The Woman In The Library by Sulari Gentill is making waves, showing up in all the upcoming thriller lists, and rightfully so, as this thriller had me spinning in crazy circles trying to keep tracks running in the story.
The Woman In The Library is ‘ a book, about a book, about a book’…I should probably write another’ about a book in there, it is that convoluted but the plot is not a conundrum of a mess that is hard to follow. Sulari Gentill is writing the story of an author called Hannah Tigone, who coz of the pandemic is in Australia unable to travel. So we have got the thread with Hannah who is an author writing the story of a woman called Winifred or Freddie as she is called who is again a mystery author. Thus Sulari Gentill brilliantly establishes 2 threads running in the story and then we begin thread #3, with Freddie writing a story based on her experience meeting 3 people in the library in the reading room of the Boston Library. Finally adding to the pulse-pounding action is the email correspondence from Leo Johnson, the beta reader for Hannah who becomes the eyes and ears for her scouting for locations and correcting the commonly used colloquialisms that may not come naturally for an Australian author.
Leo’s emails to Hannah begin benignly, the profusion of love and respect for a well-established author very well evident, but soon the tone changes into something dark, criticizing, and forceful in rewriting the story to his vision. Meanwhile, Freddie faces the dilemma of having bonded with the 3 other people upon a “scream” and then facing the danger of a murderer amidst them.
A crackling mystery that keeps the readers on their toes, I loved Sulari Gentill’s lacework braiding together layers upon layers towards a dizzying race to the finish line. It was also refreshing how Gentill explores the different types of techniques used by the authors, we have Freddie thru Hannah who writes things from a blank mind, letting the story speak for itself, we have Cain who follows the methodical plotting of the story complete with flow charts and diagrams. There is also the discussion about all stories are in one way or another about relationships and particularly romance; irrespective of the genre it is tied to, something that I have always believed to be true. Highly intelligent and cleverly crafted, The Woman in The Library will mess up with your head but YOU ARE GONNA LOVE THIS MESS.
Many thanks to Net Galley, Poisoned Pen Press, and the author for a chance to read and review this book. All opinions are expressed voluntarily.
In every person’s story, there is something to hide…
The ornate reading room at the Boston Public Library is quiet, until the tranquility is shattered by a woman’s terrified scream. Security guards take charge immediately, instructing everyone inside to stay put until the threat is identified and contained. While they wait for the all-clear, four strangers, who’d happened to sit at the same table, pass the time in conversation and friendships are struck. Each has his or her own reasons for being in the reading room that morning—it just happens that one is a murderer.
Award-winning author Sulari Gentill delivers a sharply thrilling read with The Woman in the Library, an unexpectedly twisty literary adventure that examines the complicated nature of friendship and shows us that words can be the most treacherous weapons of all.
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