I read all six of Sara Gran’s novels in 2018. I sought her out after seeing her name on a list of writers who might succeed Elmore Leonard at the top of the crime genre. And her crime novels are, while not really being similar to Leonard’s, incredible. The standalone novel Dope is as mean a noir as can be imagined. And her Claire DeWitt books have become favorites, especially the first one, City of the Dead. But when I went to the bookstore to find her work before I read it, I found this, her horror novel, first.
I love an unreliable narrator, and Amanda, an architect who is slowly being possessed by a demon is a great one. Then again she’s unreliable enough that the gradual part may be in doubt. She and her boyfriend begin hearing sounds in their remote loft. Soon she’s dreaming of a particularly creepy imaginary friend from childhood and behaving in increasingly hostile ways. But again, the unreliability; she was pretty hostile in the very first chapter. But Gran uses that unreliability to incredible effect creating tension for the reader as Amanda gradually loses her grip on reality. A very good and convincing thriller. Having read her crime fiction (and her excellent debut mainstream novel) the bleakness of this is recognizable. It’s more akin to Dope; that is, it is not cut with the zen existentialism of the Claire Dewitt books. It’s chilling. If I like the Dewitt books more, it’s no slam on this, but a testament to those.
Rereads And Everything Else 2020 20/35