Thief, By Maureen Gibbon

Holiday log cabin: Great views and rapist penpal all included

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The Independent Culture

Suzanne is a high-school English teacher who takes a long, solitary summer break in a log cabin in the woods up in the country.

She places an ad in a weekly paper selling herself as a "great kisser, good listener" (an odd thing to do if you want solitude, but there you go) and receives a reply from Alpha Breville, a prisoner serving eight years for rape. Herself a victim of rape, Suzanne replies, and after an exchange of letters visits him in jail – and a creepy, queasy but wholly believable relationship grows. It's an uncomfortable yet compelling story. Suzanne's voice is both tough and vulnerable, disconcertingly honest, and fiercely readable.