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This is another crime thriller review from me, as I'm really getting into this genre now. I came across 24 Hours in the library, and although I had heard of Greg Iles before, I hadn't read any of his work prior to this novel.
Greg Iles is considered top of his game when it comes to thrilling novels so I was eager to review something for myself. 24 Hours caught my attention not just because of the blurb on the back, but because on the front was a note saying that this is "Now a major film starring Kevin Bacon & Courtney Love". I couldn't place the film, but it rang a bell, though I believe the film comes under a different title.
The book is a crime thriller, broadly based on a kidnap scenario. It focuses on one family in particular, that of Will & Karen Jennings, and their 5 year old daughter, Abby.
Will is a doctor, who, somewhat unbelievably in my opinion, flies in his own plain one weekend for a medical convention in Biloxi. Perhaps most American doctors have their own planes, but I know this is a fictional book and that the characters don't necessarily reflect the average family. That said, the characters do feel believable and realistic, making it a comforting book to get stuck into.
Without giving too much of the plot away, the book opens with a kidnap in the first chapter. After that, a new storyline opens with a new kidnap case, that of Abby.
Whilst Will is away, Karen is held by a man named Joe, whilst Abby is taken away and held at a different location by Joe's mentally retarded cousin, Huey. Meanwhile, another accomplice by the name of Cheryl turns up in Biloxi to keep watch over Will.
The kidnap is intelligently designed, where Joe finds a way of ensuring he receives random money for the safe return of Abby without her parents ever reporting him to the FBI.
Joe, who seems to be a master in his field of expertise, has successfully managed 5 kidnaps prior to this, with none of the parents ever reporting him to the FBI.
I don't want to give the rest of the storyline away because it's well worth reading. I can, however, say that the plot is original and entails twists and turns that aren't expected.
Throughout the 433 pages, this novel managed to keep me engaged and enthralled. Iles' writing style is slick and detailed, making it a vivid read. There are parts of this novel that felt like I was watching it unfold in a film because the plot, script and characters were so well formed.
The characters all demand some form of emotional attachment from you. The 'baddies' even made me like them in some ways, especially Huey (the 'mentally retarded' cousin), who's kind and caring relationship towards Abby was very sweet and endearing to read.
The reviews of the book read : "Iles is a phenomenal thriller writer" - Independent On Sunday and "A superbly crafted & clever book" - The Times.
This goes to show that Iles is regarded as a top writer, who is capable of creating clever and interesting plots and characters, and it's not just me who thinks that.
You needn't have read any of Iles' novels when picking this one up. I found it very easy to get into and hard to put down, and now I'm looking for my next Iles fix.