‘Whatever Mum’s saying’s drowned out by the grimy roar of the bus pulling away, revealing a pub called The Fox and Hounds. The sign shows three beagles cornering a fox. They’re about to pounce and rip it apart. A street sign underneath says WESTWOOD ROAD. Lords and ladies are supposed to be rich, so I was expecting swimming pools and Lamborghinis, but Westwood Road looks pretty normal to me.’

Every nine years, someone walks down Slade Alley and finds the small iron door set into the wall. They open the door to find themselves in a beautiful sunlit garden and are invited into a house that is so welcoming that they never want to leave it. Later, they find that they can’t.

I’ve only read one David Mitchell novel before (Number9dream, which was not for me), and was a little worried when I read that Slade House is set in the same world as his novel The Bone Clocks in case I didn’t entirely understand it. But Slade House is a self-contained novella, a bitesize piece of fiction perfect for settling down with on a dark and stormy night and consuming all in one go.

It’s difficult to talk about this book without giving too much away, so I can’t really talk about the characters or the structure all that much. Rest assured, though, that each of the characters is realistically drawn and sympathetic enough for you to care about what is happening to them – and fear the inevitable fate lying in wait for them.

The fantastical descriptions were dizzying and engrossing, feverish and psychedelic, trapping you in a world where nothing is as it seems and danger lurks around every corner. There were some genuinely chilling moments, making this the perfect book to read as the nights close in and winter tightens its hold.

The plot is gripping and full of suspense (which is why I can’t go into too much detail here; I think you’ll enjoy it more if you don’t know the full plot). It’s very unusual and at times, perhaps, a bit difficult to follow, but this didn’t really dent my enjoyment of the book as a whole. It’s also repetitive and there are some plot devices I wouldn’t have expected an experienced writer like Mitchell to have resorted to.

However, despite its issues, I would still recommend this for those who like their thrillers to have a supernatural and surreal edge. Fans of Stephen King will especially enjoy it.