THRILLER: noun—A novel, play, or movie with an exciting plot, typically involving crime or espionage. —Oxford Dictionaries
We all know how thrillers work, right? First there is the thriller intro scene that’s plenty…er…thrilling. Then butchered bodies start popping up, but local cops/spies/amateur detectives/teenage cheerleaders living over a hellmouth/superheroes/little old ladies with cats can’t figure out what’s happening. Only our reluctant hero can put the pieces together. And s/he better get truckin because the Dark Moment is looming.
Our hero enlists the help of a spunky sidekick/reluctant love interest/cat who is, of course, kidnapped by the Supervillain/Evil Corporate Exec/Other Side’s Spies who turn out to be just as ruthelessly amoral as Our Side/Global Conspiracy/Government Agency. There will be deadlines. Frequently exotic scene changes. Cliffhangers. Surely a timer counting down to zero before Something hits the fan.
Thicker Than Water by Georgia Rose
As the overseas action steps up a gear for Trent, Emma has her own challenges to face. Loyalties are tested and vengeance sought when she attracts interest from an unwelcome source.
Because someone is coming. Someone who has Emma in their sights.
Someone who will turn her life upside down… forever.
Georgia Rose knows what makes a standard thriller. She just doesn’t play with those rules. This isn’t exactly a surprise. In my review of A Single Step, the first book in her Grayson series, I noted that “Her version of gothic does indeed involve an orphaned heroine, the grieving Emma Grayson. But from that point on, Georgia Rose grabs hold of the gothic genre with both hands and makes it her own.” In my review of the next book in the series, Before the Dawn, I pointed out that she’d done much the same with the standard thriller format. “She lays meticulous groundwork, allowing us to see Emma’s doubts and fears. The action rises to edge-of-your-seat levels in the middle of the book, followed by the piece you seldom get to see in other thrillers as Emma and her friends come to terms with the lingering effects of the violence that engulfed Melton Manor.”
But it’s in the final book of the trilogy, Thicker Than Water, that Georgia Rose both subverts and embodies the thriller format. Like the two earlier books, this can be read as a standalone. But take it from me—don’t do it. You might be able to get by without seeing the way Emma’s new friends help her rebuild a life that’s been shattered by tragedy. You might not need to see how her new romance develops from its first fragile beginnings. (Certainly, there’s enough steam generated between Emma and Trent in Thicker Than Water to convince readers of the ongoing romance!) You might even piece together the plots of the enemies who were vanquished and the ones still threatening the peaceful life at Melton Manor.
But you would still miss important clues. You wouldn’t be looking for an explanation of the mysterious arrival of the job advert that sent Emma to the Manor in Book 1. You couldn’t wonder about the unknown guardian angel who saved her and her friends and then disappeared in Book 2. Or the tiny clues and hints that there was something…unexplained about Emma’s background.
If you do start with Thicker Than Water, you’ll still get a hell of a thrill-ride. And you’ll still get to watch Georgia Rose take apart the standard thriller as she tells that story. From the opening scene where Emma is hanging on with both hands to the temporary reprieve of peace and hard-won happiness, to the looming realization that danger still threatens, to the unexpected news that ties her future to an unknown past—the action moves at an ever increasing pace, but on its own terms. Instead of glamorous scene changes that span the globe, Emma’s universe is the tiny, very-British, very rural world of Melton Manor, village, and pub. Instead of car chases and cliffhangers, her enemies target her home. Instead of a deadline or timer ticking down to disaster, there is an inescapable countdown that is both more universal and immediately personal.
And very best of all, in what I now recognize as Georgia’s signature style, we see the aftermath. What happens after the villains do their worst? What does it mean for the survivors? And what is the cost of victory?
Five stars for Thicker Than Water, a thriller that thinks, that takes time to build relationships, and that charts the aftermath. This is such a satisfying conclusion to a terrific series. I would be sad to say goodbye, except for two things. First, this is clearly a series that I’ll reread often. And second, Georgia has included a special gift at the end, the perfect little present for those who’ve made the journey with Emma and her friends. No peeking!
*I received this book for free from the publisher or author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.*
Book Title: Thicker Than Water, Book 3 of The Grayson Trilogy
Author: Georgia Rose
Genre: Thriller with romantic elements
Publisher:Three Shires Publishing; 1st edition (September 18, 2015)
Length: 229 pages
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