Books such as Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train have taught us to second guess thrillers and expect seismic twists. Is a new technique to write in the style of the aforementioned books; but then not deliver the expected twist and that in itself becomes the shocker? We have learnt not to accept at face value. I look for characters that are not central to the story, but mentioned a lot; thinking it they will turn out to be the ‘one who did it’. However a few books in the last couple of months have fooled me.
SPOILER alert for Shari Lapena’s: The couple next door / A stranger in the house and Leila Slimani’s Lullaby aka as Perfect Nanny.
Shari Lapena: The couple next door \ A Stranger in the house
In The couple next door, my suspicions were on the psychologist. Midway through it was revealed the Father paid someone to kidnap the baby, yet as partway through you expected, a twist but at the end the story was still the same albeit it smaller twists and turns as led through aftermath of kidnapping.
In a Stranger in the house, it was patently obvious the neighbour had been sneaking, into the house. I thought it was going to turn out that it was the neighbour, who shot, the man. However, at the end it is still Karen who shot the man then crashed her car. The book is more about why than who. Of course the neighbour was a witness to the shooting and Karen is a fake identity so still a rich plot.
Leila Slimani: Lullaby / Perfect Nanny
When I read this it was called Lullaby but apparently, it is also called Perfect Nanny.
The suggestion is always that the nanny has killed the children. It is never completely clear,whether this is the case. At the back of my book there were literally some blank pages, so it was not obvious that was so close to the end. It is unclear whether it was the children’s Mother the nanny or perhaps as I suspected the nanny’s daughter? It was also unclear as to what nanny’s motives may have been for the way she behaved, whether or not she killed the children. In a way it is quite realistic as often the reasons for someone’s behaviour are complex.
These types of books that do not reveal ‘who did it’ can still be quite thrilling.