Saturday, February 18, 2012

Godchild by Vincent Zandri -- a review

About five years ago the thriller genre became so popular among readers that publishers began labeling every genre book a thriller. My crime novels soon became labeled as crime thrillers, my noir novels became crime noir thrillers, my horror novels became horror thrillers, and so on. But a thriller is an entirely different beast than those other genres. It’s not necessarily the page-turning aspect that makes a novel a thriller—every piece of fiction no matter the genre needs to get the reader involved and interested enough to want to keep turning pages. What defines a thriller is that it needs to be thrilling—from the first page to the end it needs to keep generating thrills. There are other elements that are common among thrillers, such as the hero being in constant danger and a very loud ticking clock that’s ever present, but the most important aspect is having thrills and plenty of them. Godchild by Vincent Zandri is a pure thriller that has a pitch perfect thriller vibe. The hero from past Zandri books, Keeper Marconi, is now a hardboiled PI who is trying to move on with his life, but is haunted by the brutal killing years earlier of his wife by a mysterious bald man with a gold earing, and his need to bring this man to justice. When Marconi is hired by a wealthy and powerful man to rescue his wife imprisoned in a border town in Mexico, Marconi soon finds things aren’t what they appear. Layers of lies are stripped away as Marconi discovers the real reason he was hired, but also why is wife was killed so many years earlier. Godchild has plenty of thrills, as well as plenty of action, violence, danger and deception, but what makes it an exceptional thriller is partly Zandri’s great thriller vibe, partly his smooth writing style imbued with sarcastic humor, and partly Zandri’s reporter’s eye that captures details most writers miss.

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