Monday, June 03, 2019

Top ten slow-burn thrillers

USA Today bestselling author Charlie Donlea was born and raised in Chicago. He now lives in the suburbs with his wife and two young children. His latest novel is Some Choose Darkness.
At the heart of every great thriller is an unforgettable climax, [Donlea writes at CrimeReads]. This pinnacle moment in a thriller is what defines the genre. It’s where the action takes place, where the reveal is laid bare, and where the twist is sprung on us. But there is an art to creating the climax.... Before the best reveals, in front of the most stunning twists, and ahead of the greatest unveilings of a killer’s identity, is a staircase. Climbing it is where the real fun happens, because it is with each successive step up this staircase where readers find the suspense in a thriller.
One of the author's ten best slow-burn thrillers:
Defending Jacob by William Landay

Defending Jacob tells the story of an Assistant District Attorney whose son, Jacob, is accused of murder after a classmate is stabbed to death. Of course, no parent can believe their child capable of such a crime. Jacob is odd and quirky, socially inept and reserved, but he’s not a killer. Soon, though, evidence to the contrary emerges, and Jacob’s father finds himself hiding a knife he discovers in his son’s bedroom. When the town begins to turn on Jacob, and his mother’s faith is tested, the family escapes to the Caribbean to get away from the media attention and attempt to rebuild their trust in each other.

The events that take place in Jamaica start the reader up the staircase, and the disturbing truths we learn bring this story to a book-throwing, gotta-take-a-break point. But the narrative beckons us to continue, and so we do, racing up the stairs but stumbling, too, because we can’t believe what we’re reading.

Staircase level: Steep
Read about another entry on the list.

Defending Jacob is among Alafair Burke's six top legal fiction / domestic suspense hybrids, Kate Moretti's eight suspense novels that explore nurture vs. nature and Nicholas Sparks' six top books about family.

The Page 69 Test: Defending Jacob.

--Marshal Zeringue