Wednesday, October 12, 2011


An American house generally includes a door, maybe two; windows; a kitchen facility; a place to sleep; a place to entertain; and facilities for getting clean on a daily basis.

In the same way, the mystery genre has conventions about characters, plot, resolution -- and although they can be bent, even sometimes broken, if a book moves too far from the genre's guidelines, it's no longer a mystery (or thriller or suspense novel or work of detective fiction ... lots of subcategories available, including the characteristics of dark-and-urban or familiar-and-cozy).

Sometimes I'm lost when I read a book that I think is going to be a mystery, but find it's not one. That's what happened when I read Chris Bohjalian's new and very creepy suspense novel, THE NIGHT STRANGERS. For a while, I wasn't sure what to make of it ...

Then, lucky me, I found Margot Harrison's review in Seven Days and discovered that this book is actually classic horror fiction. I was fascinated by Harrison's review of the horror genre conventions, and her pleasure with how Bohjalian carried out his new creation.

Check out her review -- because it comes from being well informed on horror novels, it's knowledgeable, interesting, and, to me, revelatory. Thanks, Margot.

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