Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Suspicion torments my heart

One of my favorite crime thriller writers is Thomas H Cook. He isn't flashy, but he keeps churning out these meditations on the long term, emotional effects of the impacts of crime. I may have read his best, the Chatham School Affair, first. The ones I have read since are good, but not quite at the same level. The latest though, is the best I have read since.

Red Leaves is short and begins with someone looking over family portraits, rarely a good sign in crime novels. The main character Eric Moore is trying to get a sense of what happened to his family. The bad news all started the day after his teenage son returned late from babysitting a young girl named Amy. The next day, Amy's parents call looking for her, as she has disappeared. As the days grow, suspicions grow and relationships fracture. The conclusion is tragic in a typical Cook way, which is to say a sense of waste and regret hangs over it.

This one is shorter and tighter than some of his other books, so you can blow right through it. The characters are all so flawed and the overall feeling so sad, that this is probably for the best.

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