Monday, June 3, 2019

Ten top slow-burn thrillers

USA Today bestselling author Charlie Donlea was born and raised in Chicago. He now lives in the suburbs with his wife and two young children. His latest novel is Some Choose Darkness.
At the heart of every great thriller is an unforgettable climax, [Donlea writes at CrimeReads]. This pinnacle moment in a thriller is what defines the genre. It’s where the action takes place, where the reveal is laid bare, and where the twist is sprung on us. But there is an art to creating the climax.... Before the best reveals, in front of the most stunning twists, and ahead of the greatest unveilings of a killer’s identity, is a staircase. Climbing it is where the real fun happens, because it is with each successive step up this staircase where readers find the suspense in a thriller.
One of the author's ten best slow-burn thrillers:
Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazell

Josh Bazell was offered a million dollar advance for his debut novel, and it’s not hard to see why. Beat the Reaper tells the story of Peter Brown, a New York doctor with good looks, a talent for saving lives, and a buried past he’d like to keep underground. Dr. Brown’s new patient is Nicholas LoBrutto, a mafia wiseguy with three months to live. But Mr. LoBrutto is not entirely without his wits. It seems he recognizes Peter from back in the day and believes that before his doctor was saving lives, he was ending them as a hitman for the mob.

The genius of Bazell’s novel doesn’t come from Peter going on the run, the chase scenes, or the shark tank where Peter spends an entire night fending off dorsal fins and jagged teeth. Instead, the white-knuckled reading comes from the slow building tension of Dr. Brown’s identity becoming known to those who’d rather see him dead than benefit from his life-saving abilities.

Staircase level: Extreme
Read about the other entries on the list at CrimeReads.

The Page 69 Test: Beat the Reaper.

--Marshal Zeringue