Here’s the thing. I have yet to find a thriller that is actually well written. Instead of detailed, nuanced character development and beautifully constructed sentences, it seems that most of the thriller-esque novels I read depend entirely on the whiz bang elements of the plot. Who needs finesse as long as you keep the reader turning the pages?
I found Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson to fall into a lot of the thriller novel traps. In the novel, Christine has had her memory wiped from some horrible accident. Every day when she wakes up she can’t remember anything that’s happened since she was in her early 20’s. With a mysterious doctor’s help, she keeps a journal to try to piece together her past, and GASP THINGS ARE NOT AS THEY SEEM GASP!
The entire premise gives Watson a lot of freedom to have plot points not quite add up, since the reader has the most unreliable, amnesiac narrator ever. Who’s to say things don’t make sense? Maybe Christine just forgot something! Duh!
Also, there is so little character development since Christine can’t remember the people from day to day. Christine barely remembers herself, so I found that I hardly even cared about the central narrator. So yes, there’s an explanation/excuse for this kind of lazy writing, but that doesn’t make it that much more enjoyable to read. Although the plot had me turning pages like a mad woman towards the end, this piece of fluff will certainly not stick with me any longer than Christine’s memories do with her.
I would love to have my stereotype of thriller novels proved wrong. Am I being a total literature snob (probably)? Are there good, well-written thrillers out there? Please share!