- Title: Portraits of the Dead
- Print Length: 324 pages
- Publication Date: September 1, 2016
- Sold by:Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- Format: Kindle
- Genres: Psychological Thriller
I love reading books where you find yourself in the minds of the characters, whether they are the protagonist or the antagonist. So far, John Nicholl’s first two novels do just that, and now Portraits of the Dead is no exception.
When the story opens, we witness the kidnapping of nineteen-year-old Emma. She’s taken to a place where time has no meaning and she has only the voice of her captor to keep her company. Emma’s captor sees everything that she does. He rejoices in her pain, her fears. He makes her do certain things that delight him. To her, his name is Master. To him, Emma’s new name is Venus 6.
Emma wants to give up and die so that her misery is over with, however, her will to survive is too strong to allow her. Her captor has already eliminated five girls that look like Emma and wonders if she is finally the one he’s been searching for.
Portraits of the Dead is a dark psychological thriller that throws twists and turns at you at every corner. The characters are very well-rounded and believable in what they do and how they speak. The interactions the main detectives (Grav and Rankin) had with their suspects or witnesses were fun and entertaining to read. It was easy to imagine watching their exchanges rather than simply reading, which is one quality I require in a great book.
My only issue would be that the point of view would switch in a single paragraph, which at times threw me off; however, the storytelling was tight, so I paid little attention to the POV shifts as I moved through the plot line.
The ending has a twist that left my jaw clenched and my eyes raced across each line to see what would happen next…that’s as far as I am willing to go without giving anything away. I could not put this book down. it was fast-paced, riveting, dark, creepy, tense. Everything I love in a book.
Over the past few months, I’ve been reading several serial killer thrillers as a kind of research for my own work in progress, and I have to say that Portraits of the Dead is one of my favorites. As always, I look forward to more of Mr. Nicholls’ brilliant writing and recommend him for fans of psychological thrillers that grips you with no intention of letting go.
Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 stars