Savage Lane by Jason Starr
|Savage Lane by Jason Starr|
|Reviewer: Luke Marlowe|
|Summary: A gripping thriller that sweeps the reader into a story of suburban America, broken marriages, sexual obsessions, and deadly crimes. Savage Lane excels as a thriller, a black comedy, and a character study – well worth a read|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 320||Date: October 2015|
|Publisher: No Exit Press|
|External links: Author's website|
Savage Lane – a peaceful suburb of New York. When Karen Daily moves there following a marriage breakdown, she expects to find a quieter, calmer lifestyle, and soon becomes friends with her neighbours – Mark and Deb. Mark and Deb seem happy, but their marriage is failing fast, and Mark is slipping into fantasies of a new relationship with Karen. As Deb's suspicions grow, dangerous obsessions and deadly decisions will come to haunt the group – leaving Savage Lane irrevocably changed.
Everyone expects a good thriller to have at least a few surprises thrown in – but Savage Lane really ups the ante every chapter, with layers peeled away and new developments arising at what feels like every page turn. Thankfully though, Starr is a skilful writer, building characters carefully over the course of the opening few chapters, before throwing in developments that feel organic – albeit still shocking.
Whilst violence occurs, there is nothing gratuitous or over the top – although I can't deny some chapters may leave some a little shaken. Things never get too dark though – despite deaths and affairs, Starr never fails to thread black comedy throughout, and shifting the point of view to a different character every chapter helps to alleviate dark moments. The only place I thought this fell down slightly was when the viewpoint switched to that of a local policeman – his personal life was filled with so much drama that I longed to hear more about that. However, I do appreciate that the author wanted to keep the main plot tight and avoid too many diversions – something which makes it a rapid, page turning read.
With Gone Girl being the go-to thriller of the past few years, comparisons are inevitable – some are on the cover. But this is a very different beast altogether. Still packed with thrills, Starr has crafted a thriller that also manages to be a hilarious satire on urban America, and a careful character study. It also manages a far lighter tone than Gone Girl – whilst things do reach a dark climax in Savage Lane, there are still rays of hope visible, which I felt were sincerely lacking in Gillian Flynn's novel.
Carefully crafted and constantly thrilling, Savage Lane is a rapid and enjoyable read, so many thanks to the publishers for the copy. For further reading, I would recommend Second Life by S J Watson – another thriller I've read this year that had me racing through the pages until I reached the end.
You can read more book reviews or buy Savage Lane by Jason Starr at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Savage Lane by Jason Starr at Amazon.com.
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