Monday, April 2, 2012
Hello, Fire Enthusiasts. I thank you so much for stopping by. You know how much I love your visits.
My friends, I have read some very good novels this year and it’s only April! Just when I might have figured that my hot streak couldn't possibly continue, along came Jennifer Hillier and her gripping debut Thriller, Creep.
The word “gripping” gets thrown about quite a lot when discussing fiction. I have used it myself for some reviews, and have contemplated using it for others; but have held it back lest I be accused of its overuse. Well, let me tell you something. I read this particular book in two days! That never happens. During day two, I read every down minute that I had while at the day job, and then I got home and read it for 3.5 miles while power walking on my treadmill. I pushed that healing left knee of mine (which we discussed a few weeks ago - yes, it's getting better - thanks), extending myself that extra half mile because I simply could not put it down.
This book will grab you by the throat and squeeze it tight until it is done with you, much like protagonist Ethan Wolfe might do. The author Jeffery Deaver had this to say about Creep: "Jennifer Hillier's Creep is top-of-the-line thriller writing. You better call in sick, because you're not going anywhere until you finish reading..."
Here’s the synopsis:
Dr. Sheila Tao is a professor of psychology. An expert in human behavior. And when she began an affair with sexy, charming graduate student Ethan Wolfe, she knew she was playing with fire. Consumed by lust when they were together, riddled with guilt when they weren’t, she knows the three-month fling with her teaching assistant has to end. After all, she’s finally engaged to a kind and loving investment banker who adores her, and she’s taking control of her life. But when she attempts to end the affair, Ethan Wolfe won’t let her walk away.
. . . no one else can.
Ethan has plans for Sheila, plans that involve posting a sex video that would surely get her fired and destroy her prestigious career. Plans to make her pay for rejecting him. And as she attempts to counter his every threatening move without her colleagues or her fiancé discovering her most intimate secrets, a shattering crime rocks Puget Sound State University: a female student, a star athlete, is found stabbed to death. Someone is raising the stakes of violence, sex, and blackmail . . . and before she knows it, Sheila is caught in a terrifying cat-and-mouse game with the lover she couldn’t resist—who is now the monster who won’t let her go.
This novel is an amazing achievement for a debut author. We’ve all read good works from seasoned authors that did not do what Hillier does here. I have spent more time reading the Paranormal and Horror genres this year, but Hillier’s work makes me realize that my first love might very well be the Thriller. The pacing in this thing was a work of art, with no slow sections. I literally refused to put my Kindle down until the ride was over.
Another thing that impressed me was the deeply three-dimensional characters. From Sheila, to Ethan, to Morris the fiancé, to retired police officer/turned Private Investigator Jerry, Hillier did a superb job bringing these people to life for me. I would not be shocked to find out that they are all real people living quietly in Seattle, Washington, hoping not to be recognized. That’s how real they were for me.
Not only is Hillier a master of the suspense, but she is one in Psychology as well. She flexed great skill here, displaying troubled characters that populate her tale so believably that we never question it; capturing well the troubled people that surround all of us, whether in our neighborhoods and workplace, and, sadly, on the nightly news as well. She also did very well with props, police procedure and subjects like make-up effects, and she did so, not in a way to impress us with her impeccable research or knowledge, but to seal the deal; getting her readers to totally become engrossed with her tale.
This was a near-perfect work of art. Spoiler alert! My only gripe was getting a piece of information from a mysterious voice in the darkness at one point, late in the story. We were given a clue to the outcome that I wish we had not been given. When it was said, I knew immediately the twist, and I was saddened to know it too far in advance. I didn’t mind at all having the same hint revealed by the villain a bit later on. That would have been enough. Perhaps you will not find that to be true, but I’m one who likes to have his presents revealed on Christmas morning and not before. I would have preferred having the jaw-dropping moment come much later, and to find me unsuspecting.
Other than that, this novel owned me and would not leave me alone until I had finished the ride. If you love a good Thriller like I do, and you have not yet been introduced to the incredible talent that is Jennifer Hillier, I strongly urge you to crab a copy for yourself. The price was a bit higher than I was used to, for those of us who buy e-books, but I can guarantee you that this ride is worth both the cost and the time it takes to wait in line for it to begin. I already have my eye on her next release later this year. That one is called Freak.
The author can be found on Facebook as well as her website. She's been very approachable in my experience, which I adore her for, so say hello. Notice that I used the word "approachable" and not "stalked"! But you'd better hurry. Soon we'll be dealing with her staff. Yeah, she's that good.
We’ll talk soon.