Thursday, March 3, 2011

Simon Kernick's five favorite thrillers

British thriller writer Simon Kernick talked to Daisy Banks of FiveBooks about a few favorite thrillers, including:
Gone Baby Gone by Dennis Lehane

Your final book is Gone Baby Gone by Dennis Lehane.

I love this book; this really is a thriller, and a beautifully written one. For me, Dennis Lehane is one of the best American thriller writers alive today. This is one of his early books from his Kenzie and Gennaro series – a male and female partnership of private investigators based in Boston. He wrote five books featuring them in the 1990s.

They are very much fast paced books with a lot of action. Gone Baby Gone is the fourth in the series and to me the best. They made it into a film which had great reviews. It’s about the disappearance of a four-year-old girl who’s abducted from a house without a trace. After the police search reveals nothing her uncle and aunt hire Kenzie and Gennaro to try and find the little girl. It all takes place over about a year but the tension is really built up. Another child goes missing in similar circumstances a few months later, and after this things move very rapidly.

Kenzie and Gennaro end up uncovering both worrying police corruption, and a ruthless nest of paedophiles. What Lehane does well is move the plot along but not always in a straight line. Kenzie and Gennaro end up involved in very different investigations as part of their search for the little girl. There is one superb action scene which is the best action scene I have ever read. I won’t go into too much detail but it takes place in the middle of the book and the tension and the way it is put together is amazing. You have a heart-stopping 25-page scene in this old dark house, and you just have to read the book to appreciate how good it is.

It’s also a very moving book. I won’t say what happens, but at the end, Patrick Kenzie has to make a huge decision, and as a reader you are desperate for him to make the right one – so much so that I actually found myself shouting at the book! This is what Lehane can do; he can drag you into the book so it feels almost like a true story, and you are desperate for justice to be done. For me, Gone Baby Gone ticks all the boxes. It’s brilliantly written, with a brilliant, twisting plot, and superb characterisation. I have read it about three times, and it is probably due another outing.
Read about the other books on Kernick's list.

Gone, Baby, Gone is one of Irvine Welsh's 5 best crime novels.

--Marshal Zeringue