August 29th 2013
The précis of this novel about a retired Police Detective investigating a missing family for a female friend set out an interesting story to come, but between jumping from past to present and first person to third person, it proved difficult to settle into a smooth read, requiring too much adjustment of reading style and not inconsiderable thought process to weave the progress of the story into a coherent path.
Over-elaborate descriptions of simple tasks, flowery language and too much information made for a rough, overcomplicated narrative and I found myself having to stop, reassess and occasionally even backtrack in order to put events into order. This proved not the best way to try and follow what should have been a gripping investigative thriller where the plot, twists and turns slowly unravelled to reveal the real story.
The characters were quite believable but had too much background information clouding their current places in the story. There was far too much incidental detail throughout, and I found myself skimming through weather details, descriptions of houses and areas, graphic geographic detail, and non-relevant personal information of characters to try and keep the pace of the unfolding story alive.
As the plot unwound, the narrative fell to first person only, which tended to make the previous third person storyline irrelevant, and eventually the main character became just too perfect in his role, escaping from impossible situations whilst seamlessly knitting together a very convoluted plot far too easily, resulting in an improbably happy ending.
My thanks to Real Readers for an advance proof copy of this book and to JDB who kindly provided this guest review.