Page Turner: Thirteen Storeys

Roommates can suck, but at least yours isn’t a fowl phantom presence. Well, it might be. I don’t know your circumstances.

Thirteen Storeys by Jonathan Sims is a horror novel which takes the concept of a haunted house ghost story and elevates it to a new level. 

The plot revolves around Banyan Court, London. A split residential complex, one for the ultra-rich (or those attempting to pass off as such) and the poor. One half lives like kings, the other barely surviving. However, there is a connection between the residents of both sides when supernatural horrors come out to play. Revealing the horrific past of Banyan Court, unspeakable deeds and history that refuses to stay dead.  

The novel kicks off with a bit of background information about the late Tobias Fell, the billionaire behind Banyan court. We learn from the get-go that he died at a party attended by residents that have no connections to each other and even their host. After that, the plot really gets going, telling the twisted tales of all the guests and their dreadful experiences in what should be the safest place for them, their own homes. 

This novel is so creepy. Some of the stories are more disturbing than others, but each scare is more creative than the last. It chilled my blood despite reading it during a heatwave. Who needs an icebath to beat the heat when you have a good horror novel?

Half of the fun comes from seeing all the connections to everyone the further along the book you get. Seeing each other pop up in someone else’s story, so by the end of the book, you know all the players very well.

The book may be a bit slow, but I swear to you, the ending more than makes up for it. It is perhaps the best climatic ending I have ever read in any horror novel prior. 

Bonus points for casual queer rep and diverse cast. It also discusses British atrocities both in the past and the present, like classism, racism and inhumane treatment.  

If you enjoy Sims’ other horror masterpiece, The Magnus Archives podcast, you will love this novel and vice versa. 

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