Saturday, May 2, 2009

Bad Things = Good Read

That's Bad Things by Michael Marshall, of course! Marshal, aka Michael Marshall Smith (aka MM Smith) is not new to the thriller game. In fact, he's been around since the late 90s. But it was the release of The Straw Men that caught my attention. 

Yep. Back in my bookseller days... No but really. I did come across him through my work. The Straw Men was published in 2002 and was followed in 2004 by The Upright Man (The Lonely Dead in the UK), and Blood of Angels in 2005. And, in a marketing campaign for Blood of Angels, the publisher sent out complimentary copies of Straw Men. Of course I had come across it at work, but I was on a measly college kid budget with a part time job. Fortunately he never fell through the cracks for me and this was an opportunity I was not going to pass up. 

Straw Men is a thriller with some strange leanings, I can tell you that much. And, Marshall's latest, Bad Things fits that mold as well. It makes it hard to classify what the book is -- is it thriller, is it horror, is it paranormal? I would say all three, but mainly thriller and all good.

Bad Things begins with the death of a four-year-old boy and then cuts to three years later. John Henderson is now living in Oregon and working as a waiter at a beach restaurant when he receives a mysterious phone call from a woman who claims to know what happened to his son. So John picks up for a quick trip back to the town where his life was changed forever. When he meets the woman, Ellen Robertson, she is evasive and paranoid, giving him confusing information in almost riddle form. It's not until much later that John realizes that Ellen is in grave danger and that poking around in her troubles will lead to more of his own. The town of Black Ridge, Washington is about to reveal its secrets and John would be better off far away when it happens. 

Bad Things is everything you want in a thriller. It's captivating and keeps you turning pages long after you know you should be in bed. I am amazed that Marshall has yet to explode into the bestseller world. He belongs there, without a doubt. Check him out if you don't believe me. Other recent releases are The Intruders (2007) and The Servants (2007). For a complete list of his works, including his many short stories, check here and for insight into what makes the author tick, visit his blog here

Readers looking for a book that will keep them up all night should check this one out. Think Harlan Coben or Jeffery Deaver (two authors known for keeping me up late) with a twisted horror-like spin. 

1 comment:

Vickie said...

I have got to go upstairs now and look for STRAWMEN.