Friday’s “Forgotten” Books: Anne Frasier Edition

I’ve been an Anne Frasier fan for quite some time. Revisiting her work is a reminder of her ability to put a reader on the edge of their seat, have them jump at the slightest unexpected sound and keep turning the pages well past their bed time. Two of her works that I’ve reviewed in the past are worthy of rereads and prove that the original spell they cast on me is just as effective the second time around. My reviews are just my thoughts – read the books to see what you think about Frasier’s suspenseful, scary stories.

PALE IMMORTAL BY ANNE FRASIER

Pale Immortal weaves family drama with vampire lore into a compelling tale that’s hard to put down. New murders raise old suspicions. It isn’t just individuals who are haunted by the past; the town lives in the shadow of ghost stories and legends that refuse to die.

 

 

“Old Tuonela was a scary campfire story, a flashlight under the chin.” Lines like that resonate with the child in each of us that sat by the firelight in the dark night, not wanting to admit we were scared senseless by silly stories of murderers and monsters. Frasier taps into those real fears, allowing us to empathize with the struggle the characters face as they sort out the real horrors from the imagined.

Stepping into the mind of the boy, we find him thinking, This is what it was about. These moments that crept up on you out of nowhere and whispered mysterious unformed promises that made you want to live for something you didn’t even know existed. Passages like that grabbed me. I could relate to these characters and their challenges, fears and frustrations.

The story is anything but predictable and filled with twists and turns. This is the kind of book that builds to a slow boil, and then bubbles incessantly and will keep you turning pages to the end, desperate to find out what happens.

 

I don’t want to give any spoilers or delve too deeply into the plot, but my usual routine is to read a book, write up a ‘quick and dirty’ review and then let it sit for a week. I go back, look over my initial thoughts, and then write the proper review. It gives a book a chance to settle. It tells me if it’s utterly forgettable, or the kind that lingers with you long after you’ve read the last page.

Pale Immortal is the kind that lingers. The characters are rich, complex. It’s been 12 years since I first read it and the story lives on for me today.

 

HUSH by Anne Frasier

When Ivy Dunlap’s long-held secret comes back to threaten her current life she’s pulled into a murder case in Chicago that forces her to confront events from her past.

Chicago homicide detective Max Irving isn’t thrilled to have Dunlap participating in his investigation. He’s also dealing with personal issues of his own and dealing with Dunlap only adds to his stress. Irving thinks she’s there because she’s an expert on related killings but when he learns her secret the situation is even worse. He fears the killer will target Ivy and with both Ivy and his son at risk, Irving nears his breaking point.

The personal and professional tensions add to the intensity of Anne Frasier’s 2002 thriller HUSH. It’s well worth revisiting.

Anyone interested in studying the art of building suspense should learn from a master and there are few who consistently deliver the goods to their readers the way Anne Frasier does.

 

Parts of these reviews previously appeared at Spinetingler.
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