The narrator alone is reason enough to dig into “The Fury,” by Alex Michaelides, a bestselling author known for his psychological thrillers, “The Silent Patient” and “The Maidens.”
In his newest, Michaelides captivates as he allows his unreliable narrator, Elliot Chase, to directly address readers in a voice that’s at once witty and wicked. From page one, Elliot leads readers on a merry chase in a plot laden with more twists and turns than the road to Hana, as dastardly deeds unfold on a Greek isle with winds otherworldly in force.
The island was purchased by the late husband of Hollywood starlet, Lana Farrar, as a wedding gift to the movie star. Lana was famous in her day, the stuff of legend, but she grew tired of living in the fishbowl of notoriety in the States and moved to London. There the wealthy widow married again—this time hooking up with a younger man, Jason Miller, who was actually involved with Farrar’s close friend Kate Crosby, a British theater actress.
Once these characters are introduced, we get background on Elliot’s past. As a boy, he had a miserable upbringing, one that didn’t improve in school where he was badly bullied. His only solace was in acting and catching every film Lana starred in. Darkened theaters offered Elliot an opportunity to escape, the “kid” in him pacified—the “kid” that suffered abuse at others’ hands, including an older female author, Barbara West, who took him in to serve her needs, yet belittled him excessively, leaving Elliot once again feeling miserable and less than.
One night Elliot accompanies Barbara to a party where he sees Lana. He works up his courage to approach her and they strike up a conversation, Elliot trying hard to appear her equal. Elliot adores Lana in person as he had worshiped her on the silver screen. But as their relationship deepens, Lana continues to view Elliot solely as a friend.
It’s Eliot’s passion to have Lana love him at any cost that drives the narrative, one that finally culminates with a murder on Lana’s Greek isle, where seven of the characters, Lana; Elliot; Kate; Jason; Leo, Lana’s 17-year-old son; and two Greeks meet, the Brit visitors needing a respite from the gloomy Brit weather. But, wait, is that the real reason they have gathered? That’s for Elliot to know and readers to discover as more is gradually revealed.
“The Fury” is enticing, but at times confusing, requiring this reader to return to the beginning for another go at the plot, a reread that paid off mightily. This new thriller is sure to draw more adoration for Michaelides, a popular author who builds his fan base with each new release.