Tag Archives: Thriller

The Widow, by Fiona Barton

Synopsis:

There’s a lot Jean hasn’t said over the years about the crime her husband was suspected of committing. She was too busy being the perfect wife, standing by her man while living with the accusing glares and the anonymous harassment.

Now her husband is dead, and there’s no reason to stay quiet. There are people who want to hear her story. They want to know what it was like living with that man. She can tell them that there were secrets. There always are in a marriage.

The truth—that’s all anyone wants. But the one lesson Jean has learned in the last few years is that she can make people believe anything…

 

Review:

The WidowImagine someone asking you if you’d like to go to the zoo with them. You jump at the chance because you love the zoo. Rather than to take you the twenty minute drive directly to the zoo, they take the long way ’round. You get to see Mr. Brown’s three-legged dog, where the old meeting hall used to be, where your friend’s Aunt Ethel and Uncle Ted first lived when they moved from the old country, and the Giant that used to be Greg’s Grocery. At the end of the day the overall trip was good because you got to see the monkeys, and you never tire of watching monkeys and their antics, but you’re worn out from the extras. The day would have been perfect if they had just taken you to the zoo and left the rest of it out.

That’s how I felt about this book. Overall, it was a good story, but would have been a great story if not for the over-inflated middle. It started off strong, but at about the 25% mark it began to slow… and stayed slow until about the 75% mark.

Stephen King says, “If you liked Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, you might want to pick up The Widow. Engrossing. Suspenseful.

I love Stephen King. I think the man is a genius. But IMO, he embellished. Understandable if you’ve ever read 11/22/63. Like The Widow, that book was very good, but about 300 pages too long.

Another thing that took away from the read a bit for me, the head hopping. It didn’t happen often, but it did happen. An example: page 305 of the paperback, Kate was pleased…. that is fine as we are in Kate’s head. But without so much as a page break, we are now in Sparkes’s head when he suddenly felt out of his depth. Then again when he tried to regain his professional footing. It also happened at the end of the 12th chapter between The Detective and Michael Doonan. Each of the chapters were titled with a date, and the viewpoint character’s name. But in several instances, and quite out of nowhere, the author jumped into another character’s head without warning. If the entire book had been written that way, one could get used to it and find it easier to hang tight with the sudden shifts. But as the chapters were divided between characters, it was a jolt that slowed the story, especially in the mid section where it was moving at snail’s pace the way it was.

I enjoyed the writing style, and the overall story, but not the pace or the length. It simply felt that the author was trying to extend the story without having anything relevant to say during that portion of the book.

I understand this was a debut novel. I would expect her next book to be better than her first and would try another of her titles. 3.5* on Amazon.

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The Silent Wife… by A. S. A. Harrison

The Silent Wife

The Silent Wife

Today, I finished reading The Silent Wife, by A. S. A. Harrison. The blurb on the front cover was graciously given by Anne Lamott, and it says…

It’s this summer’s ‘Gone Girl’–I gobbled it down in one sitting, and because of the wonderful writing, I did not feel one speck guilty.”

Although I don’t completely agree with her assessment, I won’t totally disagree either. I realize that I am the exception and not the rule here, but I was not a big fan of Gone Girl, so for me to compare it to Gillian Flynn’s novel would be doing this book an injustice. (To each his own, right?) I tend to give the ‘pro’s’ first, but today, I will begin with what I didn’t like.

I only have one dislike, and again, it’s personal taste. This book is narrative-heavy. Long passages, page after page of internalization, narration, and exposition, especially toward the end. The majority of it did not serve to forward the plot, nor did it enrich the characters. But, even with that said, it was not enough to bring the novel to its knees.

There was a lot I did like and enjoy. The chapters are divided between ‘him’ and ‘her’, being Todd Gilbert and his common law wife, Jodi Brett. Todd is an unreliable narrator. The story begins with Todd seemingly the man everyone wants. Soon, though, we learn of his tendencies to stray, and Jodi’s tendency to overlook his shortcomings. Todd believes Todd is a great guy. He thinks that because he puts water-saving toilets in his apartments, he’s gone above and beyond. He doesn’t see anything wrong with the affairs he has or the actions he justifies. Todd isn’t a great guy. He’s human. He’s flawed. And he’s oblivious to his shortcomings.

