Author, Book review, crime/thriller, England, Fiction, Hodder, London, Publisher, Sabine Durrant, Setting

‘Finders, Keepers’ by Sabine Durrant

Fiction – Kindle edition; Hodder & Stoughton; 320 pages; 2020.

Morally dubious characters are a mainstay of Sabine Durrant’s work, and Finders, Keepers, her latest novel, is no exception.

In this gripping story — which is right out of the Patricia Highsmith playbook — two women, poles apart in background and personality, develop a strange, obsessional relationship that culminates in a murder. As the pair dance around one another, their individual secrets are revealed one by one, in a carefully paced narrative filled with many a-ha! moments.

Told from the perspective of Verity, an eccentric woman in her 50s who makes her living working from home as a lexicographer for the English Oxford Dictionary, the story juxtaposes two narrative threads: a retrospective one that looks back on how Verity became friends with her neighbour Ailsa, and a current one that focuses on Ailsa’s new life awaiting trial for murder.

Murder by poisoning

When the book opens, Ailsa is staying with Verity after having spent several nights in a cell at the local police station. Someone has daubed “YOUR GUILTEY” in red paint on the front fence. We later learn that Ailsa’s husband has died, possibly from eating poisoned food, and that she has been charged with his murder. Her three children have been taken into care.

Verity, kind-hearted and eager to please, looks after her friend with unwavering devotion, the kind of devotion she had previously doled out to her aged mother, whom she cared for until her death five years earlier. Estranged from her only sister, Verity lives alone with only her dog Maudie for company.

Verity explains that when Ailsa moved in next door — after “13 months of drills and bulldozers, the clatter of scaffolding, the whining of saws, the bangs and shouts and music and oaths of the increasingly frantic builders” — it’s a relief that the renovations are over. She already knows that Ailsa, who works in HR, and her husband, Tom, who is a record company executive, have moved to London after a failed stint in Kent. She knows their taste in furniture and fittings (having seen it all delivered).

But their friendship gets off to a wonky start when Tom comes around to complain about the trees and ivy along the back fence (wanting her to cut everything back). Later, when she’s invited over for drinks (via a handwritten invitation on the back of a postcard), she drops by, unaware that it’s a thinly veiled attempt to convince her to clear up her garden.

This sets the tone for their friendship, though Verity seems genuinely unaware that she is being used or manipulated by both parties. Even when she begins (accidentally) tutoring their son, Max, who is struggling at school because of his dyslexia, Verity can never see it in herself to chase the promised payment.

Mutually dependent friendship

As the story unfolds and the two narratives, past and present, intertwine we begin to learn more and more about the ways in which these two women come to depend on one another, and we begin to see how Tom’s behaviour, bullying and rude, might have lead to his downfall.

Finders, Keepers is a clever, suspense-filled story, one that doesn’t follow all the conventional rules of the genre. It’s far from predictable and has the kind of satisfactory ending that makes you glad you took the time to read the book.

But it’s the characters that really make the story — the bitchy, manipulative Aisla, who is all sweetness and light whenever the spotlight is cast in her direction, is rather wonderful, yet it’s Verity, an oddball with her quirky interests, that gives the novel its real heart.

20 books of summer, 20 books of summer (2020), Author, Book review, crime/thriller, Fiction, London, Mulholland Books, Publisher, Sabine Durrant

‘Remember Me This Way’ by Sabine Durrant

Fiction – Kindle edition; Mulholland Books; 368 pages; 2015.

When it comes to suspenseful psychological thrillers, Sabine Durrant has become a firm favourite of mine in recent years. She’s written five to date. Remember Me This Way, published in 2015, is her second.

It’s a gripping tale of a marriage that isn’t quite what it is cracked up to be. Lizzie, a school librarian, is quiet and passive, always pleasant, helpful and kind. Zach, a struggling artist, is self-possessed, devoted to his work and his wife. But when Zach dies in a car accident on a rural road, London-based Lizzie begins to realise the man she married is not who she thought he was.

A year after his death, when she finally works up the courage to pack up Zach’s private artist’s studio in Cornwall, a sense of dread and unease descends when she discovers items of his clothing missing and his laptop still plugged into the wall. She begins to believe that maybe he is still alive, that he faked his death in a twisted form of revenge after she wrote him a letter telling him that their marriage was over.

