By Tim Bowler
Published by OUP
ISBN 978 0 19 272838 8
There's nothing quite like a tight psychological thriller to keep a reader turning the pages, but this type of novel is difficult to manage because the author cannot put a foot wrong in tightening up the suspense as the story unfolds. One false move, and the reader is lost.
Tim Bowler is an experienced storyteller with 20 books and numerous awards behind him. He is one of the most compelling and original writers in the youth fiction market, and can always be relied upon to come up with an uncompromising good read, full of demanding ideas, believable characters and clever plotting.
Buried Thunder is a bone-chilling and eerie story that demands to be read in one go if you can spare a few hours. Once you've started, you definitely won't want to put the book down, and that is exactly how a thriller should grip its reader. It should stick to his or her fingers until it is all over. Aimed at older teenage readers, this will also enthral any adult who enjoys this sort of novel.
The story begins right in the middle of an uneasy situation; Bowler doesn't waste a second in unsettling his readers.
Maya, an ordinary 14-year-old girl, has just moved to the countryside with her parents and brother to start a new life running a country hotel. One day, while walking in the nearby woods, she sees a pair of intense yellow eyes staring at her. Unsettled, she runs further into the woods, and makes a terrible discovery.
She stumbles over three dead bodies with a sinister figure standing over one of them. Scared out of her wits, she runs back home and her parents immediately phone the police. But when the police search the woods, they don't find any bodies in the place Maya described. Is she imagining things or is she simply playing a time-wasting joke?
Maya becomes more distraught when she meets one of the dead bodies face to face. A policewoman comes to the hotel to talk to her, and she looks exactly like one of the bodies Maya discovered in the woods. Things get worse as Maya begins to hear scraping and scratching noises inside her bedroom. Is she going mad?
Bowler expertly builds up the tension from the exciting start of his novel right until the final page. He introduces an interesting mix of weird characters into the story who all seem to have something to hide. He cleverly keeps all the action within the tight setting of the hotel and the forest. And at the end of the story, Bowler neatly ties up all the loose ends with a clever climax.
Buried Thunder is an expertly crafted psychological thriller, with unease even in the final few sentences. This is one novel you won't want to read at night. Leave the lights on if you do finish it just before you go to sleep. Yellow eyes might just be watching you!
John Millen can be contacted at MillenBookshelf@aol.com