I’ve been on a mad tear of devouring thrillers lately. They are my “go to” genre when I become distraught, which I am a wee bit right now. Facing the start of a new school year amid typical August heat in Illinois is only one of the things on my horizon. So, instead of reading more thoroughly for Paris in July, or Spanish Lit Month as I have in prior years, I am buried in psychological thrillers which do not disappoint.
Under The Harrow by Flynn Berry is fantastic. It has the enigma I crave, along with the quality of writing I adore. One is not sacrificed for the other as so often happens in this genre.
When Nora arrives at her sister Rachel’s, expecting polenta and coq au vin, she finds instead the dog hanging from the banister on his tangled up lead and bloody handprints on the wall. Her sister has been stabbed numerous times and is lying dead upstairs in blackened blood. We come to find out that she had been attacked several years earlier on the way home from a party, and subsequently wonder if the two incidents are related.
But there are several other threads which cause dismay. One is the absence of their father whom they haven’t seen, nor does it appear that Nora wishes to see him, in a long time.
Our dad has not turned up. As far as I know, the police have not found him yet, but this is the funeral of his eldest daughter. He might learn of it somehow. He might limp up the aisle and settle in next to me and start to offer theories. The church doors are shut now, and I wonder if anyone would mind if I locked them.
And, there is the presence of Stephan, an old boyfriend whom Rachel did not seem to wish to marry.
Stephan has arrived, I realize with a shot of terror. He comes up and kisses me on the cheek. He smells of whiskey and from this morning, not last night…
They almost got married. Close brush, she said. He still wanted to.
I am only halfway through; this book will keep me pleasantly occupied tonight. I just had to tell you how much I’m enjoying it, how it appears to be one of the best thrillers I’ve read in years. Seriously.
No wonder it has been named one of the best books of summer by Elle, Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, Real Simple, The Huffington Post and more. Even Claire Messud said, “Once I started reading Under The Harrow, I couldn’t stop. It’s like Broadchurch written by Elena Ferrante.”