Friday, December 4, 2020

Five of the best open-ended novels

Caz Frear grew up in Coventry, England, and spent her teenage years dreaming of moving to London and writing a novel. After fulfilling her first dream, it wasn’t until she moved back to Coventry thirteen years later that the second finally came true. She has a degree in History & Politics, and when she’s not agonizing over snappy dialogue or incisive prose, she can be found shouting at Arsenal football matches or holding court in the pub on topics she knows nothing about. She is the author of three Cat Kinsella novels: Sweet Little Lies, Stone Cold Heart, and Shed No Tears.

[The Page 69 Test: Sweet Little Lies; The Page 69 Test: Stone Cold Heart.]

At CrimeReads, Frear tagged five of her favorite novels with ambiguous endings, including:
Black and Blue, Ian Rankin

Black and Blue, the eighth in Rankin’s Rebus series, is often considered his breakout novel. It is arguably his most ambitious too. This is a long and brilliantly complex read, with four separate plots spanning the length and breadth of Scotland—the main focus being the investigation into a copycat killer, Johnny Bible, which puts Rebus on the tail of the original Bible John (a real serial killer who terrorized Glasgow in the 1960s).

As Black and Blue forms part of a series, the open ending is probably a little less controversial. After all, police procedural fans expect—and love—to follow long-running threads and character arcs. However, the ending here isn’t just a cliff-hanger, designed to bring readers back for the next installment. It feels more meaningful than this. It’s a reminder that life isn’t always fair. Justice isn’t always served. And that stories don’t always need to be tied up with a nice neat bow.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Black and Blue is among Joseph Knox's four top novels for crime lovers. Euan Ferguson called it Rankin's finest book and put John Rebus on his list of the ten best fictional sleuths; it is one of the ten most popular Scottish novels of the last 50 years.

--Marshal Zeringue