13 Steps Down is a 2004 psychological thriller novel by Ruth Rendell. I've read another book by her (A Dark-Adapted Eye, written under the name Barbara Vine). That one was adapted for TV. I haven't particularly cared for either of these. I read this one quickly, just trying to move on to the next book in my stack. I don't care for the writing style at all. Some of it sounds downright awkward to me. I know there are a lot of fans, especially of her Inspector Wexford series, and I will read one of those to see if they are more to my taste.
a couple of sample paragraphs from early in the book:
The Cockatootle Club in Soho was overheated, smelled of various kinds of smoke and Thai green curry and was none too clean. So, at any rate, said the girl who Ed's girlfriend Steph had brought along for Mix. Ed was another rep-engineer at Fiterama and Mix's friend, Steph his live-in partner. The other girl kept running her finger along the chair legs and under the tables and holding it up to show everyone.
Could he persuade Colette Gilbert-Bamber to give a party? More to the point, could he persuade her to invite him to it if she did? The husband, whom he'd never met, was an unknown quantity. Mix had never even seen a picture of him. Maybe he hated parties or only liked the formal kind, full of business people drinking dry wine and fizzy water and talking about gilts and a bear market. Even if the party happened, would he have the nerve to ask Nerissa out? He'd have to take her somewhere fabulous, but he'd started saving up for that, and once he'd been seen out with her-or, say, three times-he'd be made, the TV offers would start rolling in, the requests for interviews, the invitations to premieres.from the back of the book:
Mix Cellini has just moved into a flat in a decaying house in Nottinghill, where he plans to pursue his two abiding passions -supermodel Nerissa Nash, whom he worships from afar, and the life of serial killer Reggie Christie, hanged fifty years earlier for murdering at least eight women. Gwendolen Chawcer, Mix's eighty-year-old landlady has few interests beside her old books and her new tenant. But she does have an intriguing connection to Christie. And when reality intrudes into Mix's life, he turns to Christie for inspiration and a long pent-up violence explodes. Intricately plotted and brilliantly written, 13 Steps Down enters the minds of these disparate people as they move inexorably toward its breathtaking conclusion.EW likes it, giving it an A and calls it "almost-perfect". NPR has an excerpt.