Do you ever pick up a thriller novel and just know you’re going to love it? That’s what happened to me recently. I was browsing at the library looking for a copy of Jane Harper’s, The Lost Man. I’m a big fan of Ms. Harper’s, as you might remember from this post and this Thriller Book Recommendation segment.
Instead, I took home a copy of Elly Griffith’s novel, The Stranger Diaries. It was love at first read as I skimmed the dust jacket cover which used descriptive words like, “Gothic,” and “mysterious,” and “literary”. What a treat this book was! Suspense novels like this don’t come along often enough.
The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths
You know those books that you read but feel you’re constantly telling yourself, “Slow down! Take your time. Make it last.” This is one of those novels. You’ll be so captivated by the story that you’ll find yourself busily reading away, paying no attention to the clock or your watch or the little alarm you set on your phone (*ahem).
On the other hand, you want to figure out what’s happened and who is behind it all, so you’ll keep reading faster and faster…
The premise of The Stranger Diaries is this: an English teacher at a local high school in England turns up dead. A note found by the murdered woman’s body indicates that the death was related to a piece of Gothic literature, by a famous writer named R.M. Holland. The same writer, it turns out, who used to live in the building which now houses the school. Soon the dead woman’s co-worker, Clare, fears for her own life. It’s easy to see why as more and more people around her are hunted by the killer.
If you’re a fan of the “slow burn” type of thriller novel, then I highly recommend The Stranger Diaries. It’s loaded with atmospheric Gothic details (candles, wind moaning, thunderstorms, strange flickering lights in the night), well-rounded characters and an intriguing subplot that includes the missing (perhaps murdered?) daughter of the famous writer, R.M. Holland.
In my own writing world, things are growing quickly. An apt description as I look out the window and see the newly-sprouted grass and leaves. I have just finished the first of several edits on the third book in the “Monsters in the Green Mountain” series. It has a working title of Under the Mountain and features a very large and carnivorous snake.
The fourth book in the same series is in first draft form and nearly finished and is so far untitled.
I’ve noticed a big difference in the speed of my writing and the flow of ideas since committing to fiction writing at least five days a week for a minimum of 1500 words each session. It seems the more I write, the more the ideas come to me…which is great! The downside is that editing takes me such a long time because my first drafts are very messy.
Expect to see a new novel in the “Monsters in the Green Mountains” series late summer or early fall. Cover reveal will be coming soon!
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