Give me a good crime novel any day! The thing about crime novels is that one does not have to think too hard. Yes, the reader is involved all the time trying to solve the crime, but that is where the thinking ends. To a large extent that’s what crime readers want – the idea that they are involved and also that it does not compel them to think so much.
“Cloudland” by Joseph Olshan is one such book. It is but obviously a crime novel and a great one at that. Once having been a major reporter for a national newspaper, Catherine Winslow has retreated to the Upper Valley of Vermont to write a house-hold hints column. Her life is smooth sailing till one fine day; she discovers the dead body of a woman thawing in the snow, leaning against an apple tree, dressed in a pink parka. Catherine recognizes the woman as a victim of a serial-killing spree who was reportedly missing since a couple of weeks in a blizzard.
She further gets embroiled in the case, when she discovers her neighbour – a forensic psychiatrist is working on it. The mystery gets further intense when she realizes that the serial killer is taking his/her tips of a rare and unfinished Wilkie Collins novel, which is missing from her personal library. To add to this drama, Catherine’s ex-younger lover surfaces, wanting to win her affections and has a mean glint about him.
This is the basic premise of the story. There are more layers to it, which I cannot reveal as it would then kill the fun of reading this book. The book is also complicated but in a nice way (yes that is possible). What I liked about the book is that the book is not just about mystery – it is also about fascinating characters and some side-stories. The plot gradually builds up and I can safely say it is one of the edge-of-the-seat thrillers. The writing is crisp and once in a while it is great to sit with a tub of popcorn and enjoy a thriller.