What follows is a fast-moving story that plays on the idea that we can never really know the people to whom we are closest.

Clever structure

But what makes this thriller slightly more original than others in a similar vein is the structure, for both characters narrate their side of events in alternate chapters (in different typefaces to aid comprehension): Zach tells his story pre-accident; Lizzie’s narrative is entirely post-accident.

This clever device allows us to see how the pair met and fell in love, but it also gives us (alarming) insights into their character traits and shows how Zach was a manipulative, controlling narcissistic who did everything in his power to keep Lizzie all to himself.

As the story unfolds, Lizzie comes to see the truth of Zach’s behaviour and begins to uncover, slowly but surely, all the lies he told to create a believable backstory for himself, the kind of backstory that would make Lizzie take pity on him. It is only in death that his artifice becomes exposed.

Narrative tension

As you would expect from a psychological thriller, there are plenty of twists and turns and red herrings and unexpected reveals that made it almost impossible to guess what is coming next. As a form of escapism, Remember Me This Way is an entertaining read. Durrant knows how to create terrific characters; she’s very good at narcissistic types and downtrodden middle-class Londoners, as these kinds of people also feature in her other novels.

And she knows how to get the pulse racing, how to create an atmosphere of fear and dread, and to lace everything with an air of menace and build up the suspense chapter by chapter.

But this is not a “dumb” novel. There is social commentary too: about domestic abuse (in all the many forms it takes, including coercive control) and how no one can ever really know what happens behind closed doors. The power plays between husbands and wives; parents and children; students and teachers; and even siblings; are all explored, to varying degrees, as well.

Remember Me This Way is a clever and suspenseful novel that doesn’t necessarily comply with the genre’s normal rules of engagement. I enjoyed the twisty ride it took me on, and am looking forward to reading Durrant’s new novel, which was released just a few weeks ago…

This is my 7th book for #20BooksofSummer / #20BooksOfSouthernHemisphereWinter. I purchased it on Kindle in November 2019.

Book lists

16 books for 16 years of blogging

Sometime this week marks the 16th birthday of this blog. (I’m not sure of the definite date, only that it was the first week of March 2004.)

To celebrate the occasion I thought I’d create a special list, choosing an influential book for every year I’ve been blogging.

Each of the 16 books I have chosen left a lasting impression on me in some way, either by taking me into new reading territory or introducing me to a new favourite author.

Without further ado, here is my list arranged in chronological order beginning with 2004.

Year: 2004
Book: ‘Towards the end of the Morning’ by Michael Frayn
What it is about: A comedy of manners featuring two Fleet Street journalists in the 1960s who spend most of their time in the pub wishing they could break into the more lucrative business of television reporting.
How it influenced me: It opened my eyes to a whole new “genre” of books about newspaper journalists. I’ve read quite a few since then and have a list of my favourite 10 here.

Year: 2005
Book: ‘Three to see the King’ by Magnus Mills
What it is about: An allegory exploring whether the grass is greener on the other side.
How it influenced me: Reading this strange, quirky book turned me into a lifelong Magnus Mills fan. I’ve read all of his novels since then. You can read those reviews here.

The Barracks by John McGahern

Year: 2006
Book: ‘The Barracks’ by John McGahern
What it is about: A former nurse in war-torn London returns to rural Ireland, where she marries a policeman much older than herself and becomes stepmother to three children. When she develops breast cancer, she hides the diagnosis from everyone bar the local priest.
How it influenced me: After reading this book it made such an impression on me I went out and bought McGahern’s entire back catalogue. That same year I read two more by him. He promptly became my favourite writer. I even went to County Leitrim, where McGahern was from, to hunt out haunts mentioned in his novels and his memoir.

Year: 2007
Book:  ‘The Blackwater Lightship’ by Colm Toibin
What it is about: Three generations of Irishwomen, estranged for years, reluctantly join forces to look after one of their own who has a serious life-threatening illness.
How it influenced me: It turned me into a life-long Toibin fan and I’m slowly but surely making my way through his backlist. This is what I have reviewed so far.

Tarry Flynn

Year: 2008
Book:
‘Tarry Flynn’ by Patrick Kavanagh 
What it is about: This is a joyous bittersweet novel about a bachelor farmer in rural Ireland in the 1930s.
How it influenced me: It opened my eye to the concept of “rural novels”, especially ones about farming, which I have sought out ever since.

