Author: Charles J. Harwood, 2011.
Genre: Thriller. Sexual Violence
Other Details: Paperback. 285 pages
Young wife and mother Jessica Fraser's life takes a dramatic turn when she is kidnapped and held in an upstairs room of a suburban house by two men and a woman who are demanding a huge ransom from her rich parents. After a failed escape attempt Jess cuts a hole in the bedroom floor with a stolen cutlery knife and from there she is able to covertly observe her three captors as they go about their daily routines. Her spying becomes an obsession as she draws her abductors into a dangerous psychological game.
I was asked to give feedback on this novel by one of our librarians as the author is local and a former member of our library reading group. I did find it something of a mixed bag in that the focus on Jess' incarceration did became somewhat repetitive in the middle section of the novel though did quite effectively create a claustrophobic atmosphere. Personally I find kidnapping and hostage themes in novels and other media uncomfortable and so a plot where the focus is upon the victim's situation was going to have limited appeal. However, I did feel Harwood took risks in terms of the novel's resolution and the final part was very startling and quite satisfying.
There was a sub-plot involving Jessica's visions of what she describes as people's 'inner toads' but I felt this was somewhat of a distraction as it was not really developed in terms of whether this was a symptom of a psychological promblem or whether she had some kind of psychic ability. Still while I have nothing against frogs and toads it did seem a strange type of visionary gift.
Author: Janet Evanovich, 2002.
Genre: Chick Lit Crime Fiction. Comedy/Drama.
Other Details: Unabridged Audio. (Length: 8hrs, 36 min ) Read by Lorelei King.
In this eighth outing for Stephanie she gets involved in a case on the request of her mother. A neighbour's granddaughter, Evelyn, and great-granddaughter, Anne, have gone missing and she has asked Stephanie to find them. The disappearance has also triggered a child custody bond with another bond agency. Stephanie agrees to help but soon finds herself being stalked by the sinister Eddie Abruzzi, who is Evelyn's landlord and also interested in her whereabouts.
Some very scary things happen in this novel and it does end on a darker note than the others. There are plenty of comic moments but I feared for Stephanie. Still with Book 19 out, I was somewhat more at ease with the plot line than if I had listened to it in 2002!