I swear I’ve been reading thrillers non-stop for a full year now. My reading habits tend to change like the weather – when it’s cold outside, I love nothing more than snuggling (like, with myself) down with a good thriller and a cuppa. When it’s hot, you’ll catch me sunning it in the garden with some chick-lit. Lately though, my whole system is out of whack. It’s like I’ve fell down the thriller rabbit-hole and I can’t get out. It’s not exactly hell though, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being trapped in my own little world of mystery and murder.
The problem is, literature is my version of crack. It’s not something I can just stop, cold turkey. I knew I’d have to wean myself off it, differentiate between dark and light. “Just one more” I tell myself, pressing ‘download’ on The Venus Trap by Louise Voss. “One more, and I’ll move on”.
After the breakdown of her marriage, Jo’s ready to dive back in to the metaphorical cesspool of dating and find the passion that her life’s been missing. She tries her hand at internet dating (and has her share of horror stories), but nothing could have prepared her for her present: waking up chained to her own bed.
But it’s not a stranger that’s holding Jo captive, it’s an old school friend with secrets that she never could have predicted.
I really reveled in the fact that this was a fully first-person novel. I know it’s often 100% necessary to include the detective in a thriller, but it can sometimes feel a bit tedious switching back and forth to the victim, the victims family, the D.I., the killer and so on. The Venus Trap focuses solely on Jo’s version of events.
This isn’t your average ‘girl meets weirdo on a dating site’ thriller, and that’s what makes it so chilling – it makes you realise that the wackos don’t always have to be strangers.
Thrillers can tend to gloss over the flaws of a victim, painting them in the light that they were the innocent party that never so much as said ‘boo’ to a goose. Voss refuses to do this; she wants the reader to know that Jo wasn’t a saint. She was a human who’d made mistakes and was sometimes a little bit selfish. She wasn’t the poster girl for Miss Perfect, just like none of us are. It gives the story a much more gritty and realistic feel, as even though Jo talks you through her downfalls and shortcomings, you still LIKE her and hope that she makes it out.
The main problem with this though is that I’m back to square one. How am I supposed to make the switch to happy, sunny chick-lit when there are so many unread novels by Voss? I better get cracking…