Merry go round in the sea by randolph stow

Year: 2009
Book: ‘The Merry-Go-Round in the Sea’ by Randolph Stow
What it is about: A gentle coming-of-age story set in Geraldton, Western Australia during the Second World War.
How it influenced me: I loved this book so much I actually read it twice in a year. It also made me want to read his entire back catalogue, but at the time most of it was out of print. Fortunately, Text Classics has since rectified this and I have them all lying in wait.

Year: 2010
Book: ‘This Human Season’ by Louise Dean
What it is about: Set in Belfast at the height of The Troubles, this profoundly moving story looks at both sides of the “dirty protest” carried out by political prisoners held in The Maze prison.
How it influenced me: As well as making me want to read more books by Louise Dean, it encouraged me to seek out more novels from Northern Ireland. Through this exploration, I have discovered the likes of David Park and Deidre Madden.

Devotion of Suspect X

Year: 2011
Book:  ‘The Devotion of Suspect X’ by Keigo Higashino
What it is about: This is an extraordinary crime novel which bucks the normal conventions of the genre: we know from the outset who has committed the crime, how they did it and who has helped cover it up, but we don’t know the steps taken to protect the real murderer.
How it influenced me:  This book got me into Japanese crime fiction, including several by Higashino, as well as wider Japanese literature.

Plainsong by Kent Haruf

Year: 2012
Book: ‘Plainsong’ by Kent Haruf 
What it is about: Set in rural Colorado in the 1980s, this gorgeously bittersweet story follows the trials and tribulations of a handful of diverse but interesting characters, including two old bachelor brothers, who run a farm and take in a pregnant teenager kicked out of home.
How it influenced me: This book rocketed straight into my all-time favourite reads. I loved its rural setting (see Tarry Flynn above) and its eccentric, warm-hearted characters, but most of all I loved the eloquent and elegant prose style. I have since read all of Haruf’s backlist. Sadly, his death a few years ago means there’s no more left for me to read.

Year: 2013
Book: ‘Of Human Bondage’ by W. Somerset Maugham [not reviewed]
What it is about: This doorstep of a novel follows the life and times of an orphan with a club foot who is raised by a strict and religious uncle in the English provinces, but flees, first to Germany, then to Paris, before settling in London to study medicine. It’s a profoundly moving book because it shows what happens to people when there is no welfare state. I loved this book so much I couldn’t bring myself to review it.
How it influenced me: Since reading this book, I’ve been happily working my way through W. Somerset Maugham’s backlist. This is what I have reviewed so far.

Year: 2014
Book: ‘Black and Proud: The Story of an Iconic AFL Photo’ by Matthew Klugman and Gary Osmond [not reviewed]
What it is about: This award-winning book examines racism in sport. It charts the story behind the image that is on its front cover — Aboriginal Australian AFL footballer Nicky Winmar pointing to his chest declaring he was “proud to be black” after enduring racist abuse during a football match on 17 April 1993 — and puts it into the wider context of Australian society.
How it influenced me: I’m not a football fan, but this book proved to be a compelling account of an important issue. I read Anna Krien’s Night Games: Sex, Power and Sport, which is about rape culture in the AFL world, at around the same time and it was equally as compelling. But the Winmar story was the one that sent me off on a new journey exploring indigenous issues, including Stan Grant’s Talking to My Country and Cal Flynn’s Thicker Than Water: History, Secrets and Guilt: A Memoir.

Year: 2015
Book: ‘The Good Doctor’ by Damon Galgut 
What it is about: Set in post-apartheid South Africa, this is the story of two doctors working in a deserted rural hospital who must share lodgings. It is a fascinating portrait of male friendship amid huge societal changes as the “new” South Africa shakes off its dark history.
How it influenced me: This book, with its effortless, dreamy prose, turned me into a Galgut fan. I’ve read four more novels by him since reading this one.

Walking Free by Dr Munjed Al Muderis

Year: 2016
Book: ‘Walking Free’ by Dr Munjed Al Muderis (with Patrick Weaver)
What it is about: The true-life story of an Iranian refugee who was held in Curtin Immigration Detention Centre in the remote Kimberly region of Western Australia. After surviving this hellhole for 10 months, he eventually gained his freedom. He is now one of the world’s leading specialists in osseointegration in which prosthetic limbs are implanted and fused into bone Terminator style.
How it influenced me: This book opened my eyes to Australia’s shameful and inhumane policy of detention for refugees and asylum seekers, and made me more conscious of the issues facing those people seeking new lives against the odds.

