If you’re looking for gentle, feel-good read … move swiftly along. There’s nothing to see here.
For the rest of you, who, like us, love nothing better than a well-this-one-will-give-us-nightmares book to keep us awake all night … you’re going to want to rush out and get these three.
Oh boy. Talk about edge of your seat. Karen Slaughter has amped up the thrill in thriller right off the charts in her new stand-alone novel False Witness. The story of two girls – good girls, but from the wrong side of the track … girls who when they were just in their teens did something dreadful. Something they had to put behind them if they wanted to climb out of the hell-hole where they lived and make something of themselves. Years later, one – now a lawyer – is forced to take on a new client … a man accused of rape. And a man who somehow knows what she and her sister did, despite the fact that there were no witnesses. And he’s not going to let her off easily. The first unexpected, breathtakingly awful twist hits you half way through the first chapter, and they just come in every which way, leaving you reeling. There’s misogyny and rape and murder and drugs and hate and misery. And it’s just relentless. We’re massive fan of this author, and love her thriller series revolving around Dr Sara Linton and her first husband, Jeffrey Tolliver, and then with FBI agent Will Trent. And this book’s next level gripping. Jonathan Ball, available at exclusivebooks.co.za
Then there’s A Slow Fire Burning, the latest novel by Paula Hawkins, author of the terrific The Girl on the Train. It’s intriguing and twisted and clever, with a collection of characters – all damaged, and all, it appears, who have something to hide. There’s Laura – hot-tempered, troubled, angry, and who blames all her bad decisions on an accident she had when she was a child. There’s small-minded, nosy Miriam, who Laura calls, unkindly but not unreasonably, The Hobbit. There’s Theo, who was an author who can no longer write, and Carla, his ex-wife, who he still loves and who still lives, most of the time, with him. There is Theo’s best-selling novel, which weaves its way through the pages and brings it’s own mystery. And then there are the deaths … first of Carla’s sister, then of her nephew. You may guess who the killer is (but it’s doubtful), but you won’t see the twist coming. Penguin, available at exclusivebooks.co.za
Louise Penny’s The Madness of Crowds is the latest – and 17th – in her bestselling Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series. This time, Gamache is on holiday in the Québec village of Three Pines when he’s asked to provide crowd control at a statistics lecture given at the Universite de l’Estrie nearby … a request he finds strange. Why on earth would he, the head of homicide, be asked to provide security for what appears to be non-event? Then he discovers the professor giving the lecture is Abigail Robinson, who has dangerous ideas about who deserves to live in order for society to thrive, ideas that are rapidly gaining popularity. And for every person seduced by her theories, there is another who is horrified by them. Gamache begs the university to cancel, but they refuse. But when a murder is committed days after the lecture, it’s clear that within crowds can lie madness, and to uncover the truth, Gamache must put his own feelings about the Professor to one side. But with her ideas – found to be ‘morally abhorrent, but factually correct’ – gaining ground, the line separating good and evil, right and wrong, is rapidly blurring. Atmospheric, well timed, full of twists and turns. Hodder and Stoughton, available at exclusivebooks.co.za