A Shadow at the Door

by Jo Dixon

Publisher: HQ Fiction 2024

Publisher’s blurb

After a brutal attack and the breakdown of her marriage, life has taught former TV star Remi Lucan that it’s safer to not rely on anyone. Instead, she’s buried herself in Hobart, transforming her dilapidated sandstone house back to its former splendour, and it has been her proudest achievement. Better than her short-lived acting career. Definitely better than being a smile-on-command trophy wife. But when she runs out of money, her wealthy ex-husband tries to force the sale of the property and Remi realises her only option is to lower her defences and take in tenants.

At first her biggest problem is adjusting to the intrusion of two unlikely housemates, but when a series of ‘accidents’ turns ugly, it becomes clear these incidents are more than pranks. Someone is out to get Remi, and they won’t stop until they destroy her…

Another twisty mystery from the bestselling author of The House of Now and Then.


by Zoe Deleuil

Former TV actress Remi has broken up with her partner, the wealthy and obnoxious Simon, and swapped her glamorous Sydney life for days spent alone, painstakingly restoring a creaky heritage house in Hobart. 

But there’s one problem – she needs to buy out Simon’s share of her home, and money is tight due to her precarious freelance career as an audiobook narrator. On the one hand, she’s exactly where she wants to be. On the other, she could lose it all if her ex decides to renege on their deal. 

‘It wasn’t loneliness, she told herself. She revelled in not having to accommodate the needs, wants or demands of others… She didn’t want to contain herself or consider others; she’d spent way too many years doing that. She’d become selfish and entirely self-reliant in his phase of her messy life and that was fine. Having full control was worth the odd night or two of feeling isolated.’ 

Her decision to take in two tenants provides some financial respite. One is an older woman, Josephine, who seems to have a few secrets of her own, while the other, Emerson, is creative and friendly, if a little annoying. Yet even as Remi solves one domestic crisis, others arise, causing her more stress and financial pain. A shadow is lurking, just out of view. Could it be her ex, his shiny new influencer girlfriend, Kaylee, or someone closer? As the novel unfolds, a picture builds of someone playing a careful psychological game with Remi, crafted to wear her down. 

Against this unsettling backdrop, Dixon explores themes of friendship and solidarity between women, and gives a timely nod to Australia’s troubled relationship with home ownership. Who has housing security and generational wealth and who doesn’t is a critical issue for many right now, and Dixon’s characters highlight this issue without the novel ever feeling didactic. All three women are a little unmoored; living outside the traditional confines of marriage and kids, they create a different kind of home for themselves, something that will resonate with and even inspire many readers. Both the lodgers, Josephine and Emerson, are standout characters, and the entire novel is a guidebook to respectful co-habitation. 

This is the second stand-alone thriller by Jo Dixon. Her first, The House of Then and Now, was also set in Tasmania, where she lives, and is centred around an atmospheric house. In A Shadow at the Door, the gothic setting of the island in winter is wonderful for readers like me who have never been there except through books. The crime at the heart of the novel is revealed with maximum impact, and the novel closes with the same polish and control that makes this domestic thriller a page-turner from start to finish.