Down in the city by Elizabeth Harrower

Year: 2017
Book: ‘Down in the City’ by Elizabeth Harrower
What it is about: Set in Sydney one hot summer, it tells the story of an abusive marriage between two people from opposite ends of the social spectrum.
How it influenced me: Even though I’d read two books by Harrower before, this was the one that made me sit up and pay attention. Her ability to evoke atmosphere and to capture the inner-most workings of the human soul are just brilliant. I am on a mission to read all of Harrower’s work. This is what I’ve read so far.

Lie with me

Year: 2018
Book: ‘Lie With Me’ by Sabine Durrant
What it is about: This book nicely fits into the “holidays from hell” genre. It’s a psychological thriller set on a Greek island but is told from the perspective of a nasty, conniving narrator who you are never quite sure whether to trust.
How it influenced me: I always like a good psychological-thriller-come-page-turner and it’s such a relief to find a new author who you can rely on to offer up a great story. I have since read several more by this author.

Year: 2019
Book:  ‘The Old Boys’ by William Trevor 
What it is about: This is a black comedy about four septuagenarians who all went to boarding school together more than 50 years earlier and behave very much as you would expect a group of immature schoolboys to behave — badly! They connive, cheat and backstab each other, all in an outlandish bid to establish who is “top dog”.
How it influenced me: I had previously read quite a bit of Trevor’s later work and I associated him with poignant tales of thwarted love in rural Ireland, but this book showed me that his early work was very different (this was his debut novel): it was set in London and darkly comic. I have since read several more of his earlier novels and hope to work my way through his massive backlist. All my reviews of his work are here.

So, there you have it. These are the most influential books I’ve read in the past 16 years. I’m conscious of the fact that this is a very male-dominated list. But I’m sure that if I compiled this list tomorrow, the books here would probably be different. For now, this will have to do.

Have you read any of this list? Or care to share your own influential reads?

Australia, Author, Book lists, Book review, Chip Cheek, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, crime/thriller, Fiction, literary fiction, London, Mulholland Books, Non-fiction, Publisher, Rob Hunter, Sabine Durrant, Setting, true crime, USA, Weidenfeld & Nicolson

3 page-turning reads by Chip Cheek, Sabine Durrant and Rob Hunter

Looking for a quick read, something that’s compelling and difficult to put down?

Here’s three — a literary novel, a psychological thriller and a true crime story — that I’ve read recently that may well fit the bill.

‘Cape May’ by Chip Cheek

Fiction – hardcover; W&N; 272 pages; 2019. Review copy courtesy of the publisher.

This stylish and accomplished debut novel is a brilliant evocation of 1950s America (one of my favourite settings) and is highly reminiscent of Richard Yates in tone and theme with a smattering of F. Scott Fitzgerald thrown in for good measure.

It tells the story of a young couple, Henry and Effie, on honeymoon in Cape May, a seaside resort at the tip of southern New Jersey. It’s out of season and the couple appear to have the entire town and beach to themselves, but then they notice lights on in a house just down the street and find themselves drawn into the strange world of a trio of intriguing characters: Clara, a socialite; Max, her wealthy playboy lover; and Alma, Max’s aloof and pretty half-sister. Over the course of the next couple of weeks, the newly married couple experience life lived on a whole new level — with numerous sailing trips, glamorous dinner parties and all-night drunken revelry — but this heady time comes at a cost, for seduction, betrayal and heartbreak await.

Compulsively readable, with great characters and snappy dialogue, Cape May begins as a sweet story of new love before it morphs into a seedy and sexually explicit tale of lust, desire and hedonism. It’s certainly not for the prudish, but as a fast-paced entertaining read — perfect for the beach or holiday — they don’t come much better than this. My only criticism, apart from the over-done sex scenes, is that the ending, charting the lives of Henry and Effie long after the honeymoon is over, feels slightly tacked on, but nonetheless this is a terrific page-turning read!

‘Under Your Skin’ by Sabine Durrant

Fiction – paperback; Mulholland Books; 320 pages; 2014.

