Monday, December 5, 2016
Manderley Resort is a gleaming, new twenty-story hotel on the California coast. It’s about to open its doors, and the world–at least those with the means to afford it–will be welcomed into a palace of opulence and unparalleled security. But someone is determined that Manderley will never open. The staff has no idea that their every move is being watched, and over the next twelve hours they will be killed off, one by one.
Writing in the tradition of Edgar Allan Poe and Stephen King, and with a deep bow to Daphne du Maurier, author Gina Wohlsdorf pairs narrative ingenuity and razor-wire prose with quick twists, sharp turns, and gasp-inducing terror. Security is grand guignol storytelling at its very best.
A shocking thriller, a brilliant narrative puzzle, and a multifaceted love story unlike any other, Security marks the debut of a fearless and gifted writer. - Algonquin
During the month of December, with all of the holiday prep, I tend to have a hard time finding the time to read... or even the desire to read. So I thought I'd pick up a book that was a little different than my normal reading fare. The book I selected was a thriller called SECURITY by Gina Wohlsdorf, and it truly was unlike any book I've ever read.
SECURITY takes place at the Manderley Resort, a beautiful hotel on the coast of California that is almost ready to open. It's an exquisite hotel with lots of amenities, but it also claims that it will have security unlike any other hotel in the world. In fact, it appears that the heightened security means that everyone and everything is being watched.
That becomes very apparent in the first few pages of SECURITY as the workers in the hotel are getting brutally murdered one by one in quick succession. And when I say "brutally," I mean "brutally." (Note: This book isn't for the faint of heart.) The manager of the hotel, Tessa, isn't aware of any of these happenings. She's too preoccupied with her job and dealing with the surprise appearance of her foster brother who she hasn't seen for over a decade.
As the murder victims keep piling up (sometimes literally), the tension in the story builds. The clues about the murderer or murderers (?) are gradually revealed, but even more surprising is the identity of the narrator of the story who is watching over the murders from a bank of security cameras. The conclusion is startling and jarring... and terrorizing, and I can guarantee that readers will never look at security the same way again!
OK -- I hardly know where to begin in my review for SECURITY. It truly is one of the strangest and most disturbing books I've ever read, and I'm not entirely sure I enjoyed the story. It was extremely graphic and gross; and at times, the book bordered seemed like a horror movie to me. What I can definitely say is that I appreciated the creativity of the plot and writing, and I really enjoyed the just now much this book surprised me... on so many levels.
One thing I absolutely loved about this novel was how unique it was. Initially, I wasn't exactly sure I was following the book. I couldn't get a grip on who was seeing what, but then, it became clear that the story was being viewed through security cameras. How original, right? And to even make the story more intriguing, the author sometimes used two, three or even four columns to show what was happening simultaneously from the different security camera views. I also found myself questioning who was actually watching all of these murders taking place. Let me just say, I found the answer to that question to be very, very interesting... and shocking!
Another interesting aspect of this story is that there was almost a love story of sorts taking place while all of these people were being murdered. Tessa seemed to be a workaholic and extremely capable in managing the hotel, and then her long-lost foster brother Brian came into the picture. It was apparent almost immediately to me that there were some seriously unresolved issues and that maybe there was even a romantic spark between the two. As the murders were occurring on different floors of the hotel, Tessa and Brian were trying to work through their complicated past. I found this to be an odd juxtaposition to the bloody murders.
Finally, I feel as if I should mention that this book was extremely shocking -- from the romance, to the mysteries, to the amount of gore, and so on. I admit that I did appreciate being surprised over and over again. I read a lot of thrillers and it's not always easy to surprise me, nevertheless shock me! However, I also was surprised by how much humor was in the story. Granted, a lot of the humor was pretty dark, but the book was actually funny.
Overall, I'm definitely glad I read SECURITY if for nothing else than it was so darn original. I'm not sure I'd say I loved the story or that I'd recommend it to all of my friends, but there's definitely a certain reader that will think SECURITY is one of the best books they've read this year!
Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this novel.
Mystery Mondays is a regular feature where I review all types of mystery books -- traditional mysteries, suspense/thrillers, and even cozies! Please feel free to share your thoughts on any recent mystery books that you've read.