Book review: Crazy Love You by Lisa Unger
A terrible childhood tragedy left overweight schoolboy Ian Paine at the mercy of cruel bullies… until a flame-haired girl became his friend, protector and avenger.
Priss Miller was everything ‘Fatboy’ Ian wasn’t… fearless, brave and wild. But now Ian has grown up, moved on and found a successful career, and shaking off the fierce, fiery and vindictive Priss is becoming increasingly perilous.
It’s easy to see why American author Lisa Unger has become the thriller queen of psychological suspense. With two million books sold in more than thirty countries, and a string of high-tension stories brimming with menace, mystery and frissons of the paranormal, there is so much to savour.
Here Unger returns to The Hollows, a sinister little town in New York State where strange things happen to strange people, where the line between reality and disturbing fantasy becomes blurred, and where love can be deadly dangerous.
Ian Paine’s school life was ‘the typical misery of the misfit.’ When he was ten, his mother was institutionalised for murdering his baby sister Ella, leaving him traumatised, overweight and terrified of everything and everybody.
But then he was befriended by Priss Miller, the redheaded powerhouse who became his salvation, rescuing him from the bullies who called him ‘loser’ and ‘fatboy’... and from his family’s dreadful secrets.
The problem is that darkness has a way of seeping into Ian’s life whenever he is with Priss. Even when they were kids, playing in the woods back home in The Hollows, he could feel it. For all her good points, Priss is crazy, full of rage and likes to get even with people who ‘wrong’ Ian.
Now that they have both escaped to New York City, Ian no longer inhabits the tortured shell of his childhood. He has lost weight, is a talented artist and his graphic novel series, ‘Fatboy And Priss,’ is a cult hit.
Priss, meanwhile, is still trouble, still high on booze, drugs and sex, and Ian is growing tired of late nights together trying to keep the past at bay. Priss is especially unwelcome now that he has met sweet, beautiful Megan, ‘the good girl, the nice one, the one you took home to your parents.’
But Priss doesn’t like change, change makes her angry, and when Priss is angry, terrible things start to happen…
Unger’s haunting thriller, packed with high emotion and high drama, is the real deal. A chilling mix of passion, obsession, uncertainty and moments of perfectly played-out terror, Crazy Love You takes us on a rollercoaster journey through the mind of a complex, compelling anti-hero.
This is an author who loves teasing her army of readers, and those adoring readers just loved to be teased. Is Priss real or the figment of a disturbed young man’s imagination? Should we see Priss as the threat or is Ian dangerously unstable?
From its disturbing opening gambit through the unpredictable course of Ian and Priss’s addictive relationship and on into a shocking and unnerving series of revelations and events, this is a clever, riveting page-turner from a mesmerising storyteller.
Crazy love it…
(Simon & Schuster, paperback, £7.99)