Cover Image: Thirteen Storeys

Thirteen Storeys

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Member Reviews

I’ll be honest I’m not familiar with this authors podcast but the premise of this book intrigued me. This book was certainly creepy and incredibly atmospheric - perfect for this time of year. I did think some of the characters and their stories were stronger than others - I personally enjoy the use of technology in horror so really enjoyed Carters (?) chapter. I think the main downfall of this book is there are way too many characters to keep track of. When it got to the end I wasn’t 100% sure who was who as we only have relatively short chapters where we meet each person. 

Thank you to NetGalley for providing an ecopy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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A very unique story. At times I thought it was brilliant, other times not so much. I am still undecided whether I enjoyed it or not, but it is playing on my mind- so there was definitely something gripping about it!
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A dinner party is held in the penthouse of Banyan Court, a multimillion-pound development in London. The building itself is divided into two different sides: one for the rich residents, one for the poorer ones. 

All the guests are strangers - even to their host, Tobias Fell, the billionaire owner of the building. None of them know why they were selected to receive his invitation. But no matter who they are, they share only one thing in common (besides a postcode) - they've all experienced a shocking disturbance within the building's walls.

The first page of the novel sets the stage for the paranormal horror: the dinner goes incredibly wrong, with Fell dead by the end of the evening. And each of the guests refuses to talk about what happened that night. 

Each chapter is told from the perspective of a different guest -- building up everything from their background to their day-to-day lives -- before diving into how they start to change, and the horrors that are waiting for them at Banyan Court. 

It was a bit tricky, at times, to keep track of all the characters and the underlying connections between them all. There were parts towards the end which referenced the start, and I found myself flipping back-and-forth for a refresh. 

But overall, I found that the book held a different kind of horror -- I was never sure what was real or not, and I found its stories of hauntings, obsession, and paranoia really got under my skin.
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Each of the first twelve stories focus on a different invitee to the party at the end of the book. These chapters are a bit of a mixed bag but are definitely the best part of the book with the ending being rather predictable. Each story (or storey) are rather creepy and different in their own rights - I don't want to give away any spoilers but they are all creepy and very different - and the characters all attend the party at the end. Recommended.
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The debut novel from Jonathan Sims, best known as the creator and star of the horror podcast The Magnus Archives, revolves around a London building. Banyan Court is the creation of billionaire entrepreneur Tobias Fell (who supposedly inhabits the penthouse, though nobody ever seems to see him). It's divided into two parts, and they are polar opposites: a set of expensive luxury apartments on one side, a designated block of 'affordable housing' on the other. Each chapter concentrates on the story of an individual resident; these characters hail from both sides of the building, and sometimes from outside it. There are – you guessed it – thirteen stories in all.

Every story is engrossing, though they vary in quality. The first – about Violet, who works night shifts – is good, but not remarkable; it's a readable, workmanlike tale of modern life and its cruelties, depicting an exhausted woman struggling to stay afloat (and awake). When I reached the second (Jésus, a wealthy and arrogant art dealer), however, I knew I was getting into something good. This story mixes ekphrasis, which is one of my favourite literary devices regardless of context, with horror; it's a winning combination, and the result is electrifying. The fourth story features a little girl and her imaginary friend, and contains a few lines that are more blood-curdlingly creepy than anything I've read this year. The tenth is another highlight: focusing on a mismatched pair of security guards, it boasts a blinding twist.

Like many readers, I was initially interested in this because of The Magnus Archives. I am extremely picky when it comes to podcasts, and Sims has written some of the best episodes I have ever heard. However, I think the currently airing series of the podcast (the fifth) has lost its way, so I wasn't necessarily predisposed to think Thirteen Storeys would be a work of genius. I was happy to find it has the same characteristics as all the finest Magnus Archives episodes, and indeed all the best horror: it's mostly grounded in reality, and it manages the difficult task of crossing the line into unadulterated supernatural terror without becoming overblown or silly.

