Thursday, August 26, 2010

Five classic chase stories

Louise Bagshawe is the author of twelve bestselling novels and a Conservative MP for Corby and East Northamptonshire.

One classic chase story she discussed with Anna Blundy at FiveBooks:
The Pelican Brief by John Grisham

Tell me why you like The Pelican Brief.

This was probably the last book I read where I literally stayed up until three o’clock in the morning because I could not stop reading it. I just think it is such a brilliant fast-paced story. The characterisation is sparse, terse, but nevertheless really well-drawn. He doesn’t do psychology but it’s a chase story with an ongoing mystery in the back. As an example of popular fiction I don’t think you can do any better. It starts slowly, but after about chapter three you’re hooked. A perfect example of how to do a chase story. There are some love elements, but very little. It is essentially about this girl – will she solve the mystery, expose the villain and get away with her life?

Give me a brief plot outline.

A supreme court justice is murdered. Nobody knows why. A beautiful young law student comes up with an off-beat theory that she gives to her professor. The professor is then assassinated and it becomes clear to her that they weren’t after him, they were after her. She goes on the run and the professor’s best friend tries to protect her. And in the end he also gets killed. We see the chase from the point of view of the villain, the best friend, the supreme court justice, the heroine. Point of view jumps around a lot and the story is constantly moving.
Read about another book on Bagshawe's list.

--Marshal Zeringue