You know there’s a serial killer on the loose
You don’t know he’s hiding in your attic
There’s no perfect time to read a thriller about a serial killer trapped in a house. I read David Jackson’s The Resident during the first lockdown in Ireland and it captures the claustrophobia and fear that has become all too prevalent this year. Jackson may be most well known for his books featuring DS Nathan Cody, and, like those books, The Resident, which is a standalone, is superbly written. As readers have become accustomed to in Jackson’s books, his short chapters keep the tension going throughout.
In The Resident, Thomas Brogan, a serial killer on the run, finds himself in an abandoned house on the end of a row of terraced houses. He finds himself with no food or drink and must come up with creative ways to get these, which brings him into contact with some of the residents of the neighbouring houses. Brogan finds a way to move through the row of houses and he becomes a voyeur and is eventually involved with the different individuals including Elsie, an elderly woman, Martyn and Colette, a young couple, and an older couple. Brogan’s sadistic side is soon revealed as he plays mind games with the residents, particularly with Colette who he becomes fascinated with.
The book is unusual because of the inner monologue between Brogan’s different personalities that fight for space within his head. They’re expressed as different voices so, despite much of the book featuring Brogan on his own, his constant conversations with himself means that the pace never lets up. The book also features recollections of his childhood and his younger self which are then discussed and analysed amongst his inner voices.
Jackson’s writing is always evocative and exciting. He writes vividly about confined spaces which is something we’ve all experienced more of this year. I look forward to his next book, The Rule, released in 2021.
Viper, 16 July 2020
About the writer
David Jackson is the bestselling author of Cry Baby. His debut novel, Pariah, was Highly Commended in the Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger Awards. He lives on the Wirral peninsula with his wife and two daughters. Follow David @Author_Dave.