This seductive psychological thriller by Esther Verhoef (translated from the Dutch by Paul Vincent) begins with an icy, sociopathic voice describing a carefully calculated murder.
While the bath was filling up, my eye fell on the razor in its case. Not the disposable kind, but a handmade cutthroat razor, the sort you sometimes see in Italian barber shops, extremely sharp. My heart skipped a beat, such was the feeling the sharp razor awakened in me and the ideas—new ideas—that occurred to me. Then I shook my head. No. Stick to the plan. No improvisations. There’s always a next time.
With the promise of “a next time,” a nasty little ball is set in motion and the reader begins to squirm.
Verhoef switches to a first person narrative of her heroine, Margot, a lonely, insecure young woman trying to shake the memory of a relationship gone bad.
Verhoef cunningly draws us in close to Margo until we begin to share her vulnerability. We’re ultimately seduced by a growing sense of menace when she travels to London for a weekend getaway.
Be warned, there’s an undertow just below the surface of the text. Its inherent, erotic creepiness reminds me of Derek Marlowe’s haunting novel Nightshade.
CLICK HERE to order the book on Amazon.
Close-Up is published by Felony & Mayhem in their superb “Foreign” series, which offers American readers the opportunity to discover an unfamiliar realm of mysteries.
Founded by Maggie Topkis, Felony & Mayhem Press is a house to keep your eye on. Although the publisher’s web site is in the process of renovation, if you stop by now you can enter your e-mail address and they’ll keep you “clued in.” CLICK HERE
[NOTE TO MAGGIE TOPKIS: Marlowe’s book has been out of print for many years and would make a wonderful addition to your list.]