I’ve written extensively here about the genre of "literary thriller" and how books that bear that classification are my favorite goto reads. I love a suspense novel that is so well-written it could stand side by side next to any "literary" novel at any time of day. I have also written here about the late Ruth Rendell and how her "literary" mysteries and short stories were so influential in my own writing and early years as a mystery author.
I am now discovering that there are a whole new generation of suspense writers who are taking up the torch and producing quality work that leaves you turning page after page (or pressing screen after screen) far into the night.
Today I would like to recommend one of these "new to me" authors: K. L. Slater. Her book Safe With Me is today's blog recommendation.
I love books with twisty-turny plots and well-developed “strange and mad” characters—who you might not realize are “strange and mad” until quite near the end.
In Safe With Me we meet Anna, a solitary young woman who lives by herself in her family home and works as a mail carrier. She witnesses a road accident where a young man, Liam, on a motorcycle was injured badly. The story begins when she recognizes the driver of the car as the woman who destroyed her life so many years ago and contributed to her own little brother's death.
In true "Rendell” form, we get to know all of these characters through flashbacks, which don’t distract from the story, but add to it. That is an art, having flashbacks appear seamlessly through the story.
Is Anna sane? Or is she, perhaps, the crazy one? How about Liam? He seems so normal. Maybe he is, or maybe he isn’t. How about the neighbor, Joan Peat, who has known Anna since she was a child. Maybe she’s the nuts one. And what about all that mail that Anna has to deliver? I don’t give spoilers here at all, but that little subplot had me nervously biting my nails. Because mail is important. And what if it was mine?
Just to give you a taste of what is to come, here is the first line of the book.
So, they’re tucked up in bed at last.
You take a handful of matches and you light each one,
watching the burn die to a powdery black dot.
Can’t you just see those matches one by one burning right down, almost scorching the fingers that hold them? And who is tucked up in bed at night?
I was hooked.
Right now I’m reading another of her books, Blink, and enjoying it as much.
If you like well-written thrillers and wish there were more Ruth Rendell books to devour, I highly recommend this British author.
I found this online article on why women read thrillers. I think I’m right up in that demographic. Even though this article is a couple of years old, I don’t see the psychological thriller genre falling off any time soon. I'll certainly keep reading them. They have always been my favorites—from Victoria Holt and Daphne du Maurier in my teens, to Ruth Rendell and PD James in my younger adult years to authors like K.L Slater and others today.
Next Time: "I Like It" takes a look at how ASL (American Sign Language) is changing my life.