This week, I’m reading two thrillers about dangerous women. One has been on my TBR list since it was published in 2018. One was published last month and is the sequel to one of my Best Reads from last summer.
In both books, the main character is a woman who is not what she appears to be. One is hiding her true self while she plots revenge. The other admits to being a sociopath (don’t say that like it’s a bad thing) but isn’t going to share what does with her more lethal impulses. Both women are strong, dangerous and determined to choose their own paths.
‘Jane Doe’ by Victoria Helen Stone (2018)
I was intrigued by the idea that the most notable book by a successful romance writer who has relaunched herself as a thriller writer should be about elaborate, carefully calculated and remorselessly executed revenge.
I’m already smiling at the channelling the controlled rage against a man who deserves it. Like a romance novel, this book is about passion and commitment and overcoming all the obstacles that stand between you and what you desire except, this time, the driver is love and lust but a bone-deep hatred and an insatiable rage. That’s a trope twist I think I’ll enjoy.
‘What Can’t Be Seen‘ by Brianna Labuskes (2022)
This is my third Brianna Labuskes book. She’s now on my read-whatever-she-writes list. I was initially hooked by ‘Her Final Words‘, a tightly plotted and tensely told mystery about an FBI agent’s investigation into the murder of a little boy in rural Idaho. It kept me guessing and gave me a strong sense of a place and its people.
When I picked up her next book, ‘A Familiar Sight’ I lost myself in it for an entire weekend, during which I became fascinated by Dr Gretchen White and the relationship she builds with the detective assigned to ‘babysit’ her as she helps police investigate a crime. Gretchen thinks differently from what she calls ’empaths’ and most of us call ‘normal people’. She’s good at reading power and politics but poor at reading some emotions. She controls her violent impulses, most of the time. She enjoys taking risks and pushing people’s buttons. Getting a close-up view of the recently killed is a bonus but what she most needs is to know what happened.
I’m hoping that ‘What Can’t Be Seen’, which delves into Gretchen’s past and potentially lines her up as a murderer, will also grab me and not let go. Frankly, even if Gretchen did kill someone, I’m sure she had her reasons and I hope she gets away with it.