The Devil’s Staircase by Helen Fitzgerald

This post will contain spoilers, you have been warned.

Pages: 217   Price: £8.00   Published: 2009 by Polygon
Genre: Thriller?


“Bronny, a young Australian, finds herself down and out in London. She’s a sweet girl who spent her teenage years in a fearful, cautious bubble and she’s soon caught up with a group of backpackers seeking a rent-free life of debauchery in what appears to be an abandoned townhouse. But they don’t realise someone’s already there…”

My Review:

It’s been a while since I read a bad book, but I can safely say this is one of the worst books I have ever read.

I’m so glad I only got this book for £1.00 as it was on a deal. I would be crying if I’d have spent £8.00 on this god awful piece of writing. I almost want to be petty enough to get a refund but unfortunately I cannot due to it being in a deal.

The book is written from 18 year-old Bronny’s perspective, or is it? As the writer constantly flicks between first and third person?. It’s not like the third person part is significant either, it’s not another person watching her and the third person narrative isn’t being used to build tension, so why flick between the two?

So the book starts with us as the reader being told from Bronny’s first person perspective that her mum has died of what we learn to be Huntington’s disease. However Bronny simple says “Mum had it, and had died in a pool of her own mad froth”. Charming. Being a hereditary disease, Bronny and her sister Ursula are checked for it. Ursula get’s the all clear so Bronny goes into melt down presuming she must have it and so she flee’s from the hospital before she is told the results. She decides to fly to London to spend her “good years she has left” doing something she wants to.

So what does she want to do before she dies? Find love? Travel the world? Sightsee? Create a bucket list?

No, No, Nope, No, Bronny wants to lose her virginity. Way to set the bar high for yourself.

It is agonising to read just how desperate she is, throwing herself at this boy called Francesco but he never sleeps with her. Bronny decides to get ‘advice’ from a girl called Fliss also living in the building Bronny, and a few other people who are pretty insignificant in the book, broke in to. Fliss is a prostitute, great source of advice clearly, but doesn’t get her anywhere.

The only other character that is somewhat significant is Pete. Pete is also staying at the squat with Bronny and the other characters that share a total of like 7 lines in the book. At first Bronny is repulsed by Pete and thinks he’s a creep and tries to stay away from him. But Pete reveals himself to be from Australia and oh look, shock horror, Bronny loses her virginity to him.

But wait, let’s not miss the actual story in all of this mess, there’s a woman naked and tied to a chair in the basement they don’t know. The woman is a mother to two boys who live on the other street to the squat. She’s sexually abused by a creep who clearly had childhood problems. It is so uncomfortable to read, yes that’s probably the point, but there’s a creepy/horror uncomfortable when reading and then there’s uncomfortable.

I also find it kind of weird that the book is dedicated to the Author’s daughter. Maybe that’s just me but eh.

So eventually this woman is found and handed to the hospital, the police investigate yadayadayada, Pete’s blamed cause the mask the predator was wearing was under his bed, Bronny cries and hates him, people turn on Bronny, Bronny wants out, Bronny runs and hides, Bronny rings for her hospital results (finally) and to no surprise they’re postive saying she has Huntingtons. Hamish a character from the squat finds her, big revelation it was Hamish (even though it makes no sense and he’s barely mentioned so why?). Pete comes to find Bronny being captured by Hamish, in a desperate attempted to escape and get free Bronny sacrifices herself to kill Hamish and so she dies in Pete’s arms (cue violins) and Pete is realising he’s lost everything while Bronny dreams of her family and dies. It’s so cliché it’s painful.

Would I read it again? Jesus no

It took me 2 days to read.

My Rating: 1/5 Stars

If you really want it: Here


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