“No action is bad in itself; I mean, even murder can be justified...”
Set in the familiar setting of a pub, House Rules
follows the story of three unlikely heroes who come together and show that it is possible to carry out an evil act, and get away with it.
Martin is a computer expert. After his family run into financial difficulties, he believes that he can manipulate the money supply and rise from the ashes, but his psychotic tendencies and reliance on alcohol get in the way. Richard is a public schoolboy, creative soul and leading light in the advertising industry. When the two men become friends in a profound way, they team up to rule the pub with a rod of iron. Joanna and Sabrina, the respective spouse and girlfriend, inhabit the pub’s alcove with Jane, a lesbian who believes in sexual equality. Tensions rise as Joanna and Martin’s relationship is revealed to be cruel and abusive, and Joanna decides to leave Martin.
As a painful divorce looms, Joanna and Jane attempt to get a more advantageous settlement and secretly record the men’s conversations. Deciding to record their shared experiences in a short story, Jane sends her manuscript over to Joanna, but Martin hacks into the computer and the die is cast. A murder is committed, and fact and fiction merge as the reader is taken through the events of the first half of the book and what happens thereafter...
Inspired by Tom Sharpe, Robert Peston and Quentin Tarantino, House Rules
deals with a number of issues, including mental health, domestic abuse and fascist behaviour. Chris Haxby’s debut novel will appeal to readers of black comedy, as well as those who enjoy crime novels.