FEBRUARY THRILLERS: NEW BOOKS BY BARCLAY, GARDNER AND EWAN
Here is an exciting brace of new thrillers to liven up your February reading!
Linwood Barclay matches Harlan Coben in his ability to create clever twisty storylines that grab your attention from the opening page.
In Take Your Breath Away (HQ, 2 February 2022), widower Andrew Mason comes under suspicion when someone matching the description of his supposedly dead wife, Brie, turns up at their old family home screaming accusations before disappearing again. The police have long suspected that Mason had something to do with his wife’s disappearance six years ago, and this mysterious re-appearance brings those old accusations back to the surface. For Mason, however, it is the chance to finally prove his innocence.
Barclay excels at this type of suburban thriller, with its multiple plot threads and shifting cast of suspects, and he does not disappoint with Take Your Breath Away. The story skips along at a good pace and there are several neat surprises as the book rushes to the tough and violent conclusion. As usual, the characters are credible portrayals of ordinary suburban folk caught up in something nasty, and there is also a brutal hitman in the background to add to the suspense.
In all, I really enjoyed this latest novel by Barclay, and thought that it was one of his best books for awhile.
Four stars out of five!
Take Your Breath Away was released in Australia and the United Kingdom on 2 February 2022. It scheduled for hardback release in the United States on 17 May 2022.
Thanks to the publisher and the Canberra Weekly for an advanced copy of the book.
The Interview by C. M. Ewan, also known as Chris Ewan, is a clever ‘concept’ thriller that hooks you in from the opening pages.
The basic premise is that publicist Kate Harding is invited to a late Friday afternoon interview for her dream job at an innovative public relations firm. The interview is on the thirteenth floor of a new, stunning, glass panel, high rise building in the heart of London. Kate is nervous about the interview, and well she should be as the questions quickly become more and more weirder, and Kate finds herself trapped in a dangerous situation.
This is a pulse racing thriller that goes down some very unexpected paths. Ewan is very good at gradually drawing out the real reason for the interview, and keeping the suspense high as the various elements are introduced. There are twists galore, and the final conclusion is tense, surprising and emotionally charged. Ewan makes it very easy to become caught up in Kate’s plight, and he is quite skilled at making you wonder what would you do in Kate’s situation.
Some suspension of disbelief is needed at times, but overall The Interview is a well grounded and engaging thriller.
Four to four and a half stars out of five!
The Interview will be released in Australia on 22 February 2022 and in the United Kingdom on 17 February 2022. Thanks to the publisher and the Canberra Weekly for an advanced copy of the book.
I listened to Lisa Gardner’s One Step Too Far on Audible, rather than reading it.
It has been a while since my last Gardner book, the enjoyable Look For Me, and the wilderness-based plot of One Step Too Far sounded intriguing and I usually like thrillers that juggle environmental and human threats.
Tim O’Day went missing five years ago on on his bachelor party, while camping in the rugged back country of Wyoming with his four buddies. Despite the passage of time, Tim’s father and the guilt-ridden friends from that tragic night are are still continuing to search for his remains, helped by an experienced mountain guide, a Big Foot obsessive with insights into the region and the female handler of a cadaver dog. Joining them on the search on the fifth anniversary of the disappearance is Frankie Elkin, a recovering alcoholic and expert finder of missing people.
As the group ventures into the difficult mountainous terrain, things begin to happen that makes Frankie suspect that someone does not want the body of Tim O’Day found.
I have mixed feelings about this one. All of the story is told from Frankie’s perspective, and the first third was very slow for me, with too much detail on Frankie’s struggle with alcoholism and her tortured childhood with her alcoholic father. Once the trek into the forest got underway, however, the pace picked up and the final third or so, was superb with plenty of action, surprises and some very poignant moments. I could not stop listening over the final sections and I just had to know how it ended.
The descriptions of the Popo Agie Wilderness, with its picturesque mountains and woods, are evocative, and the hiking and survival tips are interesting. Lisa is good at using Frankie to draw out the secrets and personalities of the various members of the group, and there is plenty of misdirection as to what is happening. The final solution is very unexpected and I did not see it coming.
On the negative side Frankie grated on me a bit, and I was never convinced about why she joined the group. I do think though that Frankie’s observations would work better on the written page, than they do being read out.
Based on the second half of the book I would rate it as four and a half stars out of five!
One Step Too Far was released in various formats in January 2022.