• Hinton Magazine

Dream House: Buyers beware! Suspenseful Novel Proves Neighbours from Hell Live in the Country too!

Phil Hall’s debut novel takes the notion of a dream house to a whole new level. Planning a fresh start following Doug’s illicit affair, the purchase of a new home in rural Surrey unleashes a chain of chilling events that places the Robinson family on the brink of collapse


Basing his debut novel in the Surrey hills the author calls home, Phil Hall delivers an unsettling tale that will make every reader suspicious of the person they’re buying a house from, and the community in which they’re planning to live.

With redundancy and a creative writing course undertaken in 2018 spurring him on to launch a new career as an author, Phil has mastered the themes of suspense, intrigue, and revenge. His first full length story also leaves the reader asking: “What more can happen to the Robinsons?”


Synopsis of Dream House:

Doug and Cathy Robinson leave behind a cramped house in a suburban town and set out to make a new start for themselves and their two young children following Doug’s illicit affair. Their prospects look good when they get the chance to live in their ‘Dream House’ when the present owners are forced to sell after father, Jim Woods, loses his job. But the Woods are reluctant to give up their own dream house and when Jim’s fortunes recover, he quickly returns to the property to ask the Robinsons to resell the house back to him.

Despite a positive start with a friendly barbecue and a welcoming jewellery party for Cathy, it’s not long before the climate changes and peer pressure in the small community begins to take effect. It starts with odd occurrences such as a misplaced for-sale sign but builds with the death of their puppy and an attack on their daughter.


Eventually the dam breaks for Cathy and with her family on the verge of collapse she begs Doug to sell the house and let them escape with their sanity. But Doug refuses to be bullied by unknown forces and secretly elects to take revenge.


With Doug embroiled in his own plot; he starts to lose the one person he is trying to save, as Cathy feels she no longer recognises her husband and moves out to live with her parents. The book culminates with the discovery that one of their neighbours has been hiding stolen diamonds in their kitchen and that Doug’s former lover is seeking her own unique type of closure.


And finally, when the Robinsons escape to a new life, another unwanted surprise awaits them.

The author says:

“While I like the escapist type of thriller where someone has 24 hours to save the world, when it came to writing my own version, I wanted to aim for something more within the reach of the reader. My objective was to create a story where anyone could picture him or herself as Doug or Cathy and ask themselves what would I do if faced with that scenario. Hence I tried to combine the idea of a page turning thriller with a dose of everyday life.”

About the Author:

Dream House is the debut novel of Phil Hall. He has previously contributed film reviews to a university magazine and a chapter to an anthology, but this is his first attempt at a full-length story.

He attended King Edward VI Grammar school in Chelmsford and studied Economics at UEA in Norwich, before embarking on a career in marketing – the perfect grounding for writing. Phil lives in Surrey with his wife and daughter and a cat called Tiger. He lives in a comfortable house but not a dream house in an ordinary street, definitely not a cul-de-sac.


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