“But if life had taught him one thing, it was that you mastered the absurd by laughing in its face. All evil was, inevitably, absurd.”
First Impression: I read Pavlov’s Dogs by D.L. Snell previously, so I was excited to see what this team had to offer in a thriller.
Characters: Distinct and recognizably human, the Littles and DasVerlag employees stand out in a genre of overplayed detectives and spies. Their thoughts and actions are very realistic.
World Building: Scenes of psychosis, or maybe truth? Delve into a world where nothing is as it seems, and keeps you guessing to the very end. Some disturbing slaughterhouse moments, but nothing really explicitly violent happens. Although definitely for adults, I appreciate the lack of sex scenes!
Writing Style: I enjoy stories that make you forget what’s real and what’s imagined - that’s exactly what The Pen Name demonstrates. Intense action scenes get your heart pumping, and the suspense is lip-biting. There’s even a reference to Misery if you can find it.
What I Enjoyed: The relationships between the main character and his family, as well as between him and the agents, are all so wonderfully raw. I was concerned this would turn into a blood bath…no pun intended. However, I didn’t walk away scared – just paranoid! That really is what a good thriller provides: a health sense of paranoia.
Overall Rating: 5 stars for an eerie supernatural tale. Bravo!
For Fans Of: The Bone Collector, Shutter Island, and Stephen King’s Storm of the Century