I recently read The Pines by Blake Crouch and was that impressed I immediately bought Desert Places & Locked Doors from the Andrew Z. Thomas series.
Desert Places was his debut novel written some eight years before Pines and brings us into the world of a successful psychological thriller writer who suddenly has the tension and horror of what he writes about bought very much to reality.
Andrew Thomas has all the trappings of a success, a lakeside property, no shortage of money, friends and a relatively stress free life. This all changes on receiving a letter that very much turns his world upside down, the letter tells of a body buried on his property, the body is covered in his blood and has been murdered by a knife now missing from his kitchen. If he seeks help the killer will let the police know exactly where the body and more are hidden and he will be incarcerated for life. Instructions are left and Andrew must follow them to the letter to remain in the game.
The killer attempts to make a sincere connection with Andrew and teach him about himself, what he is truly capable of and a tense exploration of the psychology of a serial killer is the result.
The reason and culprit behind the story are interesting, although the getting there lacks true nerve shredding tension and there is a distinct lack of back story until near the end of the book. It is supposedly a story of survival in horrific circumstances at the hands of a killer without remorse and I thought the ending excellent but the lead up lacks something. There is however a great deal of potential and I will certainly read the second book in the series.