click to BUY
A gripping psychological read with characters
that reach out and grab you. A real page turner.
bestselling author of The Wedding Party
and other novels
touches our primary emotions: jealousy, love, fear, hatred,
and grief... Kingsley has written an intriguing mystery/psychological
thriller with interesting, believable and well-developed characters.
There are twists, turns, red herrings, and a healthy dose
of hair-raising fear and suspense to keep even the most fickle
reader captivated. The dialogue is authentic, and, along with
the scene-painting narrative, you’ll feel like you’re
on the beach witnessing the unfolding action.
recommended to readers who enjoy a great mystery!
Choice Book Reviews (5 Star
help turning the pages compulsively as we are seduced with
small details and quick punchy dialogue... nothing is as it
seems... it made me think I was watching a movie focusing
on several characters that are all subtly interwoven into
the threads of each other's lives... a novel you may want
to re-read, once for the sheer thrill of the story, and again
to fully absorb its implications.
(5 Star Rating)
What makes a great psychological thriller?
I'm not saying I've written a great psychological
thriller — although I've tried darn hard — but rather I am
discussing in this article: what makes a great psychological
thriller? (I leave you to judge how successful I've been if you care to
read my attempt in 'Sandman'.) So I am discussing ingredients, here, and
those I decided to use, if we continue with the baking analogy for a moment.
So, 'What makes a good psychological thriller?' was the critical question
running through my mind when I was searching for a storyline. In essence,
I believe it has to be a novel in which the reader becomes directly engaged
with the thinking of the principal characters.
the author of a thriller wishes the reader to empathise — bond
even — with their protagonist, but I would suggest the suspense
can be racked-up — maybe even doubled — if the reader similarly
engages with the psyche of the antagonist. So that was my first aim. A
good method of achieving this seemed to be to place the protagonist (good
guy) and antagonist (bad guy) 'on the same rails', as it were, heading
up against each other; in other words, both feeling entirely justified
in thinking quite the opposite to each other. It sounded interesting,
and that was the germ of the idea that led me to writing my novel called
I also decided
to make the antagonist have both unlikable and likeable aspects, to have
vulnerable characteristics despite being dangerous, and to manipulate
the reader to amend his or her empathy for this character as the book
progresses and they get to know him better. It was therefore necessary
to give him a real — but flawed — character type.
As part of my researches I studied the psychology of character types and
used this as the basis for drawing out my characters. It is one thing
to know what they look like and how they speak, but it is entirely another
to know how they think. By basing them on accepted psychological
character types I aimed to achieve more realism. (This research ended
up in a 6-month diversion in which I created what I called the P4
Personality Mapping tool. I made it available on the web so other
authors can employ it because it offers an intuitive way of homing-in
on 32 very different and very real character types: 16 normal and 16 flawed.)
really important for a psychological thriller is to get right
into the minds of those who are most affected: those who suffer most.
They must have serious fears if you are to write a thriller, and suspense
can be created if their troubles are looming but have not yet arrived.
In my case I wanted to certainly be within the mind of both protagonist
and antagonist, so this suggested at least two points-of-view, and this
ruled out a first-person treatment. When it came to the actual storyline,
a couple of other points-of-view were added so that their fears can also
be 'shared' with the reader, first-hand.
once you have several points-of-view, you have a potentially difficult
story to control because the reader must never become confused by this;
they always need to know 'who they are'. It is very unwise to switch point-of-view
within a scene, and many authors restrict it to chapters, but if you want
to make the most of the potential drama then scene shifts should be allowed
— provided they can remain clear-cut. In my case I decided to go
for that, for in one dramatic scene I had in mind, I wanted to see things
from three different points-of-view: the protagonist, the antagonist and
another principal character, the potential victim of a near accident.
of the process of controlling points-of-view so as to minimise confusion
in the reader's mind, I decided to subtly change what I shall call the
mood of what writers refer to as voice: the literary equivalent
of timbre reflected more in the words used than actual tone. Add in the
thoughts of the principal characters and you can modulate voice and tailor
it to the character. This gives the reader a subconscious link to whom
they are reading about.
require threats, danger, desperate action, but psychological
thrillers aim to focus on how all this affects those characters the reader
gets to care about, and that is far more important than police procedure
or forensic subtly. In a plain thriller you are excited about the plot,
the clues, but in psychological thrillers you are excited by the way you
engage with the characters. That's also an ingredient that makes a thriller
difficult to put down. You should get a thrill from experiencing a character's
fears and also their excitement when things go well again — if,
as a writer, you are kind enough to let that happen.
It is interesting
to get as deeply into the mind of the bad guy as you do of the good guy...
to try to understand his or her motivations, even if you do disagree with
them. Throw into the mix confusion, misunderstanding on behalf of both,
and you have a rich mix. These are the ingredients I used to cook-up 'Sandman',
and this article provides an insight into my thinking while writing this
novel. If you read it just after reading this article, you will see how
it all panned out. Hopefully you will also enjoy it.
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