Tag Archive | Psychological Thriller

Review of The Girls by Emma Cline

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About The Girls

Northern California, during the violent end of the 1960s. At the start of summer, a lonely and thoughtful teenager, Evie Boyd, sees a group of girls in the park, and is immediately caught by their freedom, their careless dress, their dangerous aura of abandon. Soon, Evie is in thrall to Suzanne, a mesmerizing older girl, and is drawn into the circle of a soon-to-be infamous cult and the man who is its charismatic leader. Hidden in the hills, their sprawling ranch is eerie and run down, but to Evie, it is exotic, thrilling, charged—a place where she feels desperate to be accepted. As she spends more time away from her mother and the rhythms of her daily life, and as her obsession with Suzanne intensifies, Evie does not realize she is coming closer and closer to unthinkable violence.

My Review

Very well written and researched. We are granted psychological access to Evie as we understand her fascination towards the girls leaving you questioning why and how given her relative ‘normal’ upbringing. I was surprised her interest didn’t wane as her story unfolds, yet I’m not surprised she kept their company and deepened involvement. Cline’s attention geared around the girls as opposed to Russell was smart, great psychological angle, adding interest.

Wasn’t a fan of any of the characters by any means.

Cline left me uncomfortable and disturbed, certainly feeling immersed in the mind of teenage Evie, accompanying her as she mixes with the wrong crowd, making wrong decisions, choices, hallmark of a talented author. The big ‘what if’ question floats around in my mind weeks after finishing the book. Chilling.

About Emma Cline2926065

Emma Cline is from California. Her fiction has appeared in Tin House and The Paris Review, and she was the winner of the 2014 Paris Review Plimpton Prize.

Expected publication Random House (June 14, 2016)

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Review of Crazy Blood by T. Jefferson Parker

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About Crazy Blood

The Carson dynasty rules the ski resort town of Mammoth Lakes in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California. Founded by patriarch Adam, the town is the site of the Mammoth Cup ski race-a qualifier for the Olympics. But when Wylie Welborn, Adam’s illegitimate grandson, returns after a stint in Afghanistan, it reopens a dark moment in Carson family history: the murder of Wylie’s father by his jealous and very pregnant wife, Cynthia. Her son Sky, born while his mother was in prison, and Wylie are half-brothers. They inherit not only superb athletic skills but an enmity that threatens to play out in a lethal drama on one of the fastest and most perilous ski slopes in the world.

Three powerful and unusual women have central roles in this volatile family feud: Cynthia, bent on destroying Wylie; his mother Kathleen, determined to protect him; and April Holly, a beautiful celebrity snowboarder, on track to win Olympic Gold. But, as Wylie falls in love with April and they begin to imagine a life away from the violence that has shattered his family, history threatens to repeat itself and destroy them both.

Combining exquisite writing with breathtaking scenes of high stakes skiing, Crazy Blood is an unforgettable story of two brothers on a ruthless quest for supremacy.

My Review

Fabulous description of competitive skiing along with the emotional, physical and mental demands the sport requires. Your adrenaline hits an apex as you find yourself racing the course completely exhilarated attempting to shave off seconds from your time.

None of the characters left a mark, including Wylie, not much development more of a rough outline provided. Sky was theatrical and just plain weird along with Cynthia. Both characters and plot felt contrived, strong predictability factor. It’s safe to say the narrative was very dramatic, would make a great Lifetime movie. Hardly a psychological thriller, behavior of protagionists too off the wall and the reactions of others equally bizarre.

I would read more from Parker, solid writing, the book has a great framework in need of minor tightening and tweaking with stronger characterization and plot.

About T. Jefferson Parker55814

T. Jefferson Parker is the bestselling author of 20 crime novels, including Edgar Award-winners Silent Joe and California Girl. Parker’s next work is a literary novel, Full Measure, to be published in October. He lives with his family in Southern California.

Published March 8th 2016 by St. Martin’s Press

Review & Giveaway Behind Closed Doors by Elizabeth Haynes

Behind Closed Doors

Paperback: 496 pages
Publisher: Harper Paperbacks (March 31, 2015)

Ten years ago, 15-year-old Scarlett Rainsford vanished while on a family holiday in Greece. Was she abducted, or did she run away from her severely dysfunctional family? Lou Smith worked the case as a police constable, and failing to find Scarlett has been one of the biggest regrets of her career. No one is more shocked than Lou to learn that Scarlett has unexpectedly been found during a Special Branch raid of a brothel in Briarstone.

Quite a page turner, Haynes displays slick prose in minute detail, the brutality of human trafficking is distressful. An unmistakably uneasy well crafted mystery.

A cast of memorable female protagonists. Two female protagonists standout – Lou, a dedicated officer of the law, empathetic, she’s rigid yet flexible. Awkward in her romantic relationship she slowly manages to let her walls down. She faces an ongoing battle of balancing her professional and personal life. A smidgen of a romantic storyline adds to Lou’s character as well as to the narrative, helps swallow the challenging elements of Scarlett’s horrific ordeal. Scarlett’s voice is sobering. The inhumanness she experienced, her dysfunctional family will cause you to cringe. Her intimacy with human trafficking is halting, a very realistic glimpse into the harsh reality of this brutal international business.

Haynes takes on the weighty subject matter of human trafficking without exploiting this touchy topic with dramatics. A bread crumb trail harasses the peruser, keeping them on their toes as various players and back story’s make for unexpected and expected twists. Haynes deftly supplies enough details in an honest an appropriate manner to convey the barbarity of this disgusting trade.

Evoking characters, charitable prose combined with a charged narrative produce a fearsome story.

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About Elizabeth HaynesElizabeth Haynes

Elizabeth Haynes is a police intelligence analyst, a civilian role that involves determining patterns in offending and criminal behavior. Dark Tide is her second novel; rights to her first, Into the Darkest Corner, have been sold in twenty-five territories. Haynes lives in England in a village near Maidstone, Kent, with her husband and son.

Visit her at elizabeth-haynes.com, connect with her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.

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