Genre: Contemporary Thriller
Publisher: Choc Lit 2012
Source: Tywyn Public Library, Wales.
First Sentences: Prologue 'Through a pair of binoculars, the watcher saw the old lady's light come on. Her curtains were drawn, but when she stumbled out on to the landing, her white nightgown flapping around her like a a ghostly shroud, she was clearly visible for a moment.
Review Quote: Product Description Review From Amazon: If you're looking for a good page-turner, "Up Close" is for you. Ms. Gyland wasted no time in getting to the suspense. I'm a big fan of romantic suspense and this one reminded me a lot of some of the older classics of the genre written by Mary Stewart and Victoria Holt. I loved the setting and the author did such a good job describing it that I felt like I was there watching the scenes take place. If you like suspense novels set in England, and not necessary the big cities, this is one you might like to check out.
Literary Awards: Festival of Romance Award for New Talent (2011)
My Opinion: A thrilling début.
A thrilling début novel from an author I had never read before or actually even heard of. Picked up the paperback in the library as I find the publishers Choc Lit often have titles in their catalogue that appeal to me. Thrillers are not my first choice of genre and I was initially put off by the fact that this is considered to be a romantic suspense story in the tradition of Hitchcock. However I like to read novels outside of my comfort zone and decided to give it a try. The suspense in the storyline was intriguing enough to keep me turning the pages, although I found the descriptions of the Norfolk setting and the characterisations more gratifying.
The Norfolk setting is perfect for this mysterious tale as the protagonist Lia Thompson returns home from America to sort out her grandmother's affairs after her death. It turns out not to be as straight forward as she had expected as it seems her death may not have been from natural causes. Although the primary plot is to find out how her grandmother died and why, there are sub plots where we learn of Lia's own past and that of local Aidan who knew her, but not well before she left the area. Aidan is carrying a lot of emotional baggage and the tension builds as these two become friends. The other important part of the story is the terrorist threats that local military bases have been getting. How do these things all link together? Well the consequences are devastating but I do not write spoilers!
If you are looking for a novel with suspense and are a fan of the thriller genre then I would recommend you read to find out for yourself.
Henriette grew up in Northern Denmark but moved to England after she graduated from the University of Copenhagen, she now lives in London with her husband. She wrote her first book when she was ten, a tale of two orphan sisters running away to Egypt fortunately to be adopted by a perfect family they meet on the Orient Express.
Between that first literary exploit and now, she has worked in the Danish civil service, for a travel agent, a consultancy company, in banking, hospital administration, and for a county court before setting herself up as a freelance translator and linguist.
Expecting her first child and feeling bored, she picked up the pen again, and when a writer friend encouraged her to join the Romantic Novelists' Association, she began to pursue her writing in earnest winning the New Talent Award in 2011 from the Festival of Romance and a Commended from the Yeovil Literary Prize.
The biographical information and photo used in this post are with thanks to the following websites, where you can also find more information about the author and her writing.
Goodreads Author Profile Henriette Gyland - Official Author Website Amazon Author Profile