T.W. Ellis (Hachette Australia) 2020, 374pp, RRP: Paperback $29.99
T.W. Ellis – a.k.a. Tom Wood, creator of the popular ‘Victor novels’ – here offers his first standalone psychological thriller, and it’s very readable, despite more than a few glimmers of absurdity.
Mostly taking place over an extremely eventful 24 hour period, this still features a little padding, notable slowing down of time so characters can ponder at length about possible dangerous actions (although in actuality they’d have mere seconds), and a problematic protagonist who needs to be nudged along to make it all work.
Yoga teacher Jem lives in a smalltown American suburb with her husband Leo and, regardless of their seeming longtime happiness together, she’s dealing with significant anxiety issues. Book dealer Leo conveniently sets off on a business trip, and shortly afterwards there’s a knock at the door (as the title suggests) and Jem is confronted by a pair of FBI agents, who just about demand to be let inside to discuss something that’s sure to make the narrative properly kick off.
When Jem eventually makes her escape, she virtually runs into Trevor, a cranky conspiracy theorist and doomsday prepper who, as luck would have it, is then perpetually on hand to help her out of one scrape after another. He’s something of a plot device, for sure, although he’s matched by the realism-stretching local Chief of Police, a chunky, obsessive, recreational-marijuana-using lady named, of all things, Rusty (!).
Trevor and Rusty are present pretty much solely to assist Jem, over and over again, as she dashes from one dubious predicament to another, and if you can see past how notably thin their characterisations are, you should be able to enjoy the multiple twists and turns.
Yet another of those many page-turners where you can’t divulge much of the storyline for fear of spoiler-ising, this is certainly fun enough.
And preposterous too.
This title is available through the Hachette Australia website. Click HERE to purchase your copy.