I read this excellent psychological thriller by James Patterson and David Ellis in two days. It was recommended by Chris, one of our astute group members. Thanks so much for that! I see that Ed has put it on his list, too. Good going, Ed. You’re gonna like this one!
This story is about a person who sets fires to cover up murders. It’s absolutely a psychological thriller. Anything about fire starters is psychological because these folks are totally nutso—and NO they don’t deserve or should be granted a break or another chance, because these monsters kill in hideous ways.
Agent/Analyst Emmy is after this pyro-killer but her boss is against it. Why? What’s the matter with him?
Well, after “Dick” the boss hits on her, she says no. So Dick puts her on unpaid administrative leave. That’s Dick’s story. He’s aptly named.
Emmy’s sister was killed and burned in a fire by the pyro-killer. Emmy is sure this was murder and not some accidental fire caused by a candle falling over. Everyone else thinks it’s an accident. Emmy is determined to prove them all wrong, but the killings and fires go on.
The story narration is first-person, present-tense. Pretty cool.
The pyro-killer talks directly to the reader through an audio recorder that looks like a smartphone. These audio notes are printed out in a san-serif font. It’s a great device. His little horror missives are highly effective. He speaks directly to the reader for maximum engagement. He’s really creepy. It works. We don’t like him. He calls them his “Graham Sessions.” Through them, Graham the pyro-killer taunts the reader: “You want to know if you could do it, too.”
Emmy explains the pattern of fire and death she has discerned through her meticulous analysis of the evidence. She explains it quite well. It’s exactly what I would expect from a good data analyst.
The narrator talks directly to the reader in a confidential sort of way. It works. It’s effective. Whose idea was this? Patterson or Ellis? This narrative device—using the first-person, present-tense POV—provides an opportunity to connect with the readers and bring ‘em inside, make everything immediate!
Throughout, the narrator continually updates the reader about her thinking patterns and analytical progress: “The data is almost dancing off the screen; I have to be careful I’m not going too fast. When the juices are flowing and the data is voluminous, it’s like a treasure hunt, one gigantic puzzle, the answer somewhere out there for me to find.” – [Chap. 29: 103]
What great imagery!
Now past the Big Reveal at the end of Chap. 51, Emmy says, “I don’t want to catch him. . . . I want to kill him.” In her head, she’s crossed over.
And next we’ve got football, of all things! Lions vs. Vikings. It doesn’t get any better than this, sports fans.
And then, there’s the great SURPRISE ending. Don’t tell . . .
DAVID ELLIS STAND-ALONE BOOKS:
Did you know that David Ellis successfully prosecuted Illinois Governor Blagojevich? Well, he did. He’s the real deal!
Just FINISHED reading IN THE COMPANY OF LIARS by David Ellis
Jane McCoy is an FBI agent. “Forgiveness is not something in which an agent of the FBI specializes. Her job is apprehension, sometimes prevention; she is never asked for, and never offers, absolution. She finds the concept overwhelming. She never liked her classes in philosophy–the study of questions that can’t be answered–or religion–the study of answers that can’t be questioned. She preferred her undergrad classes on criminal justice. This is right. This is wrong. And she never understood how one moment of repentance can absolve years of sin. One expression of regret erasing countless misdeeds? It’s just not how she’s wired.” Sound like anyone we know? Hmmm?
NOW I AM READING THE MURDER HOUSE!!
It has an ocean-front view, a private beach–and a deadly secret that won’t stay buried.