A Beautiful Madness

A Beautiful Madness - Lee  Thompson If second-person narration is the red-headed stepchild of style, then first-person omniscient is the creepy uncle whom no one trusts. You don't see him often, and when you do, you don't quite know what to make of him. Even though there's nothing technically wrong with him, he's jarring, and can be hard to get along with. A close first-person narrative does raise some questions, like: how does the narrator, who's also a character in the story, know what the hell everyone else is thinking and doing? There's no good answer to that question, but quite a few of my favorite novels have been written in such a way. McCammon's A BOY'S LIFE is a good example, as is Stephen King's IT, and the only thing I can tell you is that you're either going to like first-person narrative or you're not. There's nothing technically wrong with using that style of narrative, but some readers are going to complain because of head-hopping and the like. Them's the facts. In my opinion, Lee Thompson nails the use of first-person omniscient, creating a precise flow and rhythm to the structure that eases the reader into this lesser-seen style of narration, and once you've settled into the motion of the ocean, this is a damn easy read.

This is my first foray into the mind of Lee Thompson, and I thoroughly enjoyed my tour. Plenty of disturbing imagery herein, and loads of cringe-worthy violence. Add in more than a few twists and turns, and I believe this one will be on my short list of Top Reads of 2014. I could go into the synopsis, but why? Part of the fun of reading a book like this is going in blind. I will say that this is not quite a horror story, but more of a crime/thriller that isn't bogged down with a bunch of procedural crap. Some people dig CSI-type stories, but I'm not one of them, and was happy that this wasn't that kind of crime novel. This books is far more emotionally driven than your typical thriller, as well, and gives you a sympathetic villain. It takes a great bit of talent to write such a violent individual and have the reader feel sorry for them. Bravo, Lee. Well played, sir.

Lee creates characters that ride the fence between good and evil, which makes them all the more enjoyable to read about. You will find no cookie-cutter caricatures here, and I dig that very much. The plot is tight and tense, and the chapters are short enough that you'll find yourself unable to put the book down. Why not read one more chapter? It's only a few pages long. Go ahead. You know you want to. Well, shoot, why not another? And another... And... You get the idea. I read A BEAUTIFUL MADNESS in two days, and it only took that long because of those pesky, fun-interrupting needs, such as food and sleep and potty breaks.

Oh, and the twist at the 64% mark? I literally gasped. Didn't see that coming. While it's not a game-changer, it did shock me. One word: Anna.

In summation: A BEAUTIFUL MADNESS is a ballsy thriller written in a little-seen style of narration that might throw some readers but I felt it was handled masterfully. Once I figured out what to expect (which was very early on, chapter three, I believe), I enjoyed myself immensely. I will definitely be looking for more material from Lee Thompson. Consider me a fan.

*I received this book in return for my honest review, which you have just read. Many thanks to DarkFuse and Netgalley for the chance to give my opinion of the material.*