Tautly written psychological thrillers featuring morally dubious characters don’t come much better than the ones penned by London-based writer Sabine Durrant. This is the third Durrant I’ve read (you can see previous ones here) and it certainly won’t be the last.

In Under Your Skin breakfast TV presenter Gaby Mortimer finds the body of a murdered woman lying in bushes when she is out on one of her early morning runs across Clapham Common. She does the right thing and calls the police, but later she is arrested for the crime, setting into motion a whole chain of events, which results in Gaby being hounded by the press, losing her job and then being ostracised by all who know her.

Written in the first person, present tense, the narrative moves along at a cracking pace as Gaby, a happily married middle-class working mother, tries to defend her innocence alone while her hedge fund husband heads abroad unaware of his wife’s predicament. There are lots of twists and turns in the plot and half the fun is guessing the would-be murderer — is it Gaby’s live-in nanny, her long-time stalker or one of the journalists she befriends to tell her side of the story? The denouement is suitably unexpected and shocking, making for a terrific end to a truly compelling read.

‘Day 9 at Wooreen: Kidnapped with nine Children — A True Account of the Crime that Shocked Australia’ by Rob Hunter

Non-fiction – paperback; CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 234 pages; 2018.

In 1977, not far from the small Australian town I grew up in, an entire primary school — one teacher and nine students — were kidnapped at gun point from Wooreen in South Gippsland. The kidnapper, Edwin John Eastwood, had escaped prison and carried out a similar kidnapping (of another remote one-teacher school) some five years earlier.

This audacious and shocking crime is told from the point of view of the teacher, Rob Hunter, who was nine days into his first job after finishing university. It’s a gripping and carefully written account of what would be a terrifying experience for anyone, let alone a “green” teacher with nine youngsters under his care.

Though the story is very much focused on the frightening minute-by-minute events of the two-day ordeal, Hunter weaves in his thoughts about what it is like to survive a traumatic event and how it shaped the rest of his life. He now travels to schools teaching students how to cope with their own hurts and traumas (you can read about that here).

For me, reading this book answered a lot of questions about exactly what happened and where —all the places mentioned here are totally familiar to me. And though I went to secondary school with several of the survivors, what happened to them was never something openly discussed. This book also made me realise what it must have been like for my own dad who was a teacher at a one-teacher school around the time of Eastwood’s first kidnapping: every sound of a strange car door slamming outside must have sent the safety radar into overdrive!

My copy of Day 9 at Wooreen is self-published, but I believe the book has been picked up by Wilkinson Publishing in Australia and is due for reprinting soon, but you may be able to pick up a copy via Amazon.

You can find out more about the Wooreen kidnappings via this short YouTube clip:

 

Have you read any page-turning reads lately?

Author, Book review, crime/thriller, England, Fiction, London, Mulholland Books, Publisher, Sabine Durrant, Setting

‘Take Me In’ by Sabine Durrant

Fiction – paperback; Mulholland Books; 352 pages; 2019.

Last summer I was completely besotted by Sabine Durrant’s Lie to Me, a wonderfully dark thriller set on a Greek island, so when I saw her latest one on special offer at WH Smith just as I was about to board a long haul flight, I couldn’t resist buying it.

Take Me In turned out to be another gripping psychological thriller, one that had me furiously turning the pages in a bid to find out what happens next.

It’s set in modern-day London, but opens on a Greek island, where middle-class couple, Marcus and Tessa, have gone for a week-long holiday designed to save their failing marriage. Their three-year-old son, Josh, is with them.

One afternoon, on the beach, Josh nearly drowns and is rescued by a fellow holiday maker — a bald-headed, tattooed Brit called Dave Jepsom — who dives into the ocean to save him. Marcus and Tessa, caught out by their own parenting inadequacies, feel indebted to Dave, even though they don’t much like him.

When they return to London, their marriage still intact (but only just), they find that Dave, who claims to be “in construction” and lives in Essex, has seemingly inveigled his way into their lives. He turns up on their doorstep uninvited with gifts for Josh and, on a separate occasion, to fix the couple’s leaky bathroom tap. At other moments, he appears in the shadows, spotted at restaurants, in shopping centres, in local streets, almost as if he is spying on them.

What does Dave want? And does he pose a threat to Marcus and Tessa’s safety?

