This week’s candidates for Sample Sunday are all novels that fall loosely into the category of psychological thrillers. This isn’t a genre I especially seek out but seem to have acquired.
She Who Was No More by Boileau-Narcejac
She Who Was No More is a psychological suspense novel published in French in 1952 under the title Celle qui n’était plus. It’s the first title produced by the writing duo of Boileau-Narcejac; the nom de plume of Pierre Boileau and Pierre Ayraud, aka Thomas Narcejac. They went on to write a further 42 novels,100 short stories and 4 plays. According to Wikipedia they were exponents of what they termed “le roman de la victime” (“the victim novel”); a form of suspense narrative which sees events through the victim’s point of view.
I’ve read only one other novel by them: Vertigo. I can’t say I enjoyed it because the topic was mental disturbance and obsession but I did think it was stylishly written. They’re worth another go I think.
The Verdict: Keep
Three Days And A Life by Pierre Lemaitre
Kirkus Reviews described this as a “feverish, wickedly entertaining work” in which a chain of events is triggered when a 12 year old boy angrily hits his younger neighbour over the head with a branch, and kills him. The boy is never brought to justice for his crime but his actions haunt him for the rest of his life.
I’m undecided about this one. I read Alex by Lemaitre a few years ago and found it very disturbing. If Three Days And A Life is in the same mode I shall definitely give it a miss. But I’ve also seen comments that it’s not your typical thriller which has me curious.
The Verdict: Undecided. If you’ve read this, help me make up my mind.
The Widow by Fiona Barton
This is a debut novel that looks explores a character in the shadows of news reports about serial killings and horrid crimes: the wife of the suspected perpetrator. Barton’s tale of a missing child is narrated by the wife of the man suspected of the crime, the detective leading the hunt, the journalist covering the case and the mother of the victim. Barton says she was motivated to write the book because as a newspaper journalist covering notorious crimes and trials, she began to wonder what the wives of those accused really knew – or allowed themselves to know.
It might be ok for a day when the brain can’t cope with anything too complex
The Verdict: Keep
What do you think of the decisions I’ve reached? If you’ve read any of these books I’d love to hear from you.