, really failed.


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