Sunday, February 09, 2020

Turning a Thriller into a PI Investigation: I KNOW WHERE YOU SLEEP from Alan Orloff

There's a problem with reading in bed, if you're reading a lot of crime fiction: Sooner or later, you'll scare yourself out of a good night's sleep. The solution to those moments will also leave you short of sleep, but at least you'll have hope -- that is, you just keep reading until the plot twists finally tidy up and the character you're hoping will survive somehow makes it through ... or at least has a meaningful death. At 4 a.m. Right?

Actually I'd rather not have to white-knuckle a book like that. So when the cover for I KNOW WHERE YOU SLEEP, new from established thriller author Alan Orloff, started me checking that I'd locked the doors ... I worked out a way to read it in the daytime.

Turns out the cover was a bit more creepy than the book. And -- the book's well worth savoring. Anderson West, running his own investigation firm, gets shoved into accepting a case for, well, free actually, when his sort of messed-up sister Carrie connects right away with Jessica, a client being stalked:
"I don't have much money," Jessica said.

Before I could respond, Carrie jumped in. "Don't worry about that either. The State of Virginia Professional Investigator Oversight Department requires us to provide a certain amount of pro bono services every year. I'm happy to say your case qualifies."

I raised an eyebrow at Carrie. There was no such department, no such requirement. My sister just had a soft spot for innocent people getting terrorized.
In fact, Anderson West may sound tough, but he'd just as ready to tackle the case of the horrible threats landing in Jessica's life. And from here on, the book's a classic PI detection tale -- checking out all of Jessica's exes (is there a significant reason she's bouncing from one guy to another?) and getting glimpses of the criminal mind behind the torment.

The plot ramps up to terror when a "gift" for Jessica arrives where she works: a locket containing a photo of her in a wedding dress, with a bloody streak down the front.

Anderson West and Carrie make an intriguing team. I KNOW WHERE YOU SLEEP spins them into a nicely twisted investigation. Orloff could have gone further, putting his investigators at risk in new ways ... if readers are fortunate, he'll follow this with a more intense sequel (as one might often expect from publisher Down & Out Books!). Meanwhile, here's a good read that won't require you to pre-dial 911 when you hear the house creaking.

PS:  Looking for more mystery reviews, from cozy to very dark? Browse the Kingdom Books mysteries review blog here.  

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