Publishing Info: February 7, 2023 by Forge Books, Macmillan
Genres: Adult, Mystery/Thriller
Date Completed: February 6, 2023
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
After every divorce, one spouse gets all the friends. What does the other one get? If they’re smart, they get the benefits. Alyssa Macallan is terrified when she’s dumped by her wealthy and powerful husband. With a devastating divorce looming, she begins to suspect her toxic and manipulative soon-to-be-ex is scheming to ruin her—leaving her alone and penniless. And when the FBI shows up at her door, Alyssa knows she really needs a friend.
And then she gets one. A seductive new friend, one who’s running from a dangerous relationship of her own. Alyssa offers Bree Lorrance the safety of her guest house, and the two become confidantes. Then Bree makes a heart-stoppingly tempting offer. Maybe Alyssa and Bree can solve each others’ problems.
But no one is what they seem. And the fates and fortunes of these two women twist and turn until the shocking truth emerges: You can’t always get what you want. But sometimes you get what you deserve.
This was my first Hank Phillippi Ryan book and I can’t say I’m itching to pick up a second one. THE HOUSE GUEST was described as a “cat-and-mouse thriller” so I expected a lot of back-and-forth suspicion between the two main characters, but there really wasn’t much of a thrill at all and Alyssa was way too trusting the entire book. She was suspicious of her husband (soon-to-be ex) and yet, let a total stranger live with her and became her best friend in a matter of a week. And sure, let’s throw in another stranger who we immediately trust too! Why not!
I didn’t feel thrilled by this at all. Sure, I was suspicious of Bree, but that was me as a reader, not me being involved in this story at all. Aside from blatantly obvious lies about a creepy boyfriend who kept calling her, Alyssa trusted Bree way too much. She ended up having some doubts, but she let her stay at her home unattended, took trips with her, told her secrets… Seems pretty dumb when you don’t trust your husband to be in your house, know he’s done shady things, and could be setting you up in any number of ways. The ended of how all of this unfolded was also stupid, forced, and I just didn’t like it at all.
The worst thing about this book, for me, was that nothing happened for 80% of this book.
– Alyssa fears her husband is gaslighting her (which gaslighting isn’t quite the right word for moving stuff around in her house), and nothing happens
– Bree finds out she has long lost family and a huge inheritance, and nothing happens
– Dez starts hanging around with them and Alyssa treats him like a close friend, finally gets a little suspicious, and nothing happens
– Bill keeps moving things around their house (supposedly), and nothing happens
– There’s a secret compartment in the closet, and nothing happens
– There’s someone who claims to be an FBI agent and threatens Alyssa, and nothing happens
All this time, the characters are just bonding and going to other properties that Bill & Alyssa own. Alyssa talks to her lawyer, blah blah blah. If I hadn’t been 50% through this book already and driving in the car listening to the audiobook, I wouldn’t have finished it, but I pushed forward because I’m not going to play with my phone and change audiobooks while driving on the highway.
Things FINALLY happened in the last 20% and it wasn’t even interesting. It all felt so forced and silly the way it unfolded when things could have been slowly hinted at or even given to us right from the start. I think it would have been MORE interesting to know more things and feel more suspense than save it for a “twist” and feel like we didn’t know enough about what was going on. This book could have gone in a totally different direction (the direction I was hoping) and just didn’t. Different styles for different people, but this was not my style. I was way too bored and there wasn’t enough suspense to keep me interested in this one.
IF YOU LIKED THIS, READ…