Book Club Kit: The Family at No. 12 by Anita Waller | Jo Linsdell

Book Club Kit: The Family at No. 12 by Anita Waller


Book Club Kit The Family at No. 12 by Anita Waller

Book Club Kit

The Family at No. 12 by Anita Waller

Please be aware going into this post that it is for people who have read the book and therefore contains some spoilers.

About the book

Publisher: Boldwood Books

Genre: Mystery, Crime, Psychological Thriller

Number of pages: 336

ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1804153079
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1804153079

Published: November 29, 2022

Purchasing links:  Amazon 

Book Covers

The Family at No. 12 by Anita Waller book cover

Book Synopsis

The explosive new thriller from international bestseller Anita Waller.

When Janette answers the door to a potential customer looking to board his dog, she never imagines he has nefarious plans.

But minutes later he’s dead and in her cellar.

Weeks later she realises she’s pregnant.

And so she becomes Mother and the baby Child, and a hidden life begins.

But all secrets come out eventually . . .

About the Author

Anita Waller was born in Sheffield, South Yorkshire in 1946. She married Dave in 1967 and they have three adult children.

With many books to her name, she feels she has finally realised her dream. She writes mainly psychological thrillers, but was commissioned in 2018 to write a cosy mystery series, the Kat and Mouse trilogy. By November 2020 this will have grown to five books, plus a spin-off standalone novel called Epitaph, featuring Doris, one of the characters from the series. This series has now led on to a spin-off series, the Connection Trilogy, with books entitled Blood Red, Code Blue and Mortal Green. All her books, which will number twenty by the time Mortal Green is available, have been published by Bloodhound Books.

In 2021 Waller signed a five book deal with Boldwood Books, and as at December 2022 has two published books with them, One Hot Summer and The Family at No.12, with Fatal Secrets, the first in a new series set in Sheffield, due to launch 8th February 2023.

She is now in her mid-seventies, happily writing most days and would dearly love to plan a novel, but has accepted that isn’t the way of her mind. Every novel starts with a sentence and she waits to see where that sentence will take her, and her characters. If writer's block intrudes, be sure there will be a death.

In her life away from the computer in the corner of her kitchen, she is a Sheffield Wednesday supporter with blue blood in her veins!

Her genre is murder - necessary murder.

Author Interviews

"I sometimes feel as if the genre chose me – I have a particularly twisted mind which lends itself to psychological thrillers. The first books I wrote (and never attempted to get published) were in the Mills and Boon style, but I always wanted to kill off a character or two, and I soon realised I was writing against my inclinations." Read the full interview by Marisse Whittaker here. 

Book Reviews

"The Family at No. 12 is a suspenseful, dark and chilling story. I don’t think it will be everyone’s cup of tea due to the nature of the storyline of which the author has never been one to shy away from tough subjects as sadly they do go on in everyday life. If you like your thrillers on the darker and twisted side however, then you will be in for a great ride with this book. It certainly kept me on edge with all sorts of things running through my head. Disturbing yet heart-breaking, this is another great read guaranteed to keep it’s readers turning those pages." Read the full review by bytheletterbookreviews here

 "The writing is excellent and the way the author conveys the awful situation is both skilled and addictive though there should be a warning with this read – it’s not for the faint of heart." Read the full review by Jera's Jamboree here.

"This is certainly not a read for the faint-hearted; in fact it’s incredibly dark in places and parts made me feel quite distressed reading it early on and I wasn’t entirely sure I was going to stick with it as a result.

That said, I persevered and I’m so glad I did!

While the content is often grisly, the character portrayal is fascinating and as the storyline develops, there are plenty of plot twists to add even greater suspense." Read the full review by Pickled Thoughts and Pinot here.

"The Family at No.12 is quite a harrowing read, but I was invested in the characters particularly in the life of Janette’s daughter, and this kept me reading." Read the full review by Hooked From Page One here. 


"This is very sensitively  and cleverly written, key sentences giving the reader scope for their own imagination of the situation. There are several twists and turns, just as I love a psychological thriller to be and the ending was just perfect. Another stunningly compulsive read from a truly brilliant author- please sign me up for the next one right now!" Read the full review by Nicki's Book Blog here.