Jodi is every bit ‘the silent wife’. She’s complacent. She’s not confrontational, so much so that even if she isn’t happy with aspects of the relationship, she won’t say anything. It’s not that she doesn’t know what Todd is capable of or what he has done before and will do again, she chooses to turn a blind eye. I found her a bit boring and one-dimensional in the beginning. It isn’t until she learns  of his latest affair that her eyes are forced open, but by that time, she is left little recourse.

Natasha is simply a young, spoiled, bitch. I found absolutely nothing to like about her.

But, it works. It’s labeled as a thriller, which I didn’t feel was fitting, but it’s a well-told story. Again, I would have liked to see the narrative pared down – less telling and more showing. The title works so well because ‘silence’ turns out to be Jodi’s saving grace. Had she been like mouthy Natasha, I believe it would have ended much differently and she would have said too much before the ‘alternate truth’ came out. I know that statement seems vague to anyone who hasn’t read the book, but I don’t want to reveal the ending.

Overall, The Silent Wife was a pleasurable read and worth the time investment. If you’ve read it or are planning to, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

K.E Garvey, formerly known as Kathy Reinhart, is the award-winning author of ‘Lily White Lies‘, ‘The Red Strokes‘, and ‘Missouri in a Suitcase‘, the latter written under the pen name, Nova Scott. Look for her upcoming interview with Mark Hummel, author of ‘Lost and Found‘ and ‘In the Chameleon’s Shadow‘ later this week.

Lily White Lies

Lily White Lies


Doug Dorow

I received several emails about my absence last week. I AM ALIVE AND WELL!! Thank you for your thoughts. My playing hookie began with one reason but ended with quite another which would take an entire blog to explain but that’s another story. For now… time to get excited. That’s right, two interviews this week. First, author of ‘The Ninth District’, Doug Dorow (who I’d like to thank for his complete understanding for my not publishing his interview last week) and in a separate post today, Veronica Batterson, author of ‘Billy’s First Dance’.

IDI – Doug, when was your defining moment? When did you know that you were a writer?

DD – I don’t remember that eureka moment. I’ve always been a big reader, ever since I was very young. In college I really enjoyed the creative writing classes I took and thought about writing but got into my career in engineering and IT. After I was married I took a couple of writing classes at The Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis and I just kept writing.

IDI – Are your stories plot or character driven?

DD – Mine are a combination of plot and setting and character. The plot and setting take you to the place of the story. they take you into the story where you can experience it, feel it, live it. The characters in the story make you care what happens in the story.

IDI – What are you working on now? Can we get a peek?

DD – I’m working on the second in the thriller series with FBI Special Agent Jack Miller. it takes place a year after the first, ‘The Ninth District’. In this book, Jack is on vacation with his family in the lake country of Minnesota.

I’m outlining the story right now, but I’ll share where the spark for the story came from. a few years ago we were on a beach at a state park in Minnesota and my wife’s wedding ring slipped from her finger into the lake. We couldn’t find it right away, but a week later we came back with a metal detector and found the ring and some other items. One of these items was a dog license tag from 1941. I found myself wondering how this dog license ended up here and who it belonged to and the story started there.

IDI – It’s funny how one fact or detail can ignite an entire story. You mentioned outlining. Do you outline or sketch the entire book before you feel comfortable enough to begin your draft or do you go with the flow of the pen?

DD – I don’t do a detailed outline, but I list out the scenes, POV for each and where/how they fit into the timeline. It’s like I have the story in bullet points and then I have to write it in detail. It changes along the way as new ideas come in and old ones are thrown out, but it keeps me on track and helps me to keep moving. If I get stuck on a scene I can jump ahead to another one.

In my last book, I pretty much stuck to the outline, except for the ending. When I got there all ideas were out the window and I just wrote what fit at that time.

IDI – Pen and paper or computer and Word? The bustle of Barnes and Noble or the quiet of your study? Alone or within a writing group? What is your most productive/inspiring setting?

