UNITED WE READ

BOOK OF THE MONTH

"The House of Love and Death"

BY ANDREW KLAVEN | PUBLISHED: OCTOBER 31, 2023

BOOK SUMMARY

Cameron Winter, the ex-spy-turned-English professor defies accepted narratives and corrupt local authorities to investigate the murder of a wealthy family in the Chicago suburbs. Insightful and atmospheric, The House of Love and Death is a penetrating mystery with a plot that cuts straight to the dark heart of some of modern America’s most pressing issues.

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MEET THE AUTHOR

ANDREW KLAVEN

Andrew Klavan is an American novelist and conservative political commentator. Klavan has also worked in film and as an essayist and video satirist. He is also known for being a political commentator and hosts The Andrew Klavan Show podcast on The Daily Wire. He has been nominated for the Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Award five times and has won twice. He has also won the Thumping Good Read Award from WH Smith and has been nominated twice for the Bouchercon’s Anthony. His books have been translated around the world. His essays and op-eds on politics, religion, movies, and literature have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, The Washington Post, and the LA Times. He has been called  “the most original novelist of crime and suspense since Cornell Woolrich.”

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Discussion Questions

1. Cameron Winter has no personal connection to the Wasserman case and the local authorities make it clear they do not want his help. Why do you think Winter feels so strongly about getting involved anyway?

2. The book opens with an epigraph from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein about “the various relationships which bind one human being to another in mutual bonds.” Which relationships stood out to you as being central in this story?

3. Which character in the book did you relate to most?

4. Were you surprised by the revelation of the culprit? Who did you suspect?

5. Would you have made the choice that Agnes makes when she realizes who has come to the house?

6. What lessons or morals do you think the author is trying to communicate with this story?

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diane
diane
8 days ago

Regarding question #1 : It is possible that Winter has a strong ethical core and when he realizes a situatiton is corrupt, he wants to right it. Many others may experience the same ‘pull’ but in Winter’s case he has the courage, brains, strength, astuteness, intuitiveness, etc to actually get involved.
Regarding question #2 : This is a fascinating quote because it can be interpreted in many ways. Bonds that connect us on a human soul level, bonds that connect us as in bondage. Agnes’ relationship with the children was especially poignant – a confident, parental fill-in – kind, caring and unselfish. An ind who turned around her life to embrace love, truth, honesty and courage. Most appreciated the connection b/t Winter and Mrs. Lord. The author certainly chose appropriate names for all the characters. The little dance they do is enjoyable and heartwarming.
Regarding question #3: I probably related to some aspect of each character; the human struggle of chosing good over evil. The dark sides that need reigning in. The light sides that need to be shared yet protected. The facade of bravado, the repungnace of cruelty to others. We all belong to the fates of the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful.
Regarding question #4 : Piquing the readers’ curiousity was part of the appeal of the story line. Wondering all the way through who the culprit could be. I was surprised it was Mateo’s younger brother but also, on some level, found it unlikely that one so young could be so strong as to tear Agnes’ clothing and beat her, shot people in cold blood, etc. Speaks to the degree of desparaton one can experience even at a young age. An important note to the reader is the power of addiction. The power of shame. The power of humiliation. All of which can be destructive forces if not healed. Tthe power of Faith as seen in Agnes; not discussed – more implied.
Regarding question #5. In order to answer this question, one must first contemplate if he/she has the awareness, insight, astuteness that Agnes has in making the decision.
Regarding question #6. This read offered many life lessons: Strength (or weakness) of character, struggling with decisions of right an wrong, succumbing to corruption, the need for healing the hurts so they don’t get acted out and displaced. The reality that life can be cold and chilling (Winter) or fascinating and curious (Cameron = mischievious). Life can also be difficult – lots of struggles, temptations, cruelty. Solid friends, nannies, partners, mentors, etc is what makes the difference. Most important is Faith in God.

diane
diane
11 days ago

Is anyone else reading this book? The summaries and reviews describe a fascinating read. Would enjoy having others with whom to discuss. Thanks !