Top positive review
12 people found this helpful
riveting debut novel, not to be missed
on 18 May 2006
For mystery buffs who have missed the excellent Claire Francis' dark and subtly nuanced mystery novels can take heart: Vena Cork seems poised to take over this niche, and quite successfully too if her debut novel, "Thorn" is anything to go by.
Rosa Thorn's life, and those of her two children, Danny and Anna, were irrevocably changed when her artist husband, Rob, was killed in a hit-and-run accident. Now, almost a whole year later, Rosa is coping not only with the pain and grief of losing Rob, but with money problems as well. As Rosa and her children try to adjust to lives without Rob, a new school (for the kids) and a new job (for Rosa), the last thing Rosa needed was to have to contend with Anna becoming the apple of the local derelict's eye. And when a young girl is found murdered nearby, Rosa begins to fear for Anna's safety -- especially since she's beginning to sense that a dark and menacing presence is keeping an eye on her family...
"Thorn" proved to be quite the page turner: it was suspenseful and gripping and full of riveting plot twists. I thought that Vena Cork did a rather masterful job of portraying the grief and sense of loss that Rosa, Danny and Anna felt, making the characters accessible and engaging. The manner in which she layered the suspense, building on the tension with each plot twist was wonderfully done as well. All in all, this was a terrific debut novel, worth sitting up and taking notice of. It was absorbing and compelling and possessed coloured the kind of dark, menacing atmosphere you want your mystery novel to have. Definitely an unputdownable.