The Day Of The Jackal by Frederick Forsythe is one of my top ten favorite thriller novels. This is one of the rare moments in film where the movie is equally, if not better than the novel.
The Day Of The Jackal is a brilliant and exciting historical fiction thriller. The premise is plausible – a recounting of actual assassination attempts on French President Charles De Gaulle by the French terrorist group,the OAS. Government officials discover that the OAS hired a foreigner (The Jackal) to assassinate De Gaulle.
Using the third-person omniscient form, Forsyth takes us into the minds and actions of the plotters, the police, and the Jackal. What makes this novel a shining star is Forsyth’s vivid descriptions of typically routine daily police work: checking records, passport photos, questioning hotel clerks, setting up road blocks, etc.
The reader follows the Jackal step by step as he arranges the creation of false identities, the design and production of the perfect weapon, extensively studies de Gaulle, selects the perfect time and place for the kill, and identifies his escape route. Forsythe keeps the reader entertained with his intricate details and clever plotting. The end result is a novel that is suspenseful, engaging and exciting.
Capote’s poetic writing style immediately draws the reader into the brutal murder of the Cutter family. The story is written in an intense and nonlinear style. At moments, I became so immersed that I almost forgot it was a real crime story. Capote was the first author to write a nonfiction book in a novelistic style which paved the way for the “true crime” genre. He explores the vast spectrum of emotions throughout the horrific events of November 15th, 1959 and the turbulent years afterwards. Capote represents Smith and Hickock with humanistic qualities when he portrays them as “troubled, confused young men”, compared to public”s view as cold-hearted killers. His compassionate writing about the killers fascinated and terrified me simultaneously. This sad, gruesome story captivated me from the beginning to the end, and will stay with me for a very long time.
Today’s prompt for the A to Z challenge is the letter “B”. I’m reviewing the 1970’s thriller,”The Boys from Brazil” by Ira Levin.
Ira Levin blends the elements of sci-fi with the vile intentions of an evil Nazi Doctor who intends to recreate a Fourth Reich. Dr. Joseph Mengele, director of the human experiments at Auschwitz during WW II, hatches a plot to bring back a new and improved “Fourth Reich”. Using a plan to clone Hitler’s genes, Mengele positions the young Hitler’s in locations throughout the world, in families like Hitler’s own, with the intention that of one of the boys will grow up to become a “new” Hitler. (At the time of the publication of this book, Mengele was still alive and hiding out in South America.) Meanwhile, the aging Nazi hunter Franz Lieberman uncovers the plot, working against time constraints, Nazi hit men and the fractured mindset of Dr. Mengele to stop the scheme in its infancy.
The idea of extracting genes to create clones seemed far-fetched back in the 1970’s. Today, genetic cloning is a common practice. It’s a chilling thought that a person with malicious intentions could perhaps wreak havoc with the human race. With sharp dialogue and increasing drama, this fast paced thriller will keep you on the edge of your seat until the end.
Hello folks… after a few months hiatus, I’m finally back to blogging. During April, along with my usual book reviews, I’m participating in the “A to Z Challenge”, which involves writing daily on my blog, using the theme “A-Z”. Since thrillers are one of my favorite genres, I’m will be writing a daily review of my favorite thriller novels, from A to Z. So here we go…
The Alienist is an intriguing historical thriller with a perfect blend of mystery and horror. Set in the 1896 New York City, Caleb Carr pits the new phenomenon of the serial killer against the precursors of criminal profiling in this fast paced novel. What is an alienist? Before the twentieth century, the alienation of the mentally ill from society was common. An alienist is someone who studied the pathology of mental illness, what we now call Psychiatrists. The plot centers around three friends: a journalist, John Moore; an alienist, Dr.Lazlo Kreizler; and a newly appointed Police Commissioner, Teddy Roosevelt (yes, the one who becomes president later on.) The trio are working to solve a series of brutal murders that involves a string of boy prostitutes. A reform-minded Theodore Roosevelt appoints Dr. Kreizler to head the investigation into the murders. Kreizler creates a team of investigators who gather a “criminal profile” using psychological and material evidence of the killer. Narrated by John Schuyler Moore, a wealthy journalist and friend of Roosevelt from his days at Yale, chronicles his inclusion to the team. As the story develops, the complex twists and turns change nearly as quick as the investigators can gather information. Despite Roosevelt’s difficulty in finding the serial killer, he’s determined to not only solve the murders, but also clean up the NYPD as well. The prevailing arrogant attitude of the public consider the murder investigations to be unneccessary, as the murder victims are merely prostitutes. Kreizler faces challenges from all sides: notorious proponents of morality are unwilling to accept the existence of boy prostitutes (or any form of homosexual trade) and policemen are vehemently against any form of scientific inquiry into the criminal mind. The tension builds as the accumulation of the serial killer’s history, pathology and motivations come to light. In the end, the lengthy explanations of the killer’s motives became tedious. Despite this tiny flaw, the book was fabulous.