Each story ends with the protagonist receiving an invite to a dinner party hosted by Tobias Fell, so it's pretty obvious throughout that the climactic chapter will depict the party. That climax is the least interesting part of the book, and its overarching moral is about as subtle as a sledgehammer. The greatest pleasures of Thirteen Storeys are definitely to be found in the individual stories, which make each character interesting and each distinct haunting memorable.
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Unexpected, Creatively Written....
Unexpected, creatively written and macabre telling of tales, each a story in own right, from each dinner guest at a multi-million pound penthouse party. All of the guests are strangers, even to the host. What secrets lie within the walls of this building? A dark, Winters night read and hugely entertaining.
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I love a good thriller/horror and this one was a good one! Thirteen people living in Banyon Court each having their own paranormal experiences with the climax to the book an invite to the elusive Tobias Fell's penhouse apartment - some of the stories were genuinely unsettling and creepy, which i loved! Great debut novel from the writer.
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Thirteen Storeys by Jonathan Sims a collection of stories about residents of Banyan court.  A building owned by Billionaire Tobas fell who died when he invited 12 people to dinner. Each story about the residents tell us of paranormal experiences that they have while residing there and after each of them being given an invitation to join Tobas fell for dinner.
I really enjoyed these unique stories about the residents that came to an inclusion at the end. Each from different backgrounds and some of them not knowing each other until that fateful night that brought them together and others meeting each other around the estate. Conversing with each other to see if they are experiencing the weird goings on that they have been witness too.  This book was creepy and atmospheric with some weird characters that kept me engaged throughout. I thought this was quite apt for this time of year.
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Creepy as hell and absolutely brilliant, this is an easy 5 stars. A perfect read for Halloween.
Full review to follow!
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If there were the perfect creepy, paranormal, gory thriller for Halloween then this would be it. A debut novel told from the points of view of 12 dinner guests of the veritable overlord Tobias Fell leading up to his death. I wasn’t sure what to make of this book to begin with but the more I read the more I was hooked. Each characters account is filled with details that put me on edge and made me anticipate the next twist. I definitely found some of the chapters scarier that others but Anna’s, Jason’s and Alvita’s stories were probably the ones who I thought were going to give me nightmares! It made me uneasy, jittery and on the edge of my seat every time I picked it up and then I didn’t want to put it down!
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For my final review of Hallowe’en 2020 I’m going to review a book not due out for a couple of weeks yet. However, I enjoyed it so much I thought that it might be worth a little heads-up.

Thirteen Stories is a great example of an anthology novel – one where a number of stories are connected together by a framing story. I used to love these anthologies as movies too – anyone who has seen old Amicus movies such as Tales from the Crypt (1972), Asylum (1972) or Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors (1965) will know what I mean.

In this case the framing story is that of billionaire Tobias Fell, who was found dead in mysterious circumstances in his penthouse in the flats he owned in Banyan Court, London.

We are told that on the night of his death Fell had a meal with thirteen invited guests, all seemingly unconnected to himself. They did not know each other, nor had met Fell before that evening. Each of the thirteen guests tells a story here, until the end where things connect for a final conclusion.

This is a great setup. You may know Jonathan from his audio podcast, The Magnus Files, where Jonathan narrates stories as the archivist of strange tales, and I can see that this would work very well in that format. From the first character, Jonathan piles on the chills to create an effective atmosphere throughout.

The characters are expectedly diverse, which makes the reader wonder what common connection they share. They all have very different backgrounds which suggest that they wouldn’t normally socialise. There are rich people and poor people (living in the less salubrious part of the block at the back of the building).There are students, lifestyle gurus, cleaners and maintenance men, concierges, estate agents, rich girls living off Daddy’s money, single parents struggling to make a living and children left alone to amuse themselves, amongst others.

Part of the fun is working out how all of the thirteen characters are connected. Some of them meet in their respective stories, although their reason for being at the banquet is not clear until towards the end. We discover along the way that throughout all the mysterious billionaire pervades everything. Tobias is not a nice person, which makes the reason for the invitations all the more intriguing.

All is resolved at the end, and the ending makes both logical sense and is a suitable ending to the novel.

