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Every so often, as a change from my favourite chic lit and contemporary fiction, I like to read a good psychological thriller. I have two favourite writers in this genre - Joy Fielding and Hilary Norman - and I have just read Hilary Norman's book 'Guilt' which is absolutely thrilling and had me on the edge of my seat from very early on in my reading. The problem with reading thrillers like this rather than watching them on TV, is you can't really hide behind a pillow although, I have to say, there were some moments in this story when I really wanted to!
'Guilt' is a really scary book and features a really nasty, manipulative character called Silas Graves. From a very early age, Silas has had problems sharing the people in his life - firstly his mother, then his sister, Jules, and finally his wife, Abigail. He has an incredibly jealous nature and wants to control all of his women both physically and mentally. Abigail is already carrying a great deal of guilt around with her believing herself to be responsible for the accident that caused the deaths of her mother, father and boyfriend when she was a teenager. After she confides in Silas, he uses this information to prey on her guilt and to blame her for many of his own hideous actions.
The story progresses at a fast pace with Silas's action becoming more disturbing. There is no where to turn for either Abigail or Jules especially as people that care about them start dying or disappearing. The women's fear becomes more patent and I have to admit that my heart was also beating pretty fast at times during reading. It is the sort of book that keeps you guessing because even though you know that Silas is a very dangerous character, you don't know what he will do next or when. Also, you may hope that there will be a good resolution but you cannot be sure.
I think that Hilary Norman is a master of suspense writing. She drip feeds what is happening and keeps dropping nasty hints that make you fear the worst. She writes in extremely short chapters which also help build up the suspense and also have the effect of enticing the reader to keep on reading a little more as most chapters are only between about two and four pages with most of them ending with what I would describe as a mini cliffhanger! It all adds to the enjoyment if you can describe it as that! It's either enjoyment or torture as your heart keeps thumping away when you are reading.
If you enjoy psychological thrillers, I would definitely recommend 'Guilt' and I would also recommend looking at some of Hilary Norman's other extremely suspenseful books too.
Guilt was published by Piatkus Books in 2004 and is currently available on Amazon for £6.29 (September 2011).