Recognized as the outstanding Iranian writer of the twentieth century, Sadegh Hedayat is credited with having brought his country's language and literature into the mainstream of contemporary writing. The Blind Owl, long considered a classic and often compared to the works of Poe, chillingly recreates the labyrinthine movements of a deranged mind. The young woman who haunts the narrator is first introduced as a stranger with jet-black hair and wide, haunting eyes. She creeps into the narrator's room but he realizes, upon touching her, that she is lifeless and cold. The narrator, a painter and opium addict, packs the woman's corpse into a suitcase and takes her to an remote spot along the banks of a river, where he buries her. Along the way he meets an old man with a spine-chilling laugh who becomes the first in a stream of recurring mental images: four cadaverous black horses with rasping coughs, a hidden urn of poisoned wine, a sheep butcher, and a small painting of a woman on the back of a pen-case soon follow. Through a series of intricately woven events that revolve around these images, the narrator is compelled to record his obsession with the woman even as it drives him further into madness. That the narrator is recording his confession for the sake of his shadow, which he thinks perfectly resembles an owl, only heightens the sense of terror: "My shadow on the wall had become exactly like an owl and, leaning forward, read intently every word I wrote."The eerie images, and their repetition, obscure reality and twist and turn into themselves, disorienting the reader and mimicing the distress of the opium-addled narrator. The woman, at first a stranger, becomes the narrator's mother, and finally his wife. As the book winds to a close, the narrator is trapped in his room, so dissociated from reality that his shadow appears more real to him than he himself does. The narrator finally takes up his bone-handled butcher's knife (the same instrument he has seen the butcher wiping on the legs of sheep carcasses), and proceeds to the beautiful young woman's room. After she welcomes him in, he falls into -- or springs upon -- her, consumed by lust and hatred ("[they] were twins. Her fresh, moonlight-pale body . . . opened and closed me within itself like a cobra coiling around its prey"). In the confused, impassioned struggle that follows, the man sinks his knife into the young woman's side, killing her. Emitting a hollow, grating laugh, he staggers to a mirror -- only to find that his reflection is that of the old bearded man who has so long been haunting him. The book ends with the man looking out of his room to see the crouching figure of the old man disappearing into the mist, and looking down at his own chest to see maggots writing in the folds of his coat, and to feel the weight of the dead woman upon his chest.
How would you cope if your husband disappeared? One woman discovers just that in this bestselling domestic thriller debut. Kate and Pete have been the perfect couple ever since they were teenagers. Fifteen years later they have two young daughters, live in a beautiful London townhouse, and seem like they have it all. But one day, Pete leaves for work and never comes home. In a note Kate discovers, he confesses that he’s been unhappy for a long time and that he’s met someone else. Distraught, Kate later learns that he has left everything, including his mobile phone, behind and sets out to learn the truth about her husband’s disappearance. But is she prepared for what she will learn? When nothing is as it seems, who can you trust?“There is a lot to absorb and I soaked it all up like a sponge, round each twist and turn finding myself completely engrossed in the lives of this couple, both together and apart. This is beautifully and cleverly created, different to any other book I’ve read; expertly written—especially for a debut—I was hooked from the first word right up until the very last and it’s one of those novels which has played at the back of my mind ever since.” —Grace J Reviewerlady
The honeymoon is over—and his nightmare has begun—in this twisted thriller by the author of The Husband Trap . . . After his wife’s suicide, Scott manages to find love again with Casey. For their first anniversary, she has a surprise for him—but it’s not a good one . . . Casey has been collecting photos and videos of Scott that would place his teaching career in serious jeopardy. Holding that over his head, she intends to make him suffer. As the torment escalates, Scott desperately tries to uncover why Casey is doing this and find a way out of his nightmare. But can he outwit his vicious wife before she makes herself a widow?
