I Will Make You Pay is a thriller about a journalist named Alice that starts receiving threatening calls and gifts on Wednesdays. I’ve been trying to branch out my reading a little more because I’ve been feeling a little burned out on SFF these days, but this book made me remember why I don’t read thrillers often.
The thing is, I think in order for a thriller to work you have to care about or connect with the character to some degree (to create suspense). Thrillers tend to focus heavily on secrets and twisty turny plots, so it’s not often I find characters in a thriller that I either love or don’t feel like card board cut outs. I also have grown very tired of damsels in distress, and we are reminded at every turn that Alice is a damsel in distress, between Matt, the PI who basically acts as her body guard, and Tom, the boyfriend, and Jack, the coworker, I never at any point in time felt like Alice was capable of sticking up for or defending herself. It was kind of frustrating.
In Gone Girl, Amazing Amy is incredibly despicable, and I wouldn’t say I cared about her, but that woman is absolutely not a damsel in distress. Those are the kind of women I want to read about. No matter how awful they might be. Any sign at all that Alice was actually trying to protect herself might have helped but she just refused.
I’m sorry if I sound like I’m being harsh or insensitive- I can absolutely see how a person who was being stalked would feel and is absolutely powerless in that situation, but I just would have liked to have seen something that said she was thinking of her own safety, either giving in and letting the PI act as her bodyguard, or actually purchasing that pepper spray she browsed online, or signing up for a self defense class. But she doesn’t do anything at all.
Anyway. I was worried the whole time that I knew very early on who the stalker was and I didn’t- so it had that going for it. There were also a few surprising plot twists along the way. (Content Warning: pedophilia abounds in this plot. It’s not graphic, but it is disturbing and I could have lived without it.)
Anyway- I skimmed a lot of parts towards the end that I just didn’t care about, Alice’s musings about her childhood, Matt’s musings about past cases. I’m still not sure why we were shown the whole Ian subplot. It was great that Matt was such a nice guy, but really it had NOTHING to do with the actual plot.
Finally, the line “I will use cheese wire on you” was introduced early on and repeated frequently. It made me laugh… which is not what it was supposed to do, but I just kept thinking to myself, and how the hell is that going to work? Cheese wire? It’s inventive I guess but I really don’t think that it’s all that threatening. And something about it is not very eloquently said? I don’t know.
Anyway- not a bad read but not a great read either. Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for sending an eARC for review.