Luca Veste, author of the Murphy and Rossi detective series has turned his hand to standalone psychological thrillers. With his latest novel, ‘The Six’, he goes into full-blown horror movie territory as he mixes the concepts of ‘I Know What You Did Last Summer’ with ‘Friends’. Those two mash-ups shouldn’t work, but with Veste writing, you know it will.
Told in the first person, from the point of view of one of the six friends, Matt, we flash back in time from the present day to times in Matt’s life when he met his five other friends and incidents that happened that shaped their relationship. It’s these mini-stories that help the characters to grow and become real. Through Matt’s eyes, we get to know his friends as well as he does, and we see why the six are so closely bonded.
‘The Six’ opens with the friends attending a music festival showcasing the best of nineties music. I imagine Luca had a wonderful time researching the tracks he mentions. I’m a similar age to the characters; it was interesting to relive the Blur v Oasis argument all over again. This book really should come with a soundtrack. Once at the festival, a man dies, the six cover up the incident and swear never to speak of it again. The story then fast forwards a year. It’s at this point I worried Veste would descend into cliché and the characters would start receiving sinister phone calls and jumping at their own shadow. I needn’t have worried. Veste is a master at character development and he shows the human impact of tragedy on real life people rather than cardboard horror film types.
That’s what ‘The Six’ is all about. An accident. An error of judgement. The aftermath and the toll it takes on regular, every day lives.
With a Luca Veste chiller, you know genuine scares are around the corner and no matter how much you brace yourself, you still get a tingle down the spine as the tension mounts, the horror rachets up a notch and the finale delivers a sucker punch to make ‘The Six’ one of the best thrillers of the year.
As much as I love the Murphy and Rossi series and hope Veste returns to detective fiction at some point, I’m very happy with this standalone thriller and I cannot wait to see what he comes up with next. A few more like this under his belt and Veste could become the British Stephen King.