I’ve been really into reading creepy, psychological thrillers lately, which may strike some people (my sisters) as odd since I’ve never been one for scary movies. When I was younger I saw Dragonfly in the theater, ya know that movie with Kevin Costner and a total of – one – even remotely intense scene. I was so scared when the parrot was freaking out and flying around and his dead wife pops up in the window that I sat down on the movie theater floor until it was over 35 seconds later. (Give me a break I was like
12 14 and until then the scariest movie I had seen was Sixth Sense, a movie my mother ruined when I was watching it for the first time on TBS… “Hey isn’t this the movie where Bruce Willis is actually dead?” “I don’t know mom, I’ve never seen it before.” Asshole.)
I do get scared in movies easily, but the thing I don’t like about the horror genre is the goriness. I like the suspense of thrillers, but I don’t like seeing someone literally ripped in half between two semi-trucks, just not my style. In books, you can get the suspense without necessarily having to endure the blood and guts (although there’s a series of books I really want to read called Heartsick that my sisters have been raving about and it’s about this really sadistic serial killer). The other thing that draws me to thriller books over horror movies is that it’s both incredibly disturbing and deeply interesting to know the screwed up things that some authors dream up.
Plus, I’ve always been one of those readers that puts myself in the story. I let good stories get in my head which could be good or bad… I haven’t really decided. I read The Pact by Jodi Picoult a few years ago and I couldn’t shake this gnawing in the pit of my stomach for days after I finished reading it. I, somehow, took on the depression of one of the characters and I couldn’t stop crying… it was weird.
So to satisfy desire to scare myself shitless without ever having to watch any of the Saw movies I went to this used book store and bought a couple of books that were supposed to be scary (I actually googled “scary books”). One of those books I reviewed here. The other, I’m currently reading (I’m still not sure about this one… it’s supposed to be good — according to the answer.com list I read — but it’s not really what I thought it was going to be about so we’ll see. Confession: I didn’t actually read the back, I just gave it a once over. This is what I get for judging books by the cover). Anywho, there was this book sitting on our side table in the living room for a couple of weeks. I read the back, sounded interesting. I asked my sister about it (I assumed it was hers because she’s basically reading a new book every time I see her), she said she borrowed it from a friend and tried to read it but didn’t love it so she couldn’t get through it. I feel the way about shitty books that my sister feels about shitty movies: you know it’s terrible but you dive in anyway. This book was called The Truth Teller’s Lie by Sophie Hannah. So I dove in.
Let me start by saying, this may not have been the best book ever written, but I liked it. I could have done without the switch between the first person narration of one character to the focalized third person narration of other characters. This book was so twisted. The way the characters are connected, the plot, the characters themselves… it made me feel a little crazy. I don’t know what goes on in Sophie Hannah’s brain but to think this up… wow. This book isn’t a murder mystery, no one is running for their lives. It’s hard to describe without giving anything away. Suffice it to say (as it does on the back of the book, in so many words) this guy disappears. His mistress reports him missing and claims his wife may have something to do with it. No one wants to help her because it’s not uncommon for married men to stop meeting their lovers abruptly. She dives into her own tormented past as a way of bringing attention to her lover’s disappearance.
I wouldn’t say this book is traditionally predictable. Like I said, it’s twisted. You can feel that something bad is going to happen — no, not bad because when you say “something bad is going to happen” you’re expecting a psychopath to pop up at any time with a chainsaw and a hand grenade so he can kill you up close and from far away — you expect something strange, creepy, disturbing to happen. And it does. This book isn’t necessarily scary; I wasn’t waiting on the edge of my seat for a killer to strike again. It does get in your head though, I believe they call stories like this psychological thrillers. This book is not for the faint of heart. There are parts that are quite graphic and the obsessive nature of the story may be hard for some to read.
I thought this book was really quite interesting. I’d like to read more from Sophie Hannah, she’s kinda creepy and I dig it.