Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Author debut: Mania, by Craig Larsen
To make this whole thing perfectly fair, the author contacted me (via goodreads) and asked me if I'd like to read a copy of his book. I didn't turn him down. I also told him that I'd review it here -- I don't believe a solicitation was made on his end. As it turns out, this one I happened to like, and I am not just saying that because he sent me a copy. I'm a picky enough reader that I'm out of the habit of accepting just any book from anyone. Trust me. I have a pile of ARCs sitting on the floor of my closet that I started to read and put down because they were sooooo bad that I couldn't make it past the first chapter. But that's not the case here.
When I read a suspense/mystery novel, I know I'm into it and liking it when the author keeps me in a state of suspended tension throughout the book. Mania had me so wrapped up that I started it shortly after dinner and didn't stop reading it until I had finished.
Actually, I thought this book was quite a fun read, and consider that this isn't my usual fare, I think that says a lot.
The main character, Nick Wilder, is a photographer for the Seattle Telegraph, and is generally on hand to collect shots other papers can't get. He was young when his parents died, and came to depend on his brother Sam, with whom he has always been very close. One night after he and Sam were together in downtown Seattle, Nick and Sam are attacked by a rough-looking homeless man. Nick comes out of it with a few injuries, but Sam is dead, Nick's a bit cloudy on what exactly happened, and as you go through the book, he continues to flash back on that episode, as well as others that haunt him. Nick's girlfriend Sara tries to ease his fears but he's still uneasy. There's much more to the novel, but it's hard to summarize without giving away the show.
The dark atmosphere of this novel is reflective of Nick's internal darkness throughout. The author's writing and the level of suspense he creates will keep you reading. It was fun as a reader to try and piece together events playing out in Nick's mind while trying to figure out what's really going on. Don't let the flashbacks and returns to the present bother you -- they're necessary to the overall story and the author pulls it off so you shouldn't be confused, although this issue of the flashbacks was what most reviewers tended to complain about. I see that a lot in books with flashbacks -- it's like for some people if the narrative isn't completely linear, they get easily confused.
Overall, a fun read that I can recommend to suspense & mystery readers.
I can highly recommend this novel. If you like to read suspense or mysteries, this book is one you should not miss.