I picked this one up with no knowledge of its contents or the author, and as a result was pleasantly surprised by what I read. I found it to be a book that starts slowly but grips and builds to an effective end. A book that takes old traditions and gives them a contemporary spin. Happy Halloween, all.
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What a weird, confusing, brilliant book.

First off all I need to say that the blurb on the back of the book is completely misleading. If you are going into this expecting a thriller (like I was) you will be disappointed and may even not finish reading. So if you completely ignore the description and read it as individual short horror stories you will love it. Once I adjusted my expectations, I found myself really enjoying it.

Each chapter introduces you to a new character and story and I found that some worked for me and I loved, whilst others dragged and I couldn't wait to move onto the next chapter.

Well written, creative, weird, creepy, foreboding and with an unexpected dark humour.

Was it the book I was expecting to read? No.
Did I enjoy it? Yes.
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I will start by saying that this is not the book that I was expecting. The book is more like a book of short stories. Each story is about a different resident of an apartment building owned by billionaire Tobias Fell. Each of these residents have a unique paranormal experience and at the end of each story they get an invitation to a dinner party hosted by Tobias Fell. We know right from the start that Tobias Fell was murdered at this dinner party but none of the guests admit to knowing anything. The book ends with the residents attending the dinner party. 

As with all collections of short stories I enjoyed some more than others. I liked that each story was unique and we got to meet very different characters. The horror within these stories is psychological which was a relief to me because I was worried there might be body horror. 

I would recommend this to anyone who likes a good ghost story with a touch of horror.
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I really enjoyed this book all the way through.  It had a really good plot, great main characters and really keeps you hooked on the plot.  I would highly recommend this book.
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My thanks to the Author publishers and NetGalley for providing me with a Kindle version of this book to read and honestly review.
This is a very clever descriptive engaging tale, atmospheric with brilliantly drawn characters who leap off the page. Thirteen Storeys refers to a block of flats in London owned by a reclusive billionaire who lives in the penthouse, but very cleverly also refers to thirteen chapters each a short story about a particular individual character, but all ultimately linked to complete the tale of an very original haunted house but on a grand scale.
Totally recommended.
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Tobias Fell, rich owner of Banyon Court, is dead.  He died during a dinner party in front of 12 guests.  None of the guests had met Fell before and they didn’t really know each other either. The only thing that connects them is that they live in Banyon Court - either in the luxury apartments or in the affordable housing and all of them had had some very strange experiences in the run up to the invitation. None of the guests are willing to say what happened during the dinner party or who killed him so it will remain a mystery. 

This was a really interesting read.  We meet each of the twelve guests individually and get to know about the strange, unnerving experiences they have had in the run up to receiving the invitation from Fell and then we get to the dinner party - so thirteen stories!  A really good read. 

Thanks to Netgalley, Orion Publishing and Jonathan Sims for the ARC of this book in return for an honest review.
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This was a very strange book and although it was different to how I thought it would be I found it to be a completely riveting read. I have to admit that at first I wasn’t so sure this was going to be a read I would enjoy as each chapter is a different story and I’m not a lover of short stories but the difference here is that each story is connected and I have to say these stories were weird, creepy and downright gruesome in some cases and they all led to one hell of a horrifying finale.
Difficult to describe more about this book as it was so many things bordering on horror its very cleverly written and I was surprised this was a debut because the of complexity of the read. 
It’s a book to send shivers down you spine and draw you into a strange and weird world ... I liked it a lot it was unusual and even though at times it was just a bit too graphic in the descriptions I found it to be a very entertaining read. 
My thanks to NetGalley and  Orion Publishing Group, Gollancz for giving me the chance to read the ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.
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I received an ARC of this book thanks to NetGalley and publisher Orion Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review.

I was incredibly hyped to read this book and I have to say, I'm a little disappointed. I think the blurb is rather misleading and it gave me the wrong impression of what this book was. Rather than it being a set of alibis/ghost stories presented after the billionaire has died mysteriously, it is instead a short story collection of various people in the building encountering various ghosts before being invited to a dinner with the billionaire. The short stories themselves are only connected by a few characters and the building, so this book resembles more of an anthology than one cohesive narrative. It is only the final story where the billionaire dies and you find out what happens at the dinner party, tying the stories together.

