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14 Sep 2021
As stated before on this blog, the fast paced thriller/mystery novel is absolutely saturating the market at present. They usually follow a similar formula: protagonist lives simple life, revelation happens that send their world into turmoil, they spend most of the novel investigating the why of the story, with a few good red herrings thrown in for good measure, before the over-arching question is answered in the final thirty pages.
On the face of it, C. J. Tudor is just another author trying to carve her name in the market. However, with only three books to her name -The Chalk Man, The Taking of Annie Thorne and The Other People, with a fourth, The Burning Girls, being published in January 2021, she has already shown enough talent for the likes of Stephen King and Lee Child to take notice – two very high profile authors you want quoted on your cover.
Make no mistake, Tudor is undoubtably a thriller writer but, by her own admission, her preferences when she was younger stemmed to horror – devouring the likes of King and James Herbert while her classmates were more interested in less monstrous material. It shows: her prose has the conversational style that both King and Herbert boasted and when the violence comes it is fast, brutal, and very bloody.
In her first two novels, the narrative flips between the present, where the protagonist has come to face demons of the past, and the past events themselves, often told through the eyes of young teenagers – a familiar trope to anyone that has read anything by King. What elevates these fairly standard narrative threads is the undercurrent of sheer menace that permeates through them. Where most thrillers create tension by inducing a state of excitable anxiety, Tudor writes her novels like the horror stories of her youth. Relentless forward momentum is replaced with atmosphere, and chase sequences are traded for palpable dread. Come the end, despite everything being very much grounded, you would swear you had just traversed a modern gothic horror.
The fact that all her works, including her debut, have been published in hardback shows the confidence the publishers have in her abilities. And so they should. In a market that’s flooded with thrillers, C. J. Tudor is a welcome breath of fresh air.Her latest novel, The Other People, is out now on Kindle and in hardback.