Friday, 28 July 2017

Book review : The Caller - Chris Carter

This week, as I told you in my exclusive interview with author and criminal psychologist Chris Carter, a new Robert Hunter thriller has hit the shelves, and it's just as gripping and unputdownable as the previous ones. As he says himself, what turns Chris Carter's novels into a literary white knuckle ride is that his readers can put themselves in the victims' shoes and imagine the terrifying scenes.

So picture this ... the phone rings, it's your best friend on video call. As the phone pans back, you see that he or she is being held captive. A chilling voice tells you that he has placed a bet with your friend and if you manage to answer two simple questions correctly - questions that any friends should be able to answer without a second's hesitation - the nightmare will end. It couldn't be simpler, right? 

Chris Carter is an absolute master of the genre, still managing to come up with a multitude of shocking and original ways of killing off his victims. The power of the writing comes from the psychological element - for the victims, the mental torture is even worse than the physical pain and for the reader, the horror of the scene is intensified by the fact that you can empathise with them, rather than the gore. In fact, much as I love Chris Carter's novels, I'd advise him to rein in the gore factor slightly - for the last two books, even as a not-very-squeamish crime fiction lover, I've had to skip a few paragraphs because the scene unfolding was just too horrific. Sometimes less is more and the images that the reader's mind can conjure up are more than adequate, without going into overly graphic details of torture and violence.

What sets Chris Carter's work apart from the others is that you frequently end up understanding the killer's mindset and even agreeing with part of his motive. While, obviously, nobody deserves to be horrifically tortured and mutilated, the victims are carefully selected in a way that makes him seem somehow less ruthless than a serial killer picking off totally random victims.

star rating : 4.5/5

  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK (23 Feb. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1471156303
  • ISBN-13: 978-1471156304
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 3.4 x 23.4 cm

(The hardback is currently only £5 on amazon, reduced from £12.99, or the paperback £4.79 instead of £7.99)

Disclosure : I received a review copy of the book.


  1. It sounds like an intriguing read, and another lovely review xxx

  2. Sounds a great book!

  3. I think I'll put the book on the want to read list.


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