Having said that, once I got over my disappointment with the premise, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The stories can get a little repetitive with the structure, but some of the ghost ideas are exceptionally cool. I particularly liked the haunted smart house, the concierge one and the imaginary friend. Apart from the smart house story, the final one is easily the best. It was a brilliant payoff to the premise promised by the blurb and had much needed (if a bit heavy handed) social commentary.

I do really wish this had been a full length novel. You could have taken 3 or 4 of the characters and focused on them, plus the billionaire. It would have allowed for more interaction between the characters and a deeper exploration of the ghost stories and social themes. But for what it is, Thirteen Storeys is decent. It's a shame the anthology format did it no favours.

Overall, I would still recommend this book to anyone who enjoys ghost stories and is looking for one with a more modern/unusual twist. There are plenty of interesting ghost concepts and goings on to enjoy, and the bonus of the last story tying everything together really does make this collection worth a look.

Overall Rating: 3.5/5
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I enjoyed this novel despite it being quite hard to follow but I suspect that's because I read it in several sittings. Read it in two or three for best results as all the threads are pulled tight at the end and the more you remember the more satisfying it is.
An interesting and unique premise that was very well written and it's freaked me out!
All set over a short space of time in one tower block in London
That cover is everything!
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I chose to read and review a free eARC of Thirteen Storeys but that has in no way influenced my review.

Some books pass you by. They're instantly forgettable and not your thing at all. Other books - like Thirteen Storeys - have the ability to stop you dead in your tracks and make you feel like you're missing out on something incredibly special if you don't read them. I saw this book reviewed on another blog and it absolutely sang to me. I couldn't stop thinking about it. I couldn't get the cover out of my head. I feel like I'm being very melodramatic but oh well, it felt like there was an actual real life connection between me and Thirteen Storeys. And what a corker of a read it was!

Normally at this point in one of my reviews I would recap the blurb for you. I've decided to not do that when it comes to Thirteen Storeys as the publisher's blurb tells you everything you need to know and I think my 'take' on it wouldn't add anything. In fact, I'm concerned I may say something I shouldn't so, to save my blushes, please refer to the blurb if you haven't done so already 😂

This cracking book opens with a newspaper report on the anniversary of the death of multi-billionaire, Tobias Fell. Fell's many achievements - including the commission of a high rise tower block in Whitechapel, Tower Hamlets called Banyan Court which, incidentally, is the home of many of the guests - is noted. But what the reporter really draws attention to is Fell's very unusual and highly suspicious death. Witnessed by thirteen guests at a very exclusive dinner party, no one is really sure how he died (quite so horrifically) and one thing is for sure, they are certainly not going to talk about it. Each chapter tells the story of one of those thirteen guests in the lead-up to that notorious dinner party. Giving the reader a tantalising and intriguing glimpse into thirteen very different lives and what ultimately connects them. There are strange and creepy goings-on at Banyan Court and the author has done a masterful job of creating an outstanding cast of characters, all of whom pull the reader into their world.

Each story is individual and stands tall, but the tendrils of Banyan Court run through them all with familiar characters appearing all over the place and memorable events being seen from different view points. I loved this book and found the author's approach very refreshing. It's a short story collection, but not. All of the events and characters in Thirteen Storeys are under one big horror laden umbrella. It's a very clever and well-written novel.

Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. Thirteen Storeys is a beautifully written contemporary horror novel that I know for sure will leave its mark on me. I don't remember reading anything like this before and it was an absolute delight. The excitement I felt as I approached the end of the book, having lived through the characters' trauma with them, was palpable. I couldn't wait to find out what had happened to Fell. It was a thrilling ride and I was deeply satisfied with the stomach-churning conclusion. I loved this book and would happily read more by this author. Highly recommended.

I chose to read and review an eARC of Thirteen Storeys. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.
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