Oates, Joyce Carol "Jack of Spades. A Tale of Suspense" - 2015
Joyce Carol Oates is definitely one of my favourite authors. Her novels are always full of suspense, full of psychological meanings, full of interpersonal relationships. This is all of that and still quite different from her other novels. I doubt I would have read this kind of book had it been by any other author, I doubt I would have been drawn to it.
This novel is clever as always. It seems kind of short and I'm not usually a fan of short stories but this one was just the right size. The story is twisted and you can't wait for it to come all together, can't wait for the end.
I really did enjoy it, Joyce Carol Oates is just a fantastic writer. As mentioned in a New York Times Book Review on another of her novels: "After all these years, JCO can still give me the creeps." Well said.
From the back cover:
"From one of the most highly regarded writers working today, Jack of Spades is an exquisite, psychologically complex thriller about the opposing forces within the mind of one ambitious writer, and the delicate line between genius and madness.
Andrew J. Rush has achieved the kind of critical and commercial success most authors only dream about: he has a top agent and publisher in New York, and his twenty-eight mystery novels have sold millions of copies around the world. He also has a loving wife and three grown children and is highly respected as a philanthropist in his small New Jersey town. Only Stephen King, one of the few mystery writers whose fame exceeds his own, is capable of inspiring a twinge of envy in Rush.
But unbeknownst to anyone, even in his own family, Rush is hiding a dark secret. Under the pseudonym 'Jack of Spades', he pens another string of novels - dark potboilers that are violent, lurid, even masochistic. These are novels that the refined, upstanding Andrew Rush wouldn’t be caught reading, let alone writing. When his daughter comes across a Jack of Spades novel he has carelessly left out, she insists on reading it and begins to ask questions. Meanwhile, Rush receives a court summons in the mail explaining that a local woman has accused him of plagiarizing her own self-published fiction. Before long, Rush’s reputation, career, and family life all come under threat - and in his mind he begins to hear the taunting voice of Jack of Spades.
Tunneling into the most fraught corners of an immensely creative mind, Jack of Spades is a startling, fascinating novel by a masterly writer."