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Corn Dolls - Patrick Lennon

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Genre: Crime / Thriller / Author: Patrick Lennon / Paperback / 320 Pages / Book is published 2007-04-19 by Hodder Paperback

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      29.11.2009 11:05
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      Wonderful 1st novel.

      ==Background:==

      I discovered this book while looking around a local charity shop the other week. I am a big reader and I was very impressed with both the variety and the quality of the books they had on sale. In the end I purchased three for just £3, which I thought was a great deal as the books looked practically new and all sounded on first glance interesting.

      ==About the author:==

      Patrick Lennon was born in Cambridge in 1964. Following a successful career within a variety of Multi-National companies in different countries, he turned his attention to writing. He does this together with running his own business in Berkshire. It is his crime fiction writing that makes people sit up and take note of his name. So far he has written three highly acclaimed books with a new one due to be published in January 2010.

      ==Synopsis of the book:==

      When a handsome young farm hand Jack Skerrit body is found dead half consumed by a farm shredder machine in Thinbeach. Detective Tom Fletcher is called in to investigate this unusual community. He is immediately disappointed to find the companies CCTV system was not recording at the time of the accident, which arouses his curiosity.

      As Fletcher and his partner Sally Moresby begin their investigation they discover some unusual circumstances surrounding the death. For example the dead man although penniless was staying rent-free with his boss he has £2000 hidden in room. Where he also finds sketches of the boss's young Russian wife naked. He unusually for someone of his age has several local history books that feature a group called 'the Wake' that was important in the 1970's in the local community.

      However next morning Ron Teversham the man who found Skerrit's body is found dead from a car crash. Fletcher discovers he was a member of this Wake Group as were the main players within the local community at this time. Strangely in this close-knit community there are two Russian living amongst them. One Ivan Gorensky Fletcher discovers is back in a town that his father died in, back the late 1978 when helping the local farmers repair their new Russian tractors that had been sold to them. Fletcher must get to the bottom of what is really happening in this place that is full of secrets and lies.

      ==My thoughts on the book:==

      I found this novel a real pleasure to read. I really enjoyed this book from the first page to the last, as it was such a well thought out crime novel. I have never liked the term page-turner but for me it was totally engrossed in it and really looked forward to my next instalment of it.

      At no time in the course of reading this novel know or have any idea what was going to happen next and which direction the story would take. It constantly surprised and impressed me, with its very clever twists and turns in the course of a wonderful story.

      Patrick Lennon has not written many books in his fledgling writing career. But to my mind the ones he has written have been superb. This is his first in the Tom Fletcher series and was written in 2006. Since then he was written one other 'the Steel Witches' in 2007 with the third due out in Jan 2009 called' Cut out'.

      A few weeks ago I read 'Steel Witches' which I thought was an excellent piece of writing. So in many respects I expected another very good book and I wasn't disappointed at all. For me this was a fabulous and it went back to Tom Fletchers beginnings as a Police Detective. It is really good to see how his live and career changed and it put the second book perfectly in perspective.

      What first attracted me to this book was the fact it was written by Patrick Lennon. I was very keen to read his first novel having really enjoyed his second. I checked a few web sites and read a few reviews about this one and the consensus was it was another very well written novel. At this point I knew I had to read it and was really pleased when I found it completely out of the blue in the charity shop.

      Once I had bought the book, I immediately flipped it over to read the very short summary on the back of the book. I was disappointed with it as to my mind it did the story no justice whatsoever. Maybe the author didn't want to give too much away but I think he certainly could have said a lot more and that would have enticed more people to buy it, knowing it was an amazing story. As it was it just sounded interesting and a bit spooky not much more than that.

      I really enjoy knowledgeable authors that write in clear and crisp way. That through the quality of their descriptive writing help the reader to feel you are somehow involved in the investigation. I think Patrick Lennon is very good at doing that as I certainly felt I was personally involved in this one. He seems to have a very good knowledge of not only this remote area but also an affinity with the community he created within it. He makes all his themes seem like they are part of our histories with logic and believable facts.

