Black Iris by Randy Russell
(Fiction / Mystery & Detective)
There’s nothing quite like a psychological thriller. You know, it’s the feeling you get when you’re anxious to turn the page – and you think twice about every word said by each character. Thrillers and mystery novels make us think about the little details. Maybe something small is not so small after all. When I was going through our library, I stumbled upon Black Iris and gave it a read. It did not disappoint. I was hungry for a mind bending thriller, and it certainly satisfied my appetite.
The novel introduces you to its protagonist, Mal Townley. He’s a small-town private investigator who has seen it all. People could only handle so much, especially in his line of work. When he finds himself ready to throw in the towel, a game-changing case comes his way.
A young novelist, Iris Black, has gone missing. When he contacts others with questions, everyone has an opinion about the young writer. What’s strange is, no one seems to have a picture of her. The only visual resemblance to her comes in the form of a painting called “Black Iris” that seems to cast a spell over its admirers.
Now, the private investigator handbook has one very important rule: never fall in love the suspect of your investigation. Of course, in the novel, Mal breaks this very important rule. He soon finds himself venturing down a mysteriously winding path that will test readers’ minds.
The best part about this book is its rich character development. Author Randy Russell does a marvelous job crafting a diverse array of eccentric characters – all who seem to be hiding something. Beyond character development, the book’s setting is quite nostalgic. Russell gently walks readers through the quiet life of a 20th century Midwestern college town and captures the details that make it both quaint and unnerving. The book is deeply mysterious, and quite unpredictable. It’s an addicting read that kept me coming back for more.
Only recently have I begun to dive more deeply into mysteries and thrillers – and this one certainly delivered. If you are looking for a new mystery novel, start here with today’s Book of the Day!