This bestselling thriller sucks you in from the first moment with an original, exciting premise and a clever build up. Paradoxically, when the crime is revealed the story becomes strangely anti-climactic and fizzles out. Good idea, disappointing execution.
I’ve been wanting to read this book for a long time, widely considered to be Waters’ best, and recommended to me by tons of people. In true Sarah Waters’ fashion, Fingersmith twists and turns in completely unpredictable ways, it’s creepy, it’s seedy, it’s spooky and it’s the best thriller I’ve read in a long time.
It is appropriate that, of any and all awards, The Living and the Dead in Winsford has won the Rosenkrantz award for best thriller of the year (2014). While this award might actually be in the name of Danish crime writer Palle Rosenkrantz, it is in fact reminiscent of that other Rosenkrantz: the compere of Guildenstern. The mystery, the crime and the repercussions are in tone more in keeping with the ambiguity of those other Danes, Hamlet’s betrayers.
We begin with a lone Swedish woman, and her dog, in England and isolated from everyone who knows her. What is she doing? What is she running from? Who is she? To say more would ruin the story and the gossamer threads that make up the web of her history. It requires your full participation and creativity as Nesser’s slow and anxious descriptions of her days on the moor make it the unique psychological thriller that it is. There are plenty of questions here and, despite the clear physical resolution, more questions linger after you have put the book back on its shelf. Nesser’s skill in delving into the psyche of our female narrator and his insidious suggestions of betrayal and disloyalty make it a worthy award winner, even if it were to be doubly awarded in another Rosenkrantz’ name.
Intensely gory and plot driven, this is nevertheless a psychological thriller. Despite knowing “who dunnit” within the first 5 chapters, the anxiety the author winds about the reader is suffocating and convincing. Kirino delves into the psyche of the lead characters, four factory women struggling with personal hardships, and uncovers a simmering power behind the drab mundanity of their lives. Their situation subsequently intertwines with the seedier and rougher side of Tokyo life, and they soon find themselves in a, very tight, proverbial corner. Thriller extraordinaire.
Touted as this year’s Gone Girl and While you were Sleeping, The Girl on the Train accosts you on her daily commute to and from London. A dubious narrator from the start, she hangs on to you, desperately, confidential, erratically. Interlaced time frames and equally questionable narrators, build the tension and, while it is hardly high-brow, I was gripped with anxiety. Suffice it to say, it might be imperfect and disposable, but it is also thrilling entertainment and perfect for that commute to work….