N.J. Fountain (Hachette Australia) 2016, 393pp, RRP $29.99

The first novel from Fountain (best-known until now as a comedy writer) is a vividly realised thriller that benefits greatly from its unusual plot, Pain Killer - N. J. Fountain - Hachette - The Clotheslinealthough after a while it’s hard not to feel almost as awful, at times, as its protagonist (in sympathy, of course).

Monica suffers from chronic neuropathic pain after an accident some years before, and much of her life is spent in sheer agony as her ‘Angry Friend’ makes his presence felt (and yes, we feel him too). When she finds what seems to be a suicide note written by her and demands that her long-suffering husband tell her if and when she wrote it, this sets into motion a plot in which every other character is a suspect and wherein you can’t trust anything – even the narrator.

Another hard one to discuss without somewhat giving the game away, this is very readable and positively page-turning at times, even if (like a lot of psycho-thrillers) it’s more than a little tough to believe some of the plot quirks necessary to make the whole thing tick. But, well, even so, OUCH!!!

Dave Bradley

This title is available through the Hachette website. Click HERE to purchase your copy.

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