7 hours ago

It looks like science fiction but it’s not

You’d think that a novel centered on cutting-edge research on the frontiers of particle physics would fit easily into the genre of science fiction, and hard science fiction at that. After all, it’s about the work in a lab at Dartmouth College by a man who appears to be on the path to a Nobel […]

Continue Reading...
a few months ago

An all-too timely thriller about a pandemic

Lawrence Wright’s novel debuted as COVID-19 flared up around the world, so it’s no surprise that the book has been marketed as a thriller about a pandemic. It is that, of course, but only in part. More accurately described, The End of October is a story of human folly and the self-destructive tendencies of the […]

Continue Reading...
a few months ago

A hurricane, a murder, and a nursing home scam

John Grisham is widely regarded as a master of suspense. His facility with plots that steadily build anticipation toward a shattering and often surprising climax is legendary. But in his latest, he departs from the pattern. Camino Winds is a curious example of a novel that’s really two books in one. The first is all […]

Continue Reading...
a few months ago

A classic mystery novel about a creepy criminal

If you check out just about any list of classic mystery novels, you’re likely to come across The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith (1921-95). And it’s easy to understand why. When it was published in 1955, it must have created a sensation. Kirkus published a brief spoiler review of the book on November 30, […]

Continue Reading...
6 months ago

The Silent Patient underwhelms as a psychological thriller

The key to writing a great psychological thriller is to build slowly toward a big surprise, leaving clues along the way but without revealing what’s really going on. Gillian Flynn famously achieved this with Gone Girl, just as Alfred Hitchcock had done so many times on film decades before her. There are many such examples. […]

Continue Reading...
7 months ago

A thriller that falls prey to the curse of the second novel

Writers and literary critics sometimes say that second novels are cursed. They rarely live up even to the limited expectations created by an author’s first novel. While I’ve sometimes found that to be misleading, I have to say that was the case with American author Flynn Berry‘s second effort, A Double Life. While billed as […]

Continue Reading...
9 months ago

Dirty money from China is at the root of this thriller

It started not long after the liberalization of the Chinese economy introduced by Deng Xiaoping in the late 1970s. Money started flowing out of the country, and much of it ended up in Canada and the USA. And as the years went by, the flow of funds accelerated with the explosive growth in China. A […]

Continue Reading...
10 months ago

A psychological thriller about a child abduction

When reviewers compare a thriller to Gone Girl, my hackles rise. I then know to expect a psychological thriller with a central character who’s a woman, an “unreliable narrator,” and at least a little crazy. Well, some of the reception to Fiona Barton’s The Widow was of that ilk. And I’m here to report that […]

Continue Reading...
1 2 3 7