Two intertwined voices

The story is told from two points of view in alternate chapters marked Him (Marcus) and Her (Tessa). This allows us to see their individual take on things (Marcus often feels inadequate as a man when he compares himself with big, beefy Dave; Tessa simply feels sorry for him but would rather he was not a part of their lives) and to find out more about their own internal thought processes. (Annoyingly, the tone of voice in both is quite indistinguishable, and Marcus doesn’t feel quite “male” enough to me, but that’s a minor quibble.)

It soon becomes clear that though they are both well-meaning people, they’re not particularly nice. Marcus is too focussed on his career as co-founder of a crisis management firm to much care about his family at home — it’s all about being on call 24 hours a day and saving brands from self-combusting — while Tessa feels so insecure as a mother and house wife that she’s having an affair with a man she once worked with when she was in PR.

They’re low-key social climbers, materialistic and over-protective of their child (except, of course, when he’s swimming at the beach). And they’re both paranoid that everything they’ve worked for might one day be taken from them, which goes some way to explain their fear of Dave and what he might be plotting.

As well as being a fast-paced psychological thriller, Take Me In is also a story about modern manners and morals — how do you thank someone for saving your son’s life? how do you extricate yourself from relationships you don’t want? is it okay to make friends with people from backgrounds so unlike your own? — and the irrational fears held by some middle class people against the working class.

It’s also a clever dissection of a troubled marriage and the burdens we can place on women to find fulfilment in the home if they give up their careers, as well as looking at the ethics of running a business where dodgy money is concerned.

And while the ending is a bit of a let down, the kind that throws open more questions than solutions, it’s a good put-your-brain-in-neutral read and it made a plane trip and a couple of days chilling out noticeably more entertaining for me. I will definitely read more by Sabine Durrant in the future.

20 books of summer, 20 books of summer (2018), Author, Book review, crime/thriller, Fiction, Greece, London, Mulholland Books, Publisher, Sabine Durrant, Setting

‘Lie With Me’ by Sabine Durrant

Lie with me

Fiction – Kindle edition; Mulholland Books; 305 pages; 2016.

Sabine Durrant’s suspense novel Lie With Me fits perfectly into the “holidays from hell” genre. It also fits rather nicely into the “amoral narrator” category. But, more importantly, it’s completely and utterly at home in the “books you don’t want to put down” bracket.

Serial liar

Narrated by 42-year-old Paul Morris, it charts the struggling author’s dastardly plan to develop a sexual relationship with a woman he doesn’t particularly like so that he can move in with her and keep a roof over his head.

Paul uses every trick in the book to inveigle his way into Alice’s life, a hugely successful human rights lawyer, who is widowed with two teenage children, and before he knows it he’s invited himself on the family’s annual holiday to Greece.

But this isn’t the romantic interlude he expects, because Alice has invited along a married couple and their children, which adds a level of complication to the trip for Paul went to university with the husband and the pair have a shared (read troubled) history.

To make matters worse, Paul has told a bundle of lies to cover up the fact he currently has no income, has been dropped by his agent and is living back home with his mother. Keeping up this pretence is a monumental exercise that requires Paul to always be on the ball, lest he say something that will reveal the truth about his situation.

Tension-filled page turner

The book ratchets up the tension by showing how Paul’s deviancy is very close to being exposed. The will-he-be-found-out, won’t-he-be-found out suspense is what makes this novel a real page turner.

And it helps that even though Paul is narcissistic and manipulative and downright dastardly (with a terrible eye for the ladies, it has to be said), you want to cheer him on, to get one over on the horrible middle-class people he’s hooked up with. His bare-faced lies are so shameless as to be admirable, and some of his activities are laugh-out-loud funny because they’re just so brazen. As a reader you simply keep waiting for him to get caught out.

Of course, Lie With Me has a twist at the end (which, frankly, I didn’t see coming), one that turns everything on its head. This is a super-enjoyable farce that gripped me from the first page to the last — it’s the perfect summer read if you’re looking for something that will keep you turning the pages without taxing your brain too much. Just put your mind in neutral and go with the flow.

This is my 6th book for #20booksofsummer. According to my Amazon order history, I purchased it on 21 January 2017 for £1.95. I’m not sure what prompted me to buy it, but I’m really glad I did. This is the most fun I’ve had reading a suspense novel in quite some time.