‘Cause this is Thriller – The Other Typist and Before I Go to Sleep

By simple chance, I happened to read these books back-to-back, and found them to be uncannily similar.

The idea of a thriller is that it should be thrilling, (tautology?) The Other Typist, an homage to The Great Gatsby and the Roaring Twenties certainly delivered a satisfying ending, revealing the climax of Rose Baker’s obsession with “The Other Typist” at the police station, Odalie. The only problem that I had with The Other Typist was the pacing. While the language and attitude captured New York City of the 1920’s extremely well, the flow of the novel made the reading, well, non-thrilling.

I understand that a thriller often needs a slow burn, but it wasn’t until around page 338 of 353 that I understand the deviousness of Rindell’s project, and the novel really starts to boil. The slow simmer does not exactly spill over into thrilling. I understand the idea of psychological suspense, but the fun of reading a book is that a reveal can still illuminate an edge-of-your-seat good time. The author surely does not want to show all of their cards too soon, but in the case, I might have wanted to see the trump a little bit sooner.

In contrast, Before I Go to Sleep comes roaring out of the gate, and presents an unreliable female narrator of its own in Christine Lucas, a woman with amnesia who cannot tell whom to trust. Watson makes a fascinating choice to narrate as a woman, and more so, a physically and psychologically damaged woman. Before I Go to Sleep also featured the slow play, and while the cards took a while to fall to the table, the burn felt more immediate. I was hooked from the start, and tore through the pages of the book. Even though the conclusion was satisfying and perfectly illuminated the previous pages, I felt like the ending was too sleek, and the author clearly held his cards close to chest. The manipulation was clear the whole way, the con evident, and despite falling for it, I couldn’t help feel like I was hoping for one final trick up the author’s sleeve.

This sleight of hand is going to somehow translate into a movie, with Nicole Kidman somehow trying to pull of the role of a 47-year-old English woman, (talk about a magic trick), along with a likely similar miscast Colin Firth as her husband, Ben.

Though I somewhat enjoy the feeling of being manipulated in book form, (in essence, all reading is placing your trust in the hands of a skilled author and allowing a manipulation), The Other Typist and Before I Go to Sleep may lead me to a novel that pulls off the extremely difficult feat with ease. I want to find a book that tricks me every step of the way, but leaves a great sense of comfort and trust that allows me to fall under its spell.

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