Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Pen Name by David Jacob Knight

 “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

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