The Door At The Top Of The Stairs by Alison Naomi Holt is the story of an ex police officer, Jesse, who goes through something so traumatic that she cannot remember the incident. As a result of the trauma she is angry and can barely hold a job. She finds work on a farm owned by Morgan Davis and her partner Dr. Ryland Cladwell.

Ryland is a psychologist and realises that Jesse needs help or else she may harm herself. So the three of them embark on a journey to find out what happened to Jesse and help her come to terms with it.

This book is a very different sort of book, it focuses more on the therapy sessions than anything and through these we discover the truth behind Jesse’s amnesia.

The Door At The Top Of The Stairs is the kind of book that would be fascinating if it was based on a real case because the psychology behind it is so important.

The Characters

All three characters are a bit flat. Jesse is angry, Morgan is the boss and has a temper and Ryland is the perfect woman, understanding, a good cook and smart.

I would have like to see some more depth or the characters pushed a little more toward growth.

The Writing Style

Holt keeps you reading as you discover small pieces of what really happened to Jesse. The pace is fast enough to keep you interested, but I felt some of it was repetitive and could have used a bit of an edit to the story.

The Pros

This is a completely unique story. The characters are likable, even though there is a lot of violence in the book between Morgan and Jesse.

The Cons

Alison Holt was a police officer. She can write. I just would have liked to see some of her police experience in the story, and perhaps some more research into the psychology behind it.

The Conclusion

It’s a decent read. If you want something very different and a bit more psychological then this is a solid option.

Excerpt from The Door at the Top of the Stairs by Alison Naomi Holt

“Can I help you?”

The woman pushed off the porch and crossed her arms. “Lady in town said you were hiring.”

Morgan studied her. In her early to mid-twenties, she had short cropped brown hair and a permanent scowl etched into her features. Morgan held out her hand. “I’m Morgan Davis.”

The woman glanced at the hand, then back at Morgan. “Are you hiring or not?”

The color rose in Morgan’s face. She lowered her hand and said in a quiet monotone. “If you think I’d – ”

“Look, Lady, it’s a simple question: are you hiring or not?”

Morgan took a step closer. “You need a job?”

“It’d be stupid to ask if I didn’t.”

Morgan growled. “Then if you expect me to even consider hiring you, shake my goddamn hand and introduce yourself. Otherwise, take your surly ass off my property.” She rested her hands on her hips and figured that’d be the end of it.

The woman surprised her by uncrossing one arm and holding out her hand, never breaking eey contact.

Morgan decided she’d be damned if she’d be the first to look away. She shook the woman’s hand.


“Jesse, what?”


“You ever work with horses before?”

The woman nodded.

“You have references?”

She slowly shook her head.

“Look, I don’t think –” Morgan stopped mid-sentence and frowned. Jesse had focused on Ryland who was standing nearby with an amused look on her face.

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Bits and Bobs

ISBN number: 9781479244362

Alison Naomi Holt online

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