Jess Kidd – The Hoarder (4 stars)

Jess Kidd – The Hoarder

Gripping mystery with a supernatural bent and comic flair

Jess Kidd's follow-up to her debut novel Himself is the story of carer Maud Drennan, who has recently been assigned to the home of cantankerous Cathal Flood. This once-grand house is overrun with cats and teaming with two decades of rubbish. As Maud clears out the few rooms she is allowed to access a series of clues, seemingly from 'the other side', suggest the house holds a potentially murderous secret.

Together with her agoraphobic, transgender landlady and a gang of saintly apparitions Maud attempts to uncover the truth. The investigation brings up an unsolved incident from her own past and the dual mysteries are continually flipped on their heads as new perspectives flesh out the stories.

Kidd's writing is incredibly imaginative, viscerally describing the curiosities and horrors that lie behind Flood's barricade of National Geographics, and she has a talent for unusual similes. Her characters are complex and drawn with a deft comic touch that blends tender moments with a comedy of manners. The Hoarder is a gripping mystery, grounded in the realities of isolating secrets and enriched with a supernatural bent and comic flair.

Published by Canongate on Thu 1 Feb.