If you are a budding writer of thriller, crime or horror fiction then Susan Hill is where you should go for tutorials on how to build menace. I’m the King of the Castle is a story which induces fear of immense proportion, totally outweighing the size of its slim volume. As the chapters progress we witness ever more cringeworthy episodes of the persecution and exploitation of a boy powerless to resist the bullying, underhand tactics of his almost-step-brother; these eventually push him to extremes and the saddest of ends. Hill does her usual expert best at building the psychological intimidation dished out by the persecutor and the escalating anxiety felt by the persecuted. It is heart-rending to witness the parental indifference, the vulnerability of the helpless boy and the pure evil of the cruel bully. This book is short, but says so much about power and powerlessness in society and as you may expect, it does not have a happy ending. Just when you think the young victim has found a means of escape, his way out is blocked again leaving him with few options. I urge you to read this book and marvel at a masterful example of a violence-free psychological thriller, made that much more moving by it’s tragic pre-teen central characters.