Creep: No secrets are safe
MANILA, Philippines - What initially piqued our interest in Jennifer Hillier’s thriller, Creep, was its mixed-Asian heroine approaching her 40s.
You don’t get that a lot in thrillers.
No doubt, this has something to do with Hillier’s own Asian background being a 100% Filipina born and raised in Canada.
But as we read on, Creep’s characters revealed even juicier idiosyncrasies.
Everyone has secrets
Dr. Sheila Tao is a Chinese-American professor of psychology at a university; gorgeous, kick-ass smart and respected by both her colleagues and students.
To top it all off, she is 3 weeks away from marrying a loving and successful investment banker.
Her secret? She’s a sex addict cheating on her fiancée with her sexy teaching assistant, Ethan Wolfe.
Enter Ethan. A handsome, charismatic graduate student with the world and all the girls at his feet.
His secret? He’s a serial killer who victimizes the women he falls in love with.
Put the two together and you get a cat-and-mouse chase of deadly attraction. Sheila wants to break it off with Ethan and set things right with her fiancé.
But Ethan isn’t about to let her go so easily. He schemes to destroy Sheila’s reputation and then destroy her.
The plot is definitely exciting. It’s got all the elements of a good thriller: a quirkily-flawed lead character, an exciting villain with abominable motivations and plot twists that will keep you hanging on to its pages.
But the aspect we found most interesting about this book is how all its characters seem to be hiding something. Even the “good” guys have something bad in them.
Sheila has her nymphomania. Morris Gardener, her successful husband-to-be, is a recovering alcoholic. Even Abby, Ethan’s innocent, charity worker girlfriend, has skeletons in her closet.
All these secrets make the reader feel that they themselves are on the hunt for the bad guys, looking out for whose secrets turn out to be the most destructive in the events that unfold.
A good thriller provides the facts of the case in a logical manner without sacrificing the exciting pace of the book. Creep accomplishes this.
It let us in on all the essential details of events without sounding like a dull police report. The whole time, we felt immersed in the events instead of being a detached 3rd party.
Hence, the excitement and anticipation for what was going to happen next.
A big part of the feeling of immersion is the amount of words the author devotes to describing the characters’ inner turmoil, especially Sheila’s. You can feel Sheila’s immense guilt and shame for betraying Morris and for not sensing Ethan’s true nature despite being an accomplished psychology professor.
It’s the frustration of finding yourself between a rock and a hard place because you put yourself there.
Elements of the erotic
There are definite elements of erotica in Creep.
Reading the synopsis, we even thought it sounded a bit like 50 Shades of Grey. After all, the events in the book are catalysed by a steaming-hot love affair between a teacher and her student.
Despite the actual affair making up only 10% to 15% of the book, there is an undercurrent of sex all-throughout as many of the characters are driven by lust and a need to satiate their depraved desires.
But despite the ambiguity of the natures of the characters, in the end, good triumphs over bad.
A love that is pure and unconditional wins over a perverted, twisted love.
An entertaining read
If you’re looking for an entertaining read that will never get boring no matter where you are in the book, Creep is for you.
Its well-spaced and well-paced twists and turns plot the way to a satisfying ending that sets the right tone for the sequel.
Freak is a continuation of Sheila’s nightmare, this time with a new nemesis and, of course, more of the warped minds and corrupt souls that thrillers are made of. - Rappler.com
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