Good Reading : June 2015
GOODREADINGMAGAZINE.COM.AU GOOD READING JUNE 2015 44 THRILLER WOM word of mouth RATINGS ★ ★ ★★ ★★ ★★★ ★★★ ★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★★★ RG The Stranger Harlan Coben Adam Price seems to be living the Amer ican Dream. He is a successful lawyer, and he has a good marr iage with his beautiful wife, Corr ine. They have two sons and a nice house in an affluent town. But one evening everything changes: a stranger approaches Adam and tells him that hislifeisbasedonalie–alietoldtohimby Corr ine. Everything Adam has believed in becomes suspect. He confronts Cor rine, but she has no answers to give him and winds up running away. Adam is left to juggle the boys’ lives and their hectic sporting schedules while trying to discover where Cor inne has gone and who the stranger is. Meanwhile there are sinister secrets threatening to burst to the surface in Adam’s town. But the closer Adam gets to one set of answers, the further away other answers recede. Harlan Coben specialises in the nightmare thriller in which ordinary people find themselves thrown into a hellish world of deception and danger. He does what he does very well: he wr ites thrillers that are genuinely enthralling page-turners. The Stranger is a Harlan Coben special: it has well-drawn, likeable characters and a complex, fast-paced plot that twists and turns toward a dramatic conclusion. ★★★★ Orion $32.99 Reviewed by Tessa Chudy The Serpent Papers Jessica Cornwell In Barcelona in 2003, three women are ritualistically murdered. The first two killings do not attract much notice from anyone, except for the families and the local police. But when rising starlet Natalia Hernandez becomes the third victim, demands for answers and the pressure to solve the crime push Inspector Fabregat to the edge; it’s the one case that dogs him for the rest of his career. Anna Verco is a specialist in arcane knowledge and ancient manuscripts. In 2014 she is hired by a myster ious organisation, Picatrix, to locate a manuscript for its reclusive billionaire owner. A work of great value and beauty, the Illuminatus Palimpsest – or Serpent Papers – may also contain a key to the secret history of the Sibylline prophecies, witchcraft and the keys to unlocking the myster ies of alchemy. Anna believes the palimpsest will answer questions she has about her own past, a mystery she is compelled to unravel with or without the help of Inspector Fabregat. All she has to do is get to the book before those pursuing her and the manuscript can catch her. Told through multiple narratives and timelines, this tale – written by the granddaughter of John le Carré – will inevitably be compared with Dan Brown’s novels. Some overly lengthy and detailed descriptions of locations, meals and manuscr ipts can get in the way of the narrative flow, but there is enough to keep most readers engaged through to the conclusion. ★★★ Quercus $29.99 Reviewed by David Johnson The Serpent Papers Jessica Cornwell IImurdered.The first two killings do not attract much notice from anyone, except for the families and the The Stranger AAHe is a successful lawyer, and he has a good marriage with his beautiful wife, Corrine. They have two About Jessica Cornwell Jessica Cornwell grew up in the town of Ojai in Southern California, where chain stores are prohibited. About Harlan Coben Dan Brown, author of The Da Vinci Code, and Harlan Coben both went to Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts, where they were buddies. Another famous Amherst graduate was David Foster Wallace, author of Infinite Jest.