I’ve been reading a bit on the dark side lately. One book was a true crime book, one a mystery by a favorite French author and the last is being called a “breakthrough” novel by an American author known for dark, twisted tales.
People Who Eat Darkness: The Fate of Lucie Blackman by Richard Lloyd Parry. From my TBR pile.
I read about this one in the British press a while back and was so intrigued I ordered it from the Book Depository. The story of the disappearance and murder of of Lucie Blackman, a twenty-one year old British citizen and former flight attendant, was front page news in Japan and around the world. The solving of that crime is a tale built of a combination of incompetence, willful ignorance and cultural crossed wires.
Richard Parry is a bureau chief for the Times of London, based in Tokyo. He has written a masterful book.
An Uncertain Place by Fred Vargas, translated from the French by Sian Reynolds. Borrowed from my local library.
I’ve been enamored of Northern European mystery authors for a while. Henning Mankell, Sjöwall and Wahlöö, Karen Fossem, Arnaldur Indridason. I could go on. When I discovered Fred Vargas several years ago I was delighted by her novels and didn’t understand why she hadn’t become an international phenomenon.
Commissaire Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg and his team of quirky detectives get handed all kinds of bizarre cases. The newest one involves a grotesquely mutilated murder victim. If this series intrigues you I’d suggest starting with the first book, The Chalk Circle Man, which was translated into English after several of the others.
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. Borrowed from my local library.
I read Flynn’s earlier works and was surprised at myself for enjoying them so. Sharp Objects and Dark Places are both deal with dark themes, violence, dysfunctional families, serial killers. Gone Girl is the story of a marriage gone wrong, and then some. Flynn’s portrayal of her protagonists, and the lengths they go to creating and compartmentalizing their different personas, is nothing short of amazing.
All Flynn’s books take serious jabs at the media, celebrity and American pop culture, which is fascinating because she work as a reporter for Entertainment Weekly for 10 years.
Have you read any books on the dark side lately?