This classic thriller by Patricia Highsmith is the basis for one of my favorite Alfred Hitchcock films by the same name. In essence, the title mostly describes the plot of the book- it is about two strangers who meet on a train. But that’s also where they discuss murdering people in their lives. Bruno wants to kill his father and Guy his wife. This one-time encounter means that they can both have solid alibis for committing the other’s murder and never be a real suspect.
Guy is a normal man currently going through a divorce- because his wife cheated on him. He fantasizes about killing her, but not in a serious way. Bruno is obsessed with killing his father. But as the novel goes on, that obsession is redirected towards Guy. Bruno stalks him and inserts himself constantly into Guy’s life and mind.
I thought this novel was going to be about the murders and the plotting. It was, but it was more about the psychology of a killer and what circumstances have to arise for a typical man to commit a murder. Especially a murder for someone else.
This novel wasn’t exactly what I thought it was going to be. But I still enjoyed listening to it. I would want to read more of Highsmith’s work, especially The Price of Salt.
This horror/thriller was my first time reading Joe Hill. While I thought that certain sections of the book could have been condensed, I liked it overall. I especially enjoyed listening to the audio book for this title because the narrator, Kate Mulgrew, was awesome.
This novel is the story of Victoria “Vic” McQueen, a woman with a special talent- she can find lost things. Opposing her is Charlie Manx, a man who steals children and takes them to Christmasland, a place where they can always be young and never have any responsibilities. Both of them are able to do this because of their imaginations and the strength of their interior worlds. This concept was one of my favorite things about the novel.
There are some scenes in this novel that are truly terrifying. To me, the scariest character in the novel was Bing Partridge, Manx’s helper. He’s just a sick and twisted man who likes killing and sexually abusing women, even after they’re dead. Those were the parts that made my stomach turn.
Overall, I enjoyed listening to this novel. Mulgrew is a talented narrator reading Hill’s great story. It was a little longer than it had to be, but I enjoyed all of it.
A the recommendation of a patron, our unofficial circulation book club read this book. The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson is a mystery/thriller that follows Lily, a woman who meets Ted on a plane. Ted confides in Lily that he wants to kill his wife, who he caught cheating on him.
While this sounds like it would be plenty for the plot of the novel, it is only the beginning. There are so many twists and turns in this book. Every time I thought that I knew the direction it was going, Swanson delivered another plot twist.
Unexpectedly, I loved this novel. It was more feminist than I thought it was going to be. I admit that I’m not an expert in this genre, but when I’ve read mysteries and thrillers written by men, the women are more archetypal than Lily. Even Miranda, who is painted as the shrew from the opening of the novel, has motives for her actions and is not just a plot device.
Overall, I enjoyed this novel. After trying to guess the next plot twist during the first section, I eventually gave up and let Swanson lead me on his tightly crafted roller coaster. This isn’t the most cerebral novel, but it kept everyone in the book club intrigued and gave us plenty to discuss.
Before the Fall by Noah Hawley is about a man who performs a heroic act, and then he has to live with the consequences. This novel follows Scott Burroughs, a painter who lives on Martha’s Vineyard. After a plane crash from a flight he never should have been on, Scott saves the life of a boy who is now the sole inheritor of a media empire.
This novel slowly picks apart the mystery of why the plane crash happened by diving into the backstories of the people aboard the plane. I love stories that start with the center of the story and then pick apart everything else to give the viewer the full picture. This succeeds in this, as you would expect from the creator and writer of Fargo.
Overall, I really liked this novel up until the end. Hawley is a master of spinning narrative out of a central event. But I thought the ending of the novel was cliché. Hawley is too good of a plotter and writer to fall into the traps that he did. But this novel will make a great blockbuster movie and it has already been optioned.