I love tearing through domestic thrillers as much as the next person, so I was thrilled when Pamela Power, writer of the hilarious Ms Conception, announced that she was launching Things Unseen. While her previous book was a comedy, I felt as if I had lost a friend when I finished it, so I couldn't wait to read more of her distinctive voice.
Unlike any of the 'Girl on/Girl with/Girl who' cookie-cutter thrillers from overseas, Things Unseen takes place in Westcliff, Johannesburg. This already warmed me to the novel, as I could understand the social nuances and picture myself in the location. I have always wondered about the lives of the people living in the grand old mansions in Westcliff while walking the stairs. I'm clearly not alone in this, as Pamela says it was part of the inspiration for the novel!
The book begins with the gruesome murder of an old woman in Westcliff. She is the mother of Emma, whose perfect Joburg suburban life is far from what it would appear. Now, this is where things get a little different. Reading Things Unseen made me realise what has been wearing me out about domestic thrillers. While these books have strong plots that keep me reading, they are poisoned by a pervading cynicism. Men are always evil, relationships always fail, things can never be good.
While Things Unseen has its fair share of dark moments and sobering issues, it is brought to life with its warmth. Pamela has a skill for balancing tricky unsettling content with gallows humour. She has created real, raw characters that bond in times of crisis (as people so often do). Yes, there are men that behave badly, and some who are truly evil, but there is goodness to be found in Emma's friendships and relationship (more than that I will not say).
I absolutely loved reading Things Unseen and finished it in two days flat while the jacarandas burst into bloom in neighbouring Westcliff. If you're looking for a thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat, but still give you a little hope in love, then buy it right away over here and come to the launch at Love Books Melville this Friday! Oh, and give Pamela a follow on Twitter too, you'll always be entertained!