Tag Archives: literary thrillers
Dark literary thrillers are not my thing; I got this book in the post from the author who requested consideration for the Monday Book. We like to support regional authors (and she’s in WV) so while prepared to be optimistic, I worried I’d not have much to say about it.
But I totally loved Bentley’s writing. She has a great way with details and scene-setting. Her characters are not driving the plot; the plot drives the plot, specifically the psychotic weirdness of the stalker after her protagonist Leah. Bentley paints the slow, steady suspenseful rise with increasing depictions of violence or madness that pretty much verge on poetic. In the background hover tributes to Irish folklore that add nice atmosphere.
Bentley’s writing reminds me of two fantasy authorities: Ray Bradbury (one of her writing heroes, so it stands to reason) and Stephen King. She has that playful sense of poetry that Bradbury has, and like King she eschews explanation and too-obvious depictions of what’s going on inside the person’s head– a la King’s “he did it because he did it” writing.
This is a scene-by-scene book, and some of the scenes are quite intense. If you like plots that are less twist-and-turn than finely drawn, if you like to figure out for yourself why someone is behaving as they are, or if you like Irish mythology, you’re going to love The Silver Tattoo.
… and lost my weekend. Murder’s Daughters is one of those “don’t get up” books where your life partner is going to need to bring you sandwiches. (S/he will if you promise to do the same when it’s his or her turn to read the book.) The plot moves pretty quickly for being as psychology-driven as it is, something I really enjoyed. I like analytical books, but they can drag. This one did not. What’s going to happen next was always on my mind as I carried it into the bathroom, read it at the kitchen table, ignored customers in the bookstore the first time they said hello.
The premise is straightforward: a man loses control and kills his wife, but the only reason he’s able to is that one of his two daughters–a mere child–opens the door for him. Everything else in the dysfunction junction tale that follows stems from that moment. And there are some lovely human psychology moments. How the girls get out of the children’s home they get stuck in –because their blood family doesn’t step up to the plate–is so compelling and so true to humanity that I cried.
The ways in which the two girls so differently handle their subsequent relationship with their father is interesting, but more compelling to me was the depiction of their growing up years in a group home, and how they related to each other by in turns being maternal and manipulative. The girls are well-drawn characters. Great characters drive great plots.
Meyers puts the synopsis of the book well on her website (http://www.randysusanmeyers.com/the-murderers-daughters/): “The Murderer’s Daughters is narrated in turn by Merry and Lulu [the daughters]. The book follows the sisters as children, as young women, and as adults, always asking how far forgiveness can stretch, while exploring sibling loyalty, the aftermath of family violence, and the reality of redemption.”
BTW Meyers has links to buy the book on her site. I know y’all will first explore ordering it from your local bookstore, then if needed buy from her Powell’s link; Powell’s is a cool bookstore with excellent business ethics.
On her website you’ll also find links to her new book, The Comfort of Lies. If the characters are as well-drawn as Merry and Lulu, it will be a great read. Clear a weekend.