      No sooner had I started the book but I was engrossed in it. This is probably because the reader is immediately greeted by a death. So to start with there was an air of mystery about the circumstances surrounding it. The story developed in a way I was not expecting and none the less was very enjoyable and fascinating.

      For me the critical part in any novel is the story itself. For me this one was a wonderful and amazing one. That at times took my breath away, it was well crafted and superbly well thought out and explained to the reader. As a result I had to know what was going on and I found very often that was wrong as the author brought new factors into play that required exploring. I was usually surprised and impressed with the direction the author led us.

      What I have found in the two books I have read by this author is the amazing way he expertly runs two stories parallel. He leads you through the new present day investigation featuring Fletcher but at the same time he is telling you about the mysterious Russian's past. This gives you a great insight about him and provides some clues as to why he was in this town with a long and celebrated history of its own. The author only gives you so much detail he cleverly leaves out information that would answer your questions.

      I found both of these stories very interesting, well thought out and superbly written. At first I could not see how these two were linked but I soon did. The author writes the stories clearly so that you cannot get confused exactly where you are. A different print font always helps you and the detail is also so contrasting from the other story. It certainly worked well for me, as both stories were fascinating.

      The story was always fast moving and exciting, with so many possible leads to follow, most being wrong but occasionally Fletcher stuck gold generally because of sound Police hard work. With and unusual but exciting conclusion. This was not what I expecting as an outcome but one I could understand and except.

      However that said it was not as good conclusion as I had hoped for. I suppose because the lead up to it was so good and full of suspense and mystery I expected more because of the fabulous build up it made it a bit of a damp squid for me. I almost felt the author had run out of ideas and used a standard one just to get the book completed and sent of the publisher.

      I liked the concept of the mysterious Russian looking for revenge, but with Fletcher having no idea what he had planned. And the way Fletcher needed to go back into the communities past to resolve why things were happening now. But there was still more mystery to try and understand as other factors came into play and you were never sure if and where they fitted into the story.

      Detective Tom Edwards is the books lead character, he is very likeable, understandable and human in his approach to his personal life and his Police work. You get the impression from the author there is a lot of depth and interesting information to find out about him. Only a little came out here and that was so well written that it added mystery to him as a character as again the whole picture is not shared. Leaving the reader to read between the lines and come to there own conclusion about him.

      I find I have warmed to him as a character, as his background is so unusual. This is in part due to the depth and thought the author has put into his character. But also because he is quite a down to earth person that must of us can relate to. His past is mysterious but in this novel you get very surprising glimpses into what happened and how that has shaped his life. It certainly warms you to him and makes you want to know more and help him in his quest for the truth.

      In this story Sal Moresby, who was just as much a fighter as Fletcher was, ably supported him. There was a fascinating chemistry between them that made you wonder if they would take this a stage further is their private lives. I liked the way they worked for each other both desperate to find the truth. I think the author really got inside her head understanding her perspective and the way she would want to carry out her role.

      What is unusual for me in a crime thriller is the quality and diverse support characters the author employed. They were well written for so that you could understand why they saw the world as they did. I think any one of five of them could have commanded the story as they was so much of interest I wanted to know about them. I really enjoyed Ivan's story and would like to have been given more information about the rest of his life. I found richness in both his character but also the author's knowledge about him and his upbringing.

      The author is this story also offered an epilogue following the conclusion, even though it was called 1 month on. In which he described what had happened and what changed in some of the key characters lives. For the book as a whole this was priceless as there were a number of issues that needed resolving for the second book in the series to make any sense.

      The length of the novel was about right to do justice to this mouth watering and fascinating story. With the quality and the depth the author used making it an absorbing and exciting read throughout. One in which you almost expected the unexpected and nothing was as obvious as it seemed.

      For me I think these two Tