Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Thriller delivers

"In The Forest of Harm" by Sallie Bissell (ISBN 9780553801286) is a typical thriller. Which is not to say it's bad. Quite the contrary.

This novel delivered exactly what it said it would (how refreshing!).

"Forest" takes readers to the Smoky Mountains where Atlanta attorney Mary Crow and two girlfriends are enjoying a weekend getaway. Crow is returning to the area for the first time in the decades since her mother's brutal, still unsolved murder.

There's not a whole lot of character development. Everyone is pretty one-dimensional. Normally I find that a turnoff. But in this case (as in many thrillers), it works. This is not a psychological thriller. We are not meant to get inside either the killer or the victim's head. We are just along for the harrowing ride.

I have to say, the ending was not what I expected. Kudos to Bissell for not taking the obvious route.

"Forest" was published in 2001, and according to its jacket Bissell was going to continue the saga of some of the characters in a subsequent novel. I'll be sure to check it out.

- Tricia Ambrose

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