Three gritty police procedurals following determined detectives in the north of England, now in one volume. The hard-hitting crime thrillers in this collection include:Dead Cold When an anonymous call sends police to a house in Sheffield, two corpses are discovered, their bodies battered beyond recognition. DI Liz Miller is thrilled to be assigned the high-profile case—and insists on sticking with it even after it’s taken away from her and she’s warned to leave it alone. When it turns out the victims aren’t who the police think they are, the mystery is blown wide open. Will Miller be able to solve the case and save her career, or is this investigation going to be her undoing?Cold Blood DCI Liam Bennet’s ex is part of a film crew looking into a cold case in her home village of Lampton, and she requests that Bennet access police files. He wants no part of it. But then their son asks that he track her down, and Bennet finds that the Lampton locals want him gone—while the film crew are nowhere to be found. Soon, a grim discovery in a nearby lake plunges him into a race against time . . .Cold Heart Liam Bennet has just quit the force to become a private detective, and to his frustration, his first case is a weird petty crime. Meanwhile, his old colleague is working on two murders with pictures of dice found at the scenes. When the detective is attacked on the job, it soon becomes clear that there’s an odd connection between their cases, even though they appear utterly random. Will they be able to identify a pattern—or is their luck about to run out?
When her chaise is damaged in an accident far from her home, the beautiful young Lady Athina Ling has no choice but to stay at a nearby Posting inn while awaiting its repair. There she is appalled to hear the pitiful screams of a young boy who is being savagely beaten by the ‘gentleman’ who appears to be his Guardian. After bravely going to the child’s rescue, Athina discovers that he is Peter, the nephew of the handsome Marquis of Rockingdale whose estate neighbours her own and that he, Peter, is the heir to a very considerable fortune.Seeing the child’s horrific wounds, the Marquis agrees to help Athina protect and look after him – but he also needs her help with a great problem of his own. Namely that he must become engaged to be married before Queen Victoria will allow him to take up the important position of State he craves of the Master of the Horse. Which the Marquis is superbly qualified to excel at as he has been closely involved with the breeding and training of horses all his life.So to help protect the boy, Athina agrees to a pretend engagement to the Marquis to satisfy the demands of the Queen. But the threat is far worse than either of them could ever have imagined. As they strive together to save the boy from his murderous stepfather, they begin to realise that their engagement is no longer a pretence and that, in fact, this is love!
How do you hunt a monster when you can’t remember his face? The author of Her Dark Past returns with a new novel of trauma, terror and missing memories . . . Lisa walks in the woods on a regular basis. But this time when she emerges, she is badly injured. Her wedding ring is missing. And her memory of the event is blank. Unsettled, she tells her husband that she was mugged by a young girl but insists he not call the police. It doesn’t take long for fragments of the truth to come back, though, and when Lisa realises that she was assaulted by a man and left to die, she begins to live in fear, seeing threats everywhere she looks. What if he comes back for her—and she doesn’t even recognise him? Even co-workers and neighbours could be suspects . . . Soon, Lisa discovers she is not the only victim and becomes fixated on pursuing the perpetrator. But is she really prepared for the horrifying truth she is about to discover?
The author of Closer “transcends the formulaic with exquisite writing on the level of Rimbaud’s Illuminations . . . an American masterpiece” (James McCourt, Los Angeles Times). God Jr. is the story of Jim, a father who survived the car crash that killed his teenage son Tommy. Tommy was distant, transfixed by video games and pop culture, and a mystery to the man who raised him. Now, disabled by the accident, yearning somehow to absolve his own guilt over the crash, Jim becomes obsessed with a mysterious building Tommy drew repetitively in a notebook before he died. As the fixation grows, Jim starts to take on elements of his son—at the expense of his job and marriage—but is he connecting with who Tommy truly was? A tender, wrenching look at guilt, grief, and the tenuous bonds of family, God Jr. is unlike anything Dennis Cooper has yet written. It is a triumphant achievement from one of our finest writers. “This beautiful book is a first-person narration of how grief grows and morphs after a death, and its style and naked pain make the reader feel like he has suffered a concussion . . . Carefully wrought in Cooper’s trademark short, clipped sentences. There’s no room for the pain to hide, and Cooper lays it bare with humor and striking honesty.” —Time Out Chicago “God Jr. is probably Cooper’s richest, most philosophical novel to date. If the cycle were a video game, this would be its Easter egg.” —SF Gate “Absorbing . . . carefully spare, pop-cultures prose that has earned him a cult following.” —Entertainment Weekly
24symbols is a digital reading subscription service. In exchange for a small monthly fee you can download and enjoy reading from our complete catalogue of ebooks on any device (mobile, tablet, e-reader with web navigator or PC). Our catalogue includes more than 500,000 books in several languages. This subscription can be terminated at any time in the section "Subscription".