• Dan

#BookReviews - #Mystery & #Thriller


old house

Today I have a pair of books from genres I don't regularly read, one mystery and one thriller. I picked these books up after checking out reviews by author Ginny Frost.

So without further ado, on to the reviews.


 

Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz

Synopsis

A murder mystery within a murder mystery, one fictional and one "real life".

My thoughts

I was immediately intrigued by the idea of a murder mystery within a murder mystery. I thought, wow, this must require some crafty plotting. And it does! It's also frustrating as hell to read. Just when one mystery is speeding toward the climax like a runaway freight train, the reader is torn from that story and tossed into the middle of another. Of course, both stories are intimately interconnected, but still, I found it frustrating. Fortunately, Horowitz redeems himself and the story by carefully tying together the various plot threads in a satisfying manner that makes for a pair of mysteries that linger in the mind.

What can the aspiring author learn

First off, Horowitz can spin a heck of a plot. It's worth considering the time and attention to detail he must've put in to pull this off. On top of that, he does a wonderful job with the secondary characters, the various suspects. With a dearth of words, he creates a memorable cast of possible criminals between which the reader can easily differentiate.

The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

Synopsis

A time hopping serial killer is driven to murder girls full of life. Will he finish off the one who got away?

My thoughts

Beukes's writing is intense and disturbing. Almost a little too disturbing for my tastes. I don't think I'll be reading her other books anytime soon. That's not to say I didn't enjoy The Shining Girls; I did. Fair warning, if you don't enjoy disturbing books, this one might not be for you.

What can the aspiring author learn

At its heart, The Shining Girls is a thriller. At the periphery, it's a mashup of sci-fi, horror, and mystery. Beukes pulls this off relatively seamlessly, creating a weird and captivating story that harkens to the works of Stephen King and The X-Files. She doesn't offer great detail into the "science" or the mechanics of how the killer leaps through time. All he has to do is concentrate on where he wants to go and walk through a paticular doorway. Somehow, this makes the premise all the more creepy.

I recently saw The Shining Girls has been adapted into a series by Apple TV. I think the novel will make a good one, and it has inspired me to create a new series of blog posts entitled pages to screen or something in that vein. You can guess what the posts will be about!


Recent Posts

See All