Griffin builds constant tension throughout the story through deft use of Eric's limited perspective of the weekend's events. Faced with unreliable information from Desi and accusations from the police, Eric's only certainty is his feeling for the woman he's chosen to marry. Desi constantly pushes back and lashes out at Eric when he inquires about what happened after he was knocked unconscious. Even though all signs point to Desi as the suspect in the brutal murder of two men, readers will find it hard to not sympathize with this character. Griffin’s use of a confined setting and with only a few characters serves only to magnify the violence that Desi has endured. The aftermath and investigation puts a strain on Eric and Desi's relationship, especially when she seems to blame him in some ways for what happened. Griffin handles the trauma, violence, and references to sexual assault with welcome realism and sensitivity.
The Axewill stir readers' emotions, and Eric and Desi's love story and the puzzle of piecing together what really happened in the cabin keeps the suspense potent right until the satisfying end. Fans of twisty, humane thrillers will devour this short, potent character-driven story.
Takeaway: A fast-paced suspenseful novella of violence, trauma, and trust.
Comparable Titles: Julia Heaberlin’s Black-Eyed Susans, Andrea Bartz’s We Were Never Here.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A
"Suspenseful and character-rich… A page-turner...The suspense here is relentless; Griffin does a great job of embedding surprising revelations into the fast-paced narrative, keeping readers thoroughly invested. Desi holds her own as a character; her ongoing turmoil is completely believable, rendering her understandably human. Eric's struggle to do the right thing by Desi makes him an endearing protagonist. The twist toward the end is both real and surprising and the ending heartfelt. The novel isn't 'just another thriller' but a deep exploration of violence, trauma, PTSD, and trust. A winner."
With unparalleled skill, Linda Griffin engulfs readers in a haze of tension that begins in the first few paragraphs and increases throughout the biting story. Key phrases and well-chosen dialogue firm up the dynamics between Desi and Eric, though we only get to know them in this period of turmoil. The way the author avoids laying out the grisly details of the titular attack is deliberate and successful. Without the burden of a gratuitous scene that could divert the purposeful flow of an impactful story, aspects of the assault are conveyed through searing conversation and poignant recollections, delivering maximum emotional impact. A compelling relationship drama with an undercurrent of mystery, The Axe turns an inhumane atrocity into an intensely consuming reading experience.
At just over 60 pages in length, this is a short narrative, and one that goes by fast. Eric serves as a reader surrogate; the story is told from his perspective, so readers only know what he knows at any given moment. This generates significant suspense, making this work a page-turner. Griffin also deals with violence and trauma in a compassionate manner, conveying a realistic and sympathetic image of a young survivor. Beyond uncovering a mystery, the novella effectively develops characters as they face unprecedented circumstances...One may wish that the story was a bit longer; as it is, readers are left to wonder what Eric and Desi are like outside of the dire situations that Griffin puts them in. Still, these goodhearted characters are easy to root for.
An engaging, fast-paced tale that addresses the disorderly impact of trauma.