SJI Holliday has been reading crime fiction since she was able to hold a book. She writes short stories and her debut novel, Black Wood was published in spring 2015. You can find out more at www.sjiholliday.com.
When the world's bestselling thriller writer, William de Vallee, disappears from his luxury yacht while sailing off the LA coast, his best friend and fellow writer Arthur Pfefferkorn decides to pick up where he left off. But little does Arthur know that this impulsive decision is about to change his life for ever...We want to tell you more about this novel. We wish we could explain how spectacular and absolutely unexpected it is; how it will burn itself onto your brain for ever. But the truth is we could never do it justice...The only way you'll understand it is to read it.
When it comes to the main protagonist, Jesse Kellerman doesn’t like to stick to a format. In Trouble, it’s a young medical student who becomes embroiled in a Fatal Attraction type plot after accidentally stumbling across a woman being attacked on a New York street, in The Executor it’s a postgraduate philosophy student employed to ‘make conversation’ with an elderly woman, in The Brutal Art, it’s an art dealer with a collection of ‘sick but brilliant’ paintings, and in Sunstroke, it’s the secretary who’s secretly in love with her boss.
In I’ll Catch You, it’s the extremely endearing and somewhat ridiculously named, Arthur Pfefferkorn, a creative writing tutor who is struggling to write his much awaited second novel.
The story starts with the funeral of Pfefferkorn’s missing-and-presumed-dead old college mate, Bill – a highly successful thriller novelist who wrote a series of novels featuring special agent ‘Dick Stapp’ under the pseudonym William de Vallée. Bill’s widow, Carlotta, invites Pfeffercorn to stay after the funeral and while poking around in the deceased man’s study, he comes across an unfinished Dick Stapp novel… and decides to steal it, finish it, change the name of the lead character, and pass it off as his own.
Cue ‘overnight success’ for Blood Eyes (under the pseudonym A.S. Peppers) and pressure for Pfefferkorn to produce the next in the series. But what follows next is not at all what you might expect. It’s impossible to say much more about the plot without dropping major spoilers, but I think this is possibly one of the most original books I’ve read in a very long time. In some ways, it turns the whole thriller genre on its head and pokes fun at it, but it’s done in such a way that you can’t help but be carried along for the ride.
The tone is laugh out loud funny in places, and I particularly enjoyed the dialogue, which in some instances stretches for pages on end without any tags but is written so effectively that you never get confused about who is speaking. The names of the characters and places are outlandish and add to the whole surrealist nature of the book. Certainly not your standard crime thriller, but most definitely a perfectly constructed page-turner that will keep you guessing all the way through.
Bizarre as it is, it does make you think on occasion… ‘What if?’