I’m fairly certain I can count on one hand how many thrillers I’ve read in the past year or so. I’ve been so caught up in the world of horror fiction that I haven’t strayed much with my reading choices for a while, but I do enjoy a good crime thriller here and there, especially when the story contains elements of horror. Recently I discovered such a book, when I began reading BAD PEOPLE.
First off, I have to say that while I “see” most stories in my mind as I’m reading, there are certain books that just beg to be adapted to film or television, and this is one of them. Reading this story was like watching a great movie—there are certain scenes burned onto my brain because the descriptions were so vivid. The story starts out rather calm as we’re introduced to some key characters, and I’d say that the first half is a slow burn, but in the best way possible. The author did a great job laying the groundwork with the main character’s background, and the setting itself played a strong role in the dark and moody atmosphere. For the first half of the book, it felt like there were storm clouds hanging overhead, slowly brewing something ominous—and then the downpour was unleashed in the second half. At this point I felt the tension and terror intensify, and I couldn’t put it down.
The character development in this story is well-done. I felt like I had a good sense of who the main players were (despite some surprises), and I got to know them without ever feeling like there was too much information. I grew attached to a couple of the characters and felt a lot of empathy for them. In my opinion, this is one of those books in which there are no wasted words. There were moments in which I actually felt frightened (which doesn’t happen to me often), and just some very cinematic and gruesome scenes that I won’t ever forget. I’d like to keep this spoiler free, so I’ll limit myself to a few other thoughts.
When I thought I knew what was happening earlier on in the story, this one kept me guessing. I loved that it kept me on my toes as a reader, and I appreciated the dark and moody vibe that I felt throughout this book. It’s very much a unique story, but as I watched it play out in my mind, it reminded me of how I felt watching some favorite crime thrillers on television (Season One of True Detective came to mind, as did The Killing). There are some supernatural and religious/cultish themes in this story, and I really enjoyed that aspect as well.
Like I mentioned before, it’s been awhile since I’ve read a thriller, and this one was a perfect selection. I did have a few questions at the end, and I just found out today that there will be a sequel coming in the near future. I’ll be on the lookout for the continuation of this story, while also keeping my fingers crossed that we’ll someday see a screen adaptation. This one ranks fairly high for me—I’d gladly place a hard copy on my shelf next to the likes of some other favorite thrillers, by authors such as Gillian Flynn, Dennis Lehane, and Graham Masterton. While I await the sequel, I’ll be seeking out more of Craig Wallwork’s stories to add to my shelf.