In the novel Into the Web, Thomas H. Cook weaves the past and the present together in a suspenseful book that keeps the reader turning the pages for more answers. The title caught my eye first and foremost as it was mysterious and promised suspense.
Roy Slater, a teacher for a private school in California, returns home to care for his dying father despite a rift and a mutual dislike that has been between them for as long as he can remember. While in town he is invited to a crime scene by the town’s sheriff, the son of the former sheriff Roy knew growing up. What begins to unfold brings back the past and a mystery that is revealed. Roy begins to investigate the secrets and unspoken truths behind a murder his brother was accused of years before. In his quest for answers he begins to gain some answers to his questions about his own father and why his father is the man he is.
As pieces of the mysterious past are woven with the present, and each piece of the web is strung, Roy gains new understanding of his father, and perhaps new respect. What he finds out in the meantime sends him into a blinding murderous rage, that threatens to destroy his own life as well.
Throughout the novel the reader follows Roy through his search for answers about his father, and his brother’s state of mind when the infamous murder was committed. He finds that his assumptions are wrong, and that when things are brought to light, that the truth is something much darker and more sinister than he originally conceived. What Roy discovers as he’s drawn into the web of deceit, secrets and lies is that his own life will never again be the same and in some way a peace is gained between father and son, as well as within himself.
I like a good mystery, as I’m a reader who throughout the novel tries to figure the story out as I go. I like it when I’m surprised by the outcome and when it’s not made too easy to figure out. Cook keeps this one just shadowed enough that just as I thought I had it figured out, to my surprise I was very wrong. The twists and turns pulled me along and yet I find they were entirely believable and unquestionable.
Cook’s skill with this novel is in that he weaves the story as the title implies, like a web. I like to be drawn into a story this way as it makes me anxious to continue reading and excited about the outcome. You find yourself being lured in, drawn in and snagged into the suspense of the novel like a fly in a spider’s web. Intricately woven with details, flashbacks and innuendo, the reader is brought to conclusions alongside the main character, leaving you nodding and saying, “Yes! Of course!”
This is the first novel of Thomas Cook’s that I have read and I will surely be looking to read some of his other works, which include the novels Peril, Evidence of Blood and The Chatham School Affair. This novel left me feeling hungry for more of Cook’s work yet at the same time very satisfied with the resolution of the story.