Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Three Thriller Reviews

What better time than Halloween to get caught up on some reviews of thrillers I've been reading lately?

GONE GIRL by Gillian Flynn

So many people in my twitter stream were talking about this, I finally caved and bought it - and I'm so glad I did.  Nick and Amy Dunne are two of the most effed up characters I've ever read about.  These two should have never gotten married, and yet, they also rather deserve each other.

The basic set-up: On their 5th wedding anniversary, Amy goes missing and Nick becomes the prime suspect. Early on, he admits to the reader that he's told the police a bunch of lies, so what the heck is really going on?

This novel is full of jaw-dropping twists and behavior. Everyone will tell you, it's better to go in as unspoiled as possible and let the narrative take you on its crazy journey.  Some of said they didn't like the ending, but I personally thought it was chillingly perfect.

I also just have to say that I thought it was so fascinating the way Amy's parents exploited her life in their book series and the consequences that had on her personality. Whoa.

Find out more about GONE GIRL on Goodreads

FTC disclosure: Bought

THE LOCK ARTIST by Steve Hamilton

I'd had my eye on this one for awhile and when Maggie Stiefvater reviewed it on her blog, I finally shelled out the cash. It's a tight thriller with awesome characterization and I really enjoyed it.  It's not YA, but the protagonist is a teen and it has definite teen appeal.

The basic set-up: Mike is a lock artist, meaning he can open any safe he puts his hands on.  This gets him the attention of gangsters up to no good. Mike never speaks. Ever. Not since the horrible incident in his childhood where he became orphaned. The book opens with Mike in prison, pining for the one girl who understands him.  The mystery is both how he got to this point and what happened to him that caused him to never speak again.

I never knew opening safes could be so fascinating.  Great, touching story as well.

Find out more about THE LOCK ARTIST on Goodreads

FTC disclosure: Bought


Laura Lippman is one of my go-to authors for smart literary thrillers. I haven't read many of her older novels, but I loved WHAT THE DEAD KNOW, I'D KNOW YOU ANYWHERE and LIFE SENTENCES.  This time around, I wasn't so convinced.  The story meanders too much and the payoff was just so-so.

The basic set-up: Five friends have grown apart but are still bound together by a terrible secret. The pressure is too much for Go-Go who kills himself, leaving the others to wonder if someone in their circle has betrayed them.

The story follows not just the five friends but their parents as well. In fact, nearly every one of the family members has a chapter from their (3rd person limited) point of view. While I was reading, many of these came off as tangents, writerly indulgences that are not essential to the plot. At the end of the book, when the entire truth is laid bare, it's clear to see that Lippman allowed us to view these various snippets to give us a full picture of Go-Go's state of mind as well as the state of mind of the other four children - and how their changing relationship and family dynamics allowed something so repulsive to happen in the first place. Still, this was definitely my least favorite of her books.

Find out more about THE MOST DANGEROUS THING at Goodreads

FTC disclosure: Review copy from publisher


Sandy Nawrot said...

Haven't read the other two, but Gone Girl is perfect for a good head screw this Halloween. And I thought the ending was exactly what it should have been. Karma doing its job, and all that.

bermudaonion said...

It looks like I'm going to be the last person in the world to read Gone Girl.

Liviania said...

The Lock Artist sounds really cool.

Don't worry bermudaonion, I still need to read Gone Girl too.

Linda said...

waiting to read Gone Girl until a special niece loans it to me :-)

Robyn said...

I read "Gone Girl," and it was quite a trip. Complete dysfunction. Great ending though. A book I liked even better then that is called, "Quest for the Lost Name" by author George Makris. It’s a great story with a very strong dramatic question and high stakes, well-rounded characters with clear motives the reader bonds with, matching villains, good pacing, an amazing climax, and a happy ending.

Robyn said...
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Becca said...

With every review of Gone Girl, I am wanting to read it even more.

Becky said...

Oh, I can't believe that I haven't read any of these. They look amazing. I plan to definitely check them out just as soon as I finish "The Sacred Impostor" by J. R. Lankford- which by the way is another great thriller for anyone interested. Thanks for the recommendation.

Marce said...

I really want to try LauraL, maybe next year.

I wasn't a fan of Gone Girl, I don't like clever playing teh reader for fool.

I thought Lock Artist was interesting, a unique character and plot.

Sarah Laurence said...

I was also stalling on Gone Girl but caved to peer pressure and am glad I did. It was a most enjoyable read even if the ending was over the top. Good reviews!