Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough
It’s hard to be a single mom in London, but Louise feels like she might have lucked out when she meets a handsome, interesting man on a night out at the bar. Then, come Monday, she discovers her new boss–her new, married boss is none other than the man from the bar. Vowing not to take it further than a drunken kiss at a bar, Louise’s life gets more complicated when she winds up befriending the man’s beautiful, fragile wife. But the married couple hides some dark secrets in their past, and the more Louise learns about the pair, the more questions arise. Something is clearly very wrong, and Louise seems to be in danger, but from whom?
This was a surprisingly haunting psychological thriller. The story doesn’t turn the (rather tired) genre on its head, but rearranges the pieces a bit, adds some original new elements, and delivers a story with twists and turns and (I’m delighted to say) an unexpected ending. I’ve railed before about the saturation of psychological thrillers right now, and for the most part I’ve become just so jaded about the whole genre. It’s wonderful to know that there are author’s out there with the skill to make thrillers fun again.
So if you’re looking for something fresh in the thriller department, and an unpredictable, grab-you-by-the-back-of-the-neck plot, this is the book for you.
A Time of Torment by john Connolly
This is the fourteenth installment in Connolly’s Charlie Parker series. It’s always difficult to come into a series this late, but I found A Time of Torment to be an engaging thriller.
Though the book weaves between several subplots (many of which are tied to events in previous books, or foreshadowing future books), the main focus of A Time of Torment is the unfortunate Jerome Burnel. Burnel is a fallen hero, lauded for preventing a massacre in the past, then brought low. Recently released from prison, Burnel seeks out private investigator Charlie Parker. Burnel tells Parker his story: the desperate few minutes fighting the horror that made him a hero, then the mysterious circumstances that presaged his imprisonment and torment. Burnel suspects his imprisonment may be related to his heroic actions, but there is only one lead to follow; a name whispered in the dark: The Dead King.
When Burnel goes missing, Charlie Parker must uncover the mysterious cabal that ruined Burnel’s life, and seek out and stop The Dead King before more blood is spilled.
A Time of Torment superbly blends the supernatural with a crime thriller. Connolly’s prose is elegant and visceral at the same time. While certain aspects of the plot are certainly better if one has read the previous books, A Time of Torment can stand alone with only a little difficulty. The pace of the book is fast, even in the detours from the main plot. The biggest complaint I can utter is that Charlie Parker seems to be a bit of a supporting character in this book, but that is mainly because the supporting characters are given a good bit of headway in which to grow. Charlie Parker doesn’t grow much as a character in A Time of Torment, but with fourteen books under his belt, and having recently been dead, the reader can forgive him for taking a break.
In all, this is a fast paced and enjoyable thriller. Fans of Dean Koontz, or Jonathan Maberry will enjoy this series.
An advance ebook was provided by the publisher, Atria Books, via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.