Sunday, 4 March 2012

A damn good read

Does anyone remember the film ‘Malice’? It had Nicole Kidman and Alec Baldwin in it, I think, and they weren’t very nice in it, but I can’t remember why or to whom. The reason I remember it is that where I saw it as a student (20 years ago – eek), it was preceded by a ‘short’ film that is one of the scariest things I ever saw. Did anyone else see it? Basically, Joely Richardson gets a bit pissed and cops off with a ‘lovely guy’ and she wakes up the next day to find she’s locked in his flat. She’s pretty freaked out and even more so when she finds some photos of dead naked women in his desk. Clearly, she is going to die. Then there’s a phone call during the course of which she asks about the photos and he explains, perfectly reasonably (on the phone) that he’s a policeman and the pics are evidence. Phew. Then the next (and last) scene she’s obviously out of the flat and on the phone to the ‘lovely guy’, a couple of weeks later,  being embarrassed about thinking he was a sexual predator type of serial killer etc etc, cue film of the ‘lovely guy’ selling art and clearly being not a policeman – urgh - she’s going to die after all. If anything was going to put me off casual drunken sex, that was it.

The reason for telling you this is that I have spent the day sneaking around the house totally gripped by a book called ‘Into the Darkest Corner’ by Elizabeth Haynes, which is along the same lines. I just had to finish it. Thrillers are not normally my thing. I read most of the Dick Francis novels as a teenager, and have more recently ploughed my way through a number of Dan Browns, am not averse to the odd John Grisham, and totally loved the Millenium trilogy (Girl with the Dragon Tattoo etc), but it’s not my genre of choice. This is one of the great things about being in a book club and particularly the one I am in at the moment. We are quite a diverse group in terms of our literary tastes, and Into the Darkest Corner is one of the forthcoming books. A bit of a change from Suite Francaise by Irene Neremovsky, and Still Alice by Lisa Genova, both of which I’ve read recently, or The Choral Society, by Prue Leith (yes, really, cookery person Prue) and would recommend, but for totally different reasons.
 I reckon it took me 6 hours from cover to cover and was like watching an episode of Waking the Dead (uncovering what happened in the past from a point in the present, as the past then starts to wash into the present in an alarming and dangerous way) at the pace of an episode of Spooks. Two of my favourite programmes rolled into one. I should have made my excuses yesterday when I was crippled by hangover, and just stayed in bed to finish it. However, feeling guilty because I’d got drunk as a skunk on rose wine and crawled in at 1.00 a.m. on Friday night, I felt that I had to make the effort to function. Today, without hangover, and with little to trouble me other than the making of chocolate brownie pudding to go with lunch (and, let’s face it, that’s hardly ‘trouble’ is it), I caved in to the craving to read.

There were a couple of times I felt myself physically jump – and this is a book, for goodness sake. It was a good job that the temperature dropped and it started snowing so that we could justify a ‘movie afternoon’ with the kids (they get to watch Harry Potter, I get to read surreptitiously on the sofa), otherwise I would still be reading and nothing would have got done.

I do love it when I get a book that is so completely gripping that I simply can’t put it down. II remember the Da Vinci Code whoch, let's face it, is a load of old tripe when all's said and done, keeping me up until 3 in the morning to finish it while we were on our first proper holiday when Blue was about 7/8 months old. You'd think I'd have been desperate for sleep but the urge to read was too strong. It’s not just thrillers, though – The Bridges of Madison County had the same effect. I seem to remember it being passed round from housemate to housemate one weekend in our final year at Uni.

I’m not sure I could cope with another in the same vein, straight off, but I look at the list and see that Death Comes to Pemberley is there – PD James writes Jane Austen. I wonder what kind of death? I am intrigued. Maybe the latest Prue Leith that Allotment Junkie slipped me, wrapped in a sainsburys bag, in the manner that a school boy might pass a porn mag to a friend, will have to wait after all. Maybe I am becoming a Thriller Junkie...


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