The Fury

More of the same.

Jun 27, 2024
Dimitris Passas

In his latest outing, Alex Michaelides chooses to follow the all-too-familiar recipe in terms of narrative tropes and eventually delivers another run-of-the-mill closed-room mystery, perhaps the most saturated version of the genre during the last decade. In The Fury, nothing is reminiscent of the Cypriot author's fresh approach to crime fiction as illustrated in his hyped debut The Silent Patient and there are times that one feels like they've already read the novel, the sad result of Michaelides employing one cliche after another. How many times are the genre's aficionados supposed to expose themselves in the same story, told in an almost identical manner by a wide array of contemporary crime/mystery writers? The fact that the protagonist and narrator is a playwright adds one more layer to the triteness of the novel as it seems to be a solid preference among the author's peers. The Fury is more of the same and even though it is slightly better than Michaelides's previous venture, The Maidens, it fails to its principal objective which is to keep the reader entertained while turning the pages. Perhaps I had high hopes for this one, imagining a twisty plotline infused with elements taken from Ancient Greek mythology. Alas, zero. The story is set on a private Greek island owned by a retired movie star who invites a handful of friends to spend some relaxing time together under the sun. However, as all the guests arrive at the tiny isle, it becomes clear that there is a great deal of barely concealed resentment between them and the atmosphere gets more and more charged by the minute. Three loud gunshots in the middle of the night will turn the characters' worlds upside down while the harsh wind makes it impossible for other parties to reach the crime scene. Thus, the motley group of visitors will have to make sense of the crime themselves before another becomes a victim. If the synopsis sounds banal, it's because it is. Michaelides attempts to complicate his narration and we watch the plot unfold through several distinctive perspectives. The protagonist and first-person narrator struggles to come across as witty and insightful but his observations and remarks fall flat on the ground as the character lacks consistent development, as is the case with all the central figures in the story. Moreover, the tense changes, from present to past, prove to be rather disorientating, especially in the first chapters, and confuse the reader instead of embellishing the storytelling process. The final twist brings back memories from numerous other novels of the genre and becomes the last nail in the coffin for The Fury. I really wanted to like this one, but, sadly, Michaelides seems to be joining the vast majority of contemporary crime writers who simply don't care if their work is perceived as stale. It's a shame as his breakthrough first novel left so many promises for a brilliant career. I can only hope for him to reassess his priorities and make a spectacular comeback with his next work.

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