I love me a good psychological thriller and that’s what we get with Broken Branches by M. Jonathan Lee, with a little visual horror thrown in. When it opens up we are treated to several pages introducing us to the malignant presence of a towering sycamore tree with bony branches scratching the farmhouse’s roof, walls and windows like a demon’s fingers.
Percy’s skill as a novelist shines throughout The Dark Net. Each of his quirky, yet believable, characters are given interesting backgrounds and compelling motivations. The story is fast-paced, action-packed, and—at more junctures than I could count—intense to a delightfully uncomfortable degree.
I closed The Pigeon Tunnel wanting more. More behind-the-scenes confessions. More striking prose from this master of evocative description. But Cornwell knows when and how to end a tale and leaves us with an anecdote loaded with both humor and irony.
The chapters alternate between Present and Past. Sometimes an event occurs in the “present” which leaves us puzzled, but it is explained in one of the next “Past” chapters. One never gets lost in these time shifts, thanks to the chapter labelling, but one is often confused. By keeping us uncertain, author E.A. Paris is making us experience something of what Grace is going through.
Someone Must Die is suspenseful and fast-paced. The mystery of what went wrong with the Lynd marriage intrigues us throughout the novel, and relates to the kidnapping. Plot twists are what keep us on the edges of our chairs, but the characters and the human story stick in our minds. Award-winning author Sharon Potts, who is prominent in the Mystery Writers of America organization, has created rounded characters whom we will remember after we close the book.
Salloum has excelled in evoking the Katrina disaster and in depicting a criminal sub-culture. The action keeps readers alert, and the New Orleans landmarks will interest those who lived or have visited that city. Candyland has been described as a “noir” suspense thriller, and it is that, but it is less pessimistic than Salloum’s earlier novel, Faulkner and Friends, and reaches a satisfying conclusion.
It worked for Gone Girl. Not to the same degree, it works for Try Not To Breathe. That’s what Seddon brings to fruition more than anything. It’s the same way her stretching into sci-fi with her short story “Graduate Schemes,” published in the dystopian anthology Broken Worlds, leans closer to squabbling than the high stakes of a truly broken world.
While Ryan hasn’t convinced me that there is no suspense in love, no love in suspense, she’s shown she’s less a muckraker than her credentials makes her out to be in her stories focused on political scandal, police corruption, and institutions which create the circumstances for felonious activities.
I don’t read thrillers regularly, but You Are Dead caught and kept my attention throughout. James kept a tight rein on the plot, and there was no obvious suspect. He added a twist to Logan and Jamie’s engagement that I didn’t expect, although I would have liked more details on that relationship.
Rebecca Scherm’s Unbecoming is a heist tale, a bildungsroman, a love story, and above all, a compelling psychological study of a likeable young woman with strong anti-social tendencies. As the novel progresses, Grace, the protagonist, not only behaves in “unbecoming” ways, but “unbecomes” the promising girl she once was. She grows in independence, strength and daring, but it is impossible to approve of her.