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The Laughterhouse: A Thriller

The Laughterhouse: A Thriller - Paul Cleave Yeah, you saw that right. I must be getting soft in my old age... I used to never give 5 stars, but as I tell my friends, a 4 is really good... a 5 is near or surpassed perfection for me. I am by no means well read or versed in fiction. I just know what I love and I know I can be picky, so if I give it 5 stars and you and I like the same kind of material......GET ON THAT.

So, right. I am supposed to put words here to describe my feelings about this novel and it's author. I find myself without sufficient words, which I know is a copout but REALLY. First, as I've stated before, I love recurring characters and continuing story lines. I like getting to know a character over the course of a few books and not in 250-400 pages. Theodore Tate is a likable protagonist, one I like reading about.

I find Cleave's representation of Cole is so complex. He wants to made out as a monster, but he's not a sick freak. He's killed 4 people and kidnapped a doctor and his three daughters, but he's angry that the press wonders if he's molested the three little girls he's kidnapped. I alternately empathize with and detest Caleb Cole. In my heart of hearts I feel his pain, but I also feel frusration that he doesn't listen to reason. He's made up his mind. The most dangerous folks are those that have nothing to lose.

I am a big fan of buildup, and there's plenty of it in The Laughterhouse. I could guess at Cole's motivation, but I prefer a slow burn and unraveling of the story. The novel takes place over two harrowing, frustrating nights, keeping ChristChurch in a powerful, murderous grip and the police force running from crime scene to crime scene, trying to solve the mystery before more people die.

I also like the return to the storyline about Tate's wife and the surprising events surrounding her illness.

I finished this book around 3am today and I'm STILL pouting about the cliff-hanger ending!!! I have a few other Cleave books to finish (I unintentionally read them in the wrong order, oh well) so there's just enough time to release a new book and continue the story.

Ahem, Mr Cleave!