Discussion Questions

1. Janette cared more about Billy than 'Child'. Why do you think she could have caring instincts for the dog but not her own flesh and blood?

2. Do you think the adoptive dad would have acted that way if Marta hadn't provoked him? 

3. Marta and Ellie's relationship changed a lot over time. How co-dependent do you think they are on each other? 

4. Do you think Marta manipulated Ellie?

5. Do you think Marta and Ellie will be happy together? 

6. Lorraine was used by the girls. What do you think made Lorraine do it?

7. Do you think Marta's half brother and sister will ever be part of her life?

8. History repeated itself. Grandmother, mother, and indirectly daughter were all killers. Do you think they were all destined to be killers at some point in their lives?

Quotes from The Family at No. 12 by Anita Waller

At twenty-four years of age, she had reached the decision that she simply didn’t like people; she liked dogs.

She had watched enough crime programmes on television to tell her what it would be like reporting a rape. It would be fobbed off as all her fault; she must have led the man on, she was probably wearing the wrong clothes. No, no police.

She wanted nothing to eat, but the tea was most welcome. It revived her somewhat, and she stared down at the child. She knew then that it would never have a name. It would be Child. And she would be Mother.

Child was clearly here to stay, but she couldn’t imagine what the future would hold when Child became able to think for herself. That was many years away, but the problem would also sit in her mind for all those years.

It almost took away Janette’s breath as she studied it. Now she understood exactly where her own artistic talents came from. Mother couldn’t read, but she was an absolute master of the arts.

Janette didn’t want to think about a future, didn’t want to contemplate her own mortality and what would happen once she was dead. It was irrelevant. She hadn’t wanted to think about what would happen once her own mother died, but life had continued to evolve once that event had occurred, and she had no doubt things would work out one way or another when she herself passed over.

She had been too afraid to cry, too scared to speak, and had simply laid on the floor, trembling. She couldn’t remember why, what she had done to cause such an eruption of anger in Mother. But she could remember no food for two days, and having to use a bucket in her room because she was locked in and couldn’t get out to go to the bathroom…

Again, Billy gave a gentle bark of agreement, then pushed his food bowl with his nose. She laughed. ‘Sorry, I forgot to feed you! I’m a bad mother, aren’t I?’

Everything Child learned she learned by brutality and bullying.

She began to live in her own tiny fantasy world –another Child sat at the side of her, they held hands and smiled at each other. And the other Child cried with her, but Mother couldn’t see her; Child Two never had to feel the pain alongside her.

She felt more than panicked; what if she required a stay in hospital? Who would feed Billy?

Had she loved the dog? She thought so but wasn’t too sure what love was.

‘No, you live in a city called Sheffield, and your country is England.’ Lorraine decided not to expand on the whole UK bit, time enough to learn such convolutions in the future.

Thirteen years of childhood lost beyond redemption, leaving a much-damaged child who thought everything was going to hurt her.

There is a need to get her into mainstream schooling as soon as possible, but we simply don’t know how fast she will learn. It’s dreadful to think that if her mother hadn’t fallen down those stairs, she could have gone through her whole life never learning anything.’ ‘I honestly don’t think she realised there was stuff to learn,’ wasn’t just her father she felt uncomfortable around, she really didn’t like anybody of the masculine sex being anywhere near her.

Only Ellie was concerned; she wondered if maybe the hours spent in her bedroom producing the outstanding work were leading Marta away from her decision to go to university. Would she simply finish her A levels, say enough is enough, and immerse herself in her art? Or was she copying Ellie’s own way of dealing with a father with hands that seemed to want to touch all the time?

There was a pause in the conversation, then Alex looked down at his feet. ‘I went out for a meal with a friend. Then we came back here, and my friend stayed over.’ ‘Is she married?’ Alan was puzzled by Alex’s reticence. ‘No. She’s a he. And I’d rather my family didn’t know yet, if that’s okay with you.’

Book Club Kit The Family at No. 12 by Anita Waller

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