Eighteen genre novels get featured in a series of three new overviews in this week’s NYT book section.
The novelist Charles Finch takes on thrillers, casting a critical eye over some of the offerings but deeply enjoying The Fall Guy, James Lasdun (Norton; OverDrive Sample), about two men caught up in a competition over a woman, one of whom is destined to fulfill the title.
Finch calls it “exceptionally entertaining … a cross of literary fiction, thriller and mystery” that reads like “early Ian McEwan or late Patricia Highsmith.”
He says that Lasdun cleverly crafts the story, “His clues never seem like clues until they bind tightly around one of the three leads” and that the novel is “exactly what a literary thriller should be: intelligent, careful, swift, unsettling.”
It is also a November Indie Next pick.
Reviewing six Horror titles, film critic Terrence Rafferty (who wrote a piece on Thrillers featuring killer women in June) very much likes the small press offering The Fisherman by John Langan (Word Horde), the story of two grief-burdened fisherman who cast their lines in possibly magical waters.
He calls it “superb” and says that Langan “manages to sustain the focused effect of a short story or a poem over the course of a long horror narrative.”
Rafferty continues that the novel is “unusually dense with ideas and images” and full of “elegant prose.” In the end, he says, readers feel a “sad urgency on every page” of this “strange and terrifying” tale.
In her largely non-committal survey of six True-Crime offerings, Marilyn Stasio picks The Thieves of Threadneedle Street: The Incredible True Story of the American Forgers Who Nearly Broke the Bank of England (Norton/ Pegasus; OverDrive Sample), Nicholas Booth as a good bet.
It is the tale of a masterful 19th century forgery case that Stasio calls a “jaunty caper” led by a man who was no stranger to international long cons.