Review: Lie With Me, The Time to Kill
Lie With Me
It's marketed directly at those who loved The Girl on The Train, but I may be one of the last sentient beings on the planet yet to read Paula Hawkins' thriller, so for me Sabine Durrant's third novel had to rely on its own merits.
Durrant, a former Guardian journalist, has found a niche writing emotional thrillers with a twist. This one concerns Paul Morris, a Cambridge graduate who wrote an acclaimed first novel and has wasted the subsequent two decades.
It's narrated from Paul's perspective, and he's unusually open about his deeply disagreeable personality. That makes some of the earlier pages difficult going: Paul's simply too repulsive for easy reading, but Durrant begins to weave a suitably clever plot around Paul and the Greek summer holiday he's managed to sponge his way on to.
By midway through, it's clear something sinister is about to happen and that's credit to Durrant, who creates an air of suspense while relaying mundane domesticity. The final third picks up the pace and, duly, there's a twist that only more diligent readers will predict. It leaves you re-assessing everything the story is founded upon and rewarded for staying with Paul and all his flaws. Steve Kilgallon
The Time To Kill
Hachette NZ, $35
If you've come across either of his first two thrillers, you will know this writer is a keeper. If not, put him on your list.
Lee Child has given his tick of approval and there are similarities. Both writers are British, but their heroes are based in the United States. Child moved to the US soon after his first Jack Reacher book was published, but Glaswegian Cross has stayed home so far.
Reacher and Cross's hero, Carter Blake, are both loners who travel around a lot. Like Reacher, Blake has to overcome seemingly impossible odds. A former covert agent, he has settled into a career as an expert finder of missing people. The trouble is, his former employers decide to tidy up some loose ends and Blake is marked for elimination.
This is a delayed result of events in the first two books, but there is enough back story explained for this one to stand alone. Blake leads a team of killers on a merry chase from Seattle to New York, where there is an explosive climax. Ian Earle