DD – My best writing either happens at home at night after everyone else has gone to bed and the house is quiet, or sitting in a coffee shop away from the distractions of home with my ear buds in listening to music.

I outline in a notebook or on cards but do all of my writing on the computer. When it comes time to edit I prefer to print out the work and mark it up with a pen where I can scribble all over it, make notes, mark it up before going back to the computer.

IDI – Online cafe’s or writers groups (aside from social networking). Do you belong to any and if so, help or harm?

DD – I’ve belonged to a writers group for fifteen years. We meet every two or three weeks to share our work, ideas and feedback. It has definitely helped. It helps keep me writing to a deadline when it’s my turn to share and it helps me to see the work of others and what works or doesn’t work and apply it to my own writing.

We’re multi-genre, and other writers have told me I should be in a group focused on my genre, but i like to see the other styles. I don’t always accept the feedback, but it is all welcomed and helpful.

IDI – What advice would you give to new/unpublished authors?

DD – Write the book. Sit down and write the book from beginning to end. Writing is writing. Blogging, tweeting, updating your Facebook status, reading other blogs, playing words with friends, reading about writing, none of these things are writing.

Once you write the book, make sure it is the best book you can write. This applies to you whether you are planning to pursue the traditional path or the indie path to being published.

IDI – Do you have a favorite book and if so, what is it?

DD – My favorite is one of the few books I’ve read more than once. It is ‘Shibumi’ by Trevanian. It took me to a different local with interesting characters and combined my love of thrillers and spy stories.

IDI – What do you find to be the hardest aspect of writing?  

DD – Now that I’ve published the first book, I think there are two hard parts. The first is carving out the time to write from the rest of my life; day job, family, etc,. The second, marketing, also cuts into writing time. I’m spending too much time on that right now, but I’m trying to improve the success and penetration of my first book. I’m leveraging social media, Goodreads, Facebook, kindleboards, etc,. and I think my sales are OK, but I’m hoping to figure out what I can do to make them even better.

IDI – What do you do when you’re not writing?

DD – I have a day job, I’m an Information Technology leader. I also spend time with my family, quite a bit of time driving my son to his various sporting practices and events. We like to spend time at the lake and do some traveling.

IDI – Doug, what are your thoughts on the ever-changing publishing industry? What do you see for the future, as a writer?

DD – I’m a true believer that ebooks are the future. Ereaders are dropping in price, they bring both shopping and reading convenience to the reader and they allow the reader expanding options to find what they want to read, rather than what the publishers think they want to read.

I’ve pursued the indie path because it offers me more control, I can get books to my readers faster and I can look into leveraging options that ebooks will offer that aren’t available in paper.

In this path I am responsible for everything; my writing, formatting the manuscript, getting the cover designed, find editors and marketing. it’s both exciting and a little overwhelming. But I’m having fun.

I would like to thank Doug for appearing on Ink Drop Interviews and let you know where to find him and his work online:

Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Ninth-District-Thriller-ebook/dp/B0055FDRH8/ref/=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1311817128&sr=1-1

Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-ninth-district-a-thriller-douglas-dorow/1031526121?ean=2940013599437&itm=1&usri=dorow

The Independent Author Network: http://www.independentauthornetwork.com/douglas-dorow.html

Doug’s Blog: http://thrillersrus.blogspot.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DouglasDorowAuthor

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/douglasdorow

Interviews are conducted by Kathy Reinhart, author of ‘Missouri in a Suitcase’ and most recently, ‘Lily White Lies’, available on Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads and other online outlets.

Follow me on Twitter: @kathyreinhart

Like me on Facebook: www.facebook.com/KathyReinhart.Novelist

Or, peek at my website (which is still under construction – heavy construction): www.kathyreinhart.com

If you are an Indie author trying to get your work or even your presence out there, why not try an interview? If you know anyone who could benefit from a little extra exposure but are too shy to ask, drop them the link. They’ll thank you later 😉

For further information on interviews, contact me at ladybuggerly at hotmail dot com (coded for the bots and spammers out there!)

Next week: Patrick Martin. Subscribe today so you don’t miss him next week!


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