It’s really difficult to judge if a book will be any good by other peoples reviews unless you really know them personally, however you can usually judge them well in the Guardian, and this is one of those very books.
Hoags’ style is short and abrupt. He doesn’t pull any punches and when you’re dealing with a book concerning a highly intelligent and manipulative serial killer who burns his victims after hours of torture, you know it’s going to be a rough read.
The great thing about his writing is it is so natural to read. I didn’t get the impression that I was reading an outsiders view on the characters, more the characters themselves. Their thoughts and language was accessible and immediately seemed right for each of them.
Okay, there were a couple of stereotypical characters and situations, the ending partly annoyed me although it made perfect sense when I finished it, and again it seemed just right for the characters. Just not what I thought I was going to get.
The characters are well written, and although we don’t tend to learn too much about those on the periphery, we find out enough that doesn’t make them seem like distractions from the main event. In so many novels I’ve guessed the character who did it well before the end of the book, but here I was genuinely confused. I found myself thinking one, then the other, then not believing which one was right until it was made quite clear. That’s what a thriller should be.
With magnetic characters, and an excellently crafted thriller, you’ll be drawn in to the book and wanting to find out who is the killer right to the closing chapters. Then you’ll be strung out as to what really happens.
An excellent read, and a sure sign that I shall visit more Hoag before long.