Sunday, 14 August 2011

Midsummer Murders

The Oxford Murders is a pretty basic thriller about a pair of mathematicians drawn into a serial killer's web after some corpses turn up with Pythagorean clues. There is so little here I began to think it was deliberately slight but regardless of the author's intentions the characters are paper thin, the plot simplistic and the denouement is way too obvious. I dunno, it's reasonably well written and there's a few interesting maths bits but with all in all it's as disposable and about as entertaining as a microwaveable meal.

On the other hand Ira Levin's A Kiss Before Dying is a masterful, noirish thriller about a college student desperate to marry into money and a life of privilege who turns homicidal after discovering his college girlfriend is pregnant and her rich father is on the verge of disowning her. The narrative is mostly told from the warped perspective of the killer as he carefully schemes his way to riches and Levin's skill shines throughout with well drawn characters and an exhilarating pacing of events culminating in a bitter, vengeful finale. Interestingly Levin also penned The Stepford Wives, Deathtrap and Rosemary's Baby so expect more reviews of his novels soon.

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