Recent Reads: Disclaimer, Trauma & The New Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes

Disclaimer - Renée Knight
When Gillian Flynn wrote Gone Girl, little would she have realised that her domestic psychological thriller was a literary goldmine of sorts (To be honest, Ruth Rendell was a pioneer in this genre way before but I digress), just the way how Dan Brown's The da Vinci Code became a staple for theological conspiracy thrillers. But you see what I'm trying to say? Who would have imagined that a life post marriage, that settling with the person whom you thought was the love of your life, could be filled with life-altering circumstances and scandalous secrets untold.

Renée Knight's Disclaimer too is no exception to this rule, following an alternating timeline about a well-off married couple, with the wife in question struggling to contain her harrowing past that continues to haunt her in the present, threatening to make her lose all that she has gained. The problem with Disclaimer unfortunately is that the 'secret' as such is so predictable, one begins to wonder whether the dread and fear built up to the final reveal was warranted in the first place. But to give credit where it's due, the writing is compelling enough and the narrative is tightly-plotted, with the antagonist's psychological motivations well fleshed out. A gripping novel on the whole.

Trauma - Michael Palmer & Daniel Palmer
A decent enough medical thriller if you can excuse the improbable plot. A promising neurosurgeon makes a career-costing mistake only to land a job at a Veterans Affairs hospital that has supposedly developed a cure for PTSD. At first it's all hunky-dory for Carrie, the aforementioned brain surgeon, but then nothing is what it seems, and before long, she wakes up to an uncomfortable truth, one that's so horrifying she finds herself doing all she can to stop it before it's all too late. To be frank, I found the book to be entertaining and poignant in parts (especially with regards to PTSD), but equally predictable in others, though full props to the father-son Palmer duo for sustaining the suspense all throughout.

The New Mysteries
of Sherlock Holmes
The New Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes - Martin Edwards
A fantastic throwback to one of the iconic creations in literary fiction. The puzzles in themselves are nothing extraordinary, but Edwards makes it entertaining, engaging and sufficiently singular enough to confound the readers, while keeping the banter between Holmes and Watson witty as always! What if Doyle himself treated Holmes with 'scant regard', penning a new Holmes story only whenever he required 'extra finances' - as writer David Stuart Davies puts in an Introduction to the book - one cannot definitely deny the character's brilliance, or Doyle himself, for shaping the very trajectory of detective crime fiction. No wonder then, readers don't get enough of Sherlock!