AVAILABLE MAY 17th!!
I like to live dangerously and check out the 7 day only books at the library. They are the hot items that everyone is reading. I want to read what everyone is reading!! Now, normally I can polish off a read pretty quick. But there is something about that time limit that unleashes my inner procrastination hobbit. It is as if 7 days is not enough of a challenge, my brain wants me to cut it as close as possible. But I take the risk anyway and check out these books so I can talk to other readers. Talking about books is almost as good as reading them. Also, these ‘Lucky Day’ reads, as my library calls them, are how I fell into the worlds of Paula Hawkins and Mary Kubica. Its how I came upon a thing called ‘Chick Noir’.
I’ve also heard them called ‘Domestic Thrillers’ or even ‘Marriage Thrillers’. I’ve since read a bunch of books that could be called by these names, but never once was there a disclaimer: “Must have authentic lady parcel to enjoy.” Its not like they are written in some kind of vagina braille. So, I am not sure why they belong in the menses hut. I guess I will take a moment to be grateful they aren’t actually called ‘Menstrual Mysteries’. These books are written primarily by women. They are thematically about the home space and prey on the fears of all people about those we trust with our love and our life. Oh, there be murder and mayhem and evil to boot. But the perspective is almost entirely from the participants themselves. This isn’t one of your procedural, outside-in of crime. These books are all about the deep inner life of motive. I understand what makes these thrillers a little different, but I don’t understand how any of it qualifies them to be shelved under feminine hygiene.
The great thing about these particular thrillers is that they borrow a lot of tools out of the old gothic chest. Dark family secrets, children with mysterious parentage, tyrant fathers, complacent mothers, old documents and journals no one thought would be found and long abandoned family estates. But everything is modern, so the documents are emails and the family estates are clapboards in Detroit. No one is who they say they are, least of all your husband. Don’t trust your roommate or your step-mother. You should probably watch out for your sister and THAT’S NOT YOUR BROTHER!
So the next time you hear someone spouting this domestic doo-doo, grab them by the shoulders and look frantically around. Tell them Daphne De Maurier and Joyce Carol Oates will find them. And they know perfectly well how to hide a body where no one will find it for a few years. And then someone named Heathcliffe will dig you up just so he can hug you one more time. And if these chick-noodles persist, tell them Patricia Highsmith will find some perfect stranger to re-murder their corpse because no one calls Patty’s stuff ‘chick noir’.
On to the good stuff. These are a few that I have read and enjoyed. Now let it be said I have been negligent in reading Gillian Flynn. She is said to be the instigator of this field of writing and also the rampant use of the word ‘Girl’ in book titles. Wait, I have read the story she wrote for George R.R. Martin, Grownup. If George R.R. Martin tells you to write a story for him,you damn well better do it. If you’ve read/seen Game of Thrones, you know what that man is capable of.
Paula Hawkins, Girl on the Train – Unreliable, super-alcoholic narrator with poor impulse control who thinks there might have been a murder, so she better impersonate a friend of the deceased and find out.
Liane Moriarty, The Husband’s Secret – Woman don’t go in the attic! Don’t open that box!
Mary Kubica, Don’t You Cry – AVAILABLE TOMORROW!! (May 17th, 2016) – Mary has a definite style, you might even call it a formula. But I have to say that its really easy to follow this multi-point narrative with her technique. But I think this is one of her better books. Its one of those Single White Female type of reads. I’ve also read The Good Girl which has all kinds of delicious kidnapping.
The Lake House, Kate Morton – This one is less thriller, more multi-generational family chaos of the Victoria Holt variety.
Peter Swanson, The Kind Worth Killing – Maybe Peter Swanson will think I am the kind worth killing for putting him in this category. But this modern retelling of Strangers on the Train was practically edible. I love all his work and The Kind has made all sorts of reader’s choice awards since it came out. I am chomping at the bit for him to come up with his next thrill.