Saturday, March 10, 2012

The basement: a novel by Stephen Leather

Marvin Waller is a screenwriter who writes the most amazing screenplays, and the only thing stopping him from reaching star status is the secretaries and flunkies of directors and actors who won't pass along his brilliant scripts and ideas - or at least that's how he sees it.  He lives in the hustle and bustle of New York, the place where a serial killer can easily hide their murders in the sheer number of people living there, and where a scriptwriter with dreams can bump into directors and actors by waiting outside their buildings at just the right time. 

It is a bad time to be a screenwriter with stalking tendencies, there is a serial killer loose in New York, a killer who targets women and tapes them doing all sorts of things, and the bodies are never found.  Detectives Turner and Marcinko are on the case and unfortunately for Waller he matches their profile for the killer - matches it a little too well for anybody to be comfortable.  As he plays a games of cat and mouse with the detectives, pushing their patience to the limits, the killer plays with their latest victim, a victim in a long line of victims.  Will the police find the killer in time, or has the killer been leading them on a merry dance?

This was quite a quick read, over and done in an afternoon, but it was a really good read.  The story is sharply focused and moves at a rapid pace, keeping you hooked from page one.  Waller is an engaging character, although at times you feel like yelling at him or slapping him because he is so arrogant and self assured, and the tension between the detectives and Waller builds beautifully over the course of the novel.  Some of the content is a little uncomfortable making, not because it is explicitly violent or has gratuitous elements, but because in a lot of ways being kidnapped and forced to do things in this manner is pretty anyones worst nightmare.  I won't ruin the ending for any of you but lets just say the novel climaxes on an amazing note.

If you like this book then try:
  • The postcard killers by James Patterson and Liza Marklund
  • Level 26: Dark origins by Anthony E. Zuiker and Duane Swierczynski
  • The swimsuit by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
  • Darkly dreaming Dexter by Jeffry Lindsay
  • The silence of the lambs by Thomas Harris
  • Nightfall by Stepeh Leather

Reviewed by Brilla

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