Tag: psychological thriller


Monday Madness: I’m Thinking of Ending Things

Posted 6 June, 2016 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in Reviews

Monday Madness: I’m Thinking of Ending ThingsI'm Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid
Published by Gallery/Scout Press on June 14th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Literary, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Thrillers
Pages: 224
Goodreads
three-stars

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange honest review consideration. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

You will be scared. But you won’t know why…
I’m thinking of ending things. Once this thought arrives, it stays. It sticks. It lingers. It’s always there. Always.
Jake once said, “Sometimes a thought is closer to truth, to reality, than an action. You can say anything, you can do anything, but you can’t fake a thought.”
And here’s what I’m thinking: I don’t want to be here.

In this deeply suspenseful and irresistibly unnerving debut novel, a man and his girlfriend are on their way to a secluded farm. When the two take an unexpected detour, she is left stranded in a deserted high school, wondering if there is any escape at all. What follows is a twisted unraveling that will haunt you long after the last page is turned.
In this smart, suspenseful, and intense literary thriller, debut novelist Iain Reid explores the depths of the human psyche, questioning consciousness, free will, the value of relationships, fear, and the limitations of solitude. Reminiscent of Jose Saramago’s early work, Michel Faber’s cult classic Under the Skin, and Lionel Shriver’s We Need to Talk about Kevin, I’m Thinking of Ending Things is an edgy, haunting debut. Tense, gripping, and atmospheric, this novel pulls you in from the very first page…and never lets you go.

I’m Thinking of Ending Things is, as promised, very atmospheric. It’s also incredibly creepy and not to put to fine a point on it but – it’s weird. Really, more than anything this novel is weird. I generally like strange and unusual and perhaps the longer I sit and marinate with I’m Thinking of Ending Things, the more I’ll like it. But for now, about three days after finishing it… it’s just weird.

A man and woman are driving out to the country so girlfriend can meet homeboy’s parents for the first time. It’s dark, cold, and snowing. Parents are decidedly weird. The whole book is written in sentence snippets. Like this. What I guess I’m trying to say is that the first person narrative from unnamed girlfriend’s point of view is a little unnerving. But maybe that’s what the narrative is supposed to do…

Homeboy, or Jake, comes off as a pretentious asshole – and I can’t remember if Jake and girlfriend are actually supposed to be college-age kids – but that’s the vibe that I got from this novel, that’s how I imagined these characters.

Between girlfriend’s experience are chapters of two people talking to each other. Who they are is never explained but those interim chapters are an excellent tension building device that Reid uses quite effectively. If nothing else, I’m Thinking of Ending Things has dramatic tension in scads. (Or is it ‘scads of dramatic tension’? Anyway.)

The big problem with this novel is that it rests entirely on the ending. Without the ending this book is a jumbled mess. I’m not entirely sure it isn’t a jumbled mess anyway. Kind of like this review.

So Readers, who’s running out to buy this one next week? I didn’t hate this book, but I don’t know who or how to recommend it. Maybe a book club, there’s lots to talk about here. Do you have books that you don’t know how to recommend?

April @ The Steadfast Reader

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Whatever Wednesday: In a Dark, Dark Wood

Posted 1 June, 2016 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in Reviews

Whatever Wednesday: In a Dark, Dark WoodIn a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware
Published by Harvill Secker on July 30th 2015
Genres: Fiction, General, Genres & Styles, Suspense, Thrillers
Pages: 352
Goodreads
two-half-stars

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange honest review consideration. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

In a dark, dark wood
Nora hasn't seen Clare for ten years. Not since Nora walked out of school one day and never went back.
There was a dark, dark house
Until, out of the blue, an invitation to Clare’s hen do arrives. Is this a chance for Nora to finally put her past behind her?
And in the dark, dark house there was a dark, dark room
But something goes wrong. Very wrong.
And in the dark, dark room....
Some things can’t stay secret for ever.

Ruth Ware’s In a Dark, Dark Wood was naturally billed as “for fans of Gone Girl“. We all have feelings about how nothing should ever be marketed this way – but despite this I wanted something light and fluffy so I thought I’d take In a Dark, Dark Wood out for a spin. While this novel is delightfully British – something that never fails to charm me – I still have to put it in the unfortunate category of: you could do worse on a plane.

I seem to have read a string of books that go into the you could do worse on a plane category lately. But I haven’t defined what that means lately in the blog so, let’s hash it out. Books like In a Dark, Dark Wood, aren’t bad per se. They’re just kind of ‘meh’. I’m not sorry that I read it, but I probably could have made it through life without reading it. These books aren’t deep or important, nor are they going to blow your mind in any way.

My biggest problem with this particular novel was probably the marketing (so lazy) and the utter predictability. As soon as it was revealed who was murdered (which is about halfway through the book), it was pretty clear whodunnit. I have to give Ware some props for attempting a bit of a locked room mystery outside the ‘cozy mystery’ subgenre. Agatha Christie, Ruth Ware is not, but it added a little bit of novelty to what otherwise could be considered a rather standard and unremarkable novel in the psychological thriller genre.

So Reader, do you think that In a Dark, Dark Wood might work for you? I think it’s been optioned for a movie, maybe that will be better? Does anyone else out there love a locked room mystery the way I do? 

April @ The Steadfast Reader

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