First thing that strikes about the story is the characterization. Infact, this is one notable aspect across all three of Peter Swanson’s novels. You will have the lingering effect of the character long after the chapters end. Every single one of them, right from the very beginning, are a specimen of their own. From the 3 novels I’ve read, he doesn’t discriminate heroism as male dominion and is generous in spacing out the roles of both the ladies and gents. Infact, it’s the lady characters who drive the show from start, with the males filling out the support cast. Her every fear, has its soul on the lady character around whom the entire story unravels.
Starting with the titular lady character, who, as per the title itself, is like Thenali kamal, with her endless list of phobias. The interesting aspect about her profile is that, rather than deliberating on the fear, it’s the fix or the solution provided by the therapist and how she repeats those confidence building sentences to herself, is what makes it even more eerie. Unlike the other two novels by Swanson, this one takes a while to settle, not from a pacing perspective, but with the way situation unfolds as we are thrown right into a middle of an event happening and the deliberate efforts at detailing the location is trying to say the least, to start with. Slowly when it settles in and the next character profiling begins, it all sinks in super-fast and makes absolute sense. You get so hooked to the story that, when she jumps at shadows you tend go knee jerk as well and when she has palpitations, you would be able to feel it.
The second character is that of a stalker. Though I’ve read stories in which the possessiveness of the character makes them turn violent, not in a situation as thrown in the book and the extent to which it impacts the victim. More from the aggressor perspective, the victim’s side of the story makes it all the scarier. Very rarely I’ve come across stories where stalking is explained in such a detailed manner, which brings about the scariness in that activity. Whenever I used to read in news about stalkers who watch people, it never felt that serious. But the detailing from which it’s shown from the stalkers perspective, adds to the eeriness.
The third character, is probably the best of the lot in terms of profiling, for its so very relatable and common, if not genuine. You immediately get synched with this person and the emotions, feelings and even the false sense of pride we at times in trying to get the approval nod of those whom we adore, the level of detailing on this character is amazing and its never preachy or in your face. Its all thrown like bread crumbs, leading us all the way to..well..the bread. The reason why this is the most interesting of the lot is for the fact that, as much as it being one of the darkest character of the lot, its also the most vulnerable, swaying to the tunes of the fourth character, which is classic pyscho.
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