Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Don’t Look Back

Who did it?
Why did they do it?
How did they do it?

Crime fiction has always appealed to me. I’m drawn in by the mystery, the ever growing enigma and the thrill of the chase. Time is never on the lead’s side as lives are on the line, the evidence points in too many places, and the body count rises. You root for the good guys, you want good to prevail over evil, and most importantly you want to know who did it. Who did do it?

I’ve read the first seven chapters of Simon Kernick’s ‘Relentless’ and even though I have been given enough reasons to read on, I haven’t been at all impressed by his writing style and head first approach. For what it’s worth, I have the “Uncorrected Free Book Proof”; the actual retail copy might have been sharpened up in areas. You might also want to know that it’s been quite some time since I’ve picked up a crime fiction novel. The last one I recall was ‘Past Mortem’ by Ben Elton, and that was over two years ago.

After seven chapters I am still yet to connect with the main character Tom. There is a little bit of sympathy for him and I like the way he thinks. But his character hasn’t been built up enough for me to be too concerned about his fate, not just yet anyway. At the moment, he’s a bit too ‘normal’, and Kernick reinforces this again and again. At present Tom is neither hero or villain, nor victim. He’s actually a suspect, but we know he had no involvement in the two murders which have already occurred. We also have no strong ties to the victims so there’s a ‘so what’ mentality to the novel thus far.

It sounds like I’m wasting my time reading on doesn’t it? Like I said I’ve been given ample reason to continue. Kernick might not have a strong writing style (in my opinion of course) but he’s got the plot moving at a rapid pace, and only seven chapters deep he’s included quite a few twists already. Some big twists mind you, conceptually he’s original and imaginative. Let’s hope its all going somewhere.

One thing that really annoys me is a twist that amounts to nothing. Simply thrown in for affect and then disregarded when questioned to make way for a more mundane and easy to wrap up storyline. If Kernick cops out I’ll make a mental note not to pick up any of his other novels.

Kernick seems to have also opted for dual lead males. A smart move as it has provided the reader with another side of the story and its answering questions that add to the narrative. I was a bit confused at first, and didn’t like the way this element was implemented, but quickly caught on and rolled with the theme. Tom is still our leading man, but Detective Bolt is nipping away at the lime light chasing strong leads while Tom is still unaware of what’s going on.

The book has a lot of wise cracks and is to be read at a rapid pace. Not as rapid as the movie Crank . . . yet not as slow as The Transporter. The chapters are short bursts of action or information; you won’t find your mind drifting away easily. It’s an easy read . . . not too many head scratching words . . . but no pictures either. I’m sure to finish it.

A to the . . .


Pope Terry said...

Ben Elton, hes a weird one, the young ones and other stuff hes done are really funny, but in real life I dont find him funny... off point I know but there you go.

Eugene D. Gibson said...

get yourself some Lee Child.Short straight to the point a lot of machismo.Just like the good old days.I miss the word "brood".

Dan Mega said...

Nice review. Very well done.

Ak-Man said...

P. Terry - Off the point but I agree with you. Every time I've seen him on tele I'm thinkin "Is this guy supposed to be a comedian?"

E. Gibson - I've got two more books to get through after this one. Hopefully I'll remember to check out Lee Child.

Mr. Mega - Cheers . . . I've almost finished the book now and it's a lot better that I thought it could have been.