In an attempt to juggle baby, university assignments, dog, boyfriend, house and the occasional trip out of it, I’ve been trying my damndest to start getting into the swing of reading again. I’ve done well – finished a whole book and around a third of the way through another – and it’s only taken the whole of 2016 to achieve this. Introduced to his work by my mother, Chris Carter seemed a hell-uv-a lot different to the likes of the Harlan Coben tales I’m more familiar with.
“I Am Death” is the only thriller I have read, where I’ve been able to guess the culprit of the crime – in this case, unimaginable torture to women and children. Especially women. A lot of them. Made me wonder how Carter’s mind worked, what horror films he’d been watching prior to writing the novel, or what he’d witnessed in his life as a psychologist (obviously a lot judging by the torture methods – humans apparently hold a capacity for evil like you wouldn’t believe). Back to the culprit. I’m not sure what it means that I was able to guess so far from the end of the novel – at least with Coben, we’re set completely off the trail. The lack of characters paired with us being stuck inside Hunter’s mind constantly, told me it had to be someone he knew. I wasn’t wrong.
Hunter’s Mexican side-kick wasn’t much of a thrill, either. The extent to which he was ‘dumbed-down’ saw Carter explaining clinical or criminal facts to the audience, which turned a novel into a sort of encyclopaedia. Yes, he’s a family man. Yes, he doesn’t possess the experience of Hunter. But he wouldn’t be paired with him unless he was at least somewhat of an equal. I didn’t get the feeling he was – the guy peeved me off a little, actually.
Overall though, as mentioned, I gained an insight into the minds of the mentally-ill. As much as it was disturbing, it was interesting. The little twist with Squirm was unexpected, though it felt a little rushed. I think if Carter had given more depth to that situation, I would have felt less confused by it.
Scrolling through Carter’s other titles, I’m not convinced that I would read anything else by him, at least in the Hunter series. They all seem to follow similar plots, with a worrying focus on the pain and suffering of women. Maybe if the tables were turned and men were hanging up to die at the hands of bitter old hags, with a personality-less cop and his dumb side-kick being made to investigate – maybe that would be a better read.
At present I am reading “The Danish Girl” by David Ebershoff. No I haven’t seen the film, and when there is a novel in existence, I pretty much won’t. The reason for this is that The Da Vinci Code nowhere near lived up to expectations back in the day. Angels and Demons was OK, but still nothing compared to the genius of Dan Brown.
Ebershoff’s writing is simply exquisite, a work of art. It’s not smooth, speedy reading, but this is a good thing because we are able to take in every word and metaphor passed to us, and bask in them. For Eastenders fans, I can’t help but think of Les standing in his get-up when Lili’s name is mentioned. Aside from that, and as I’m only a part way through, I’m unsure who to ‘side’ with. I feel bad for Greta, because this is her husband and her life isn’t taken into consideration as much as Lili’s is. Einar seems a bit of a bore, Lili outrageous, but this is one of many discriminatory issues that needs to be thought of for a more tolerant world. Will Greta stick by Einar/Lili? No spoilers please!
Next on my list is probably something sitting on the bookshelf that I’ve been avoiding. Satanic Verses? Sharp Objects? Rebecca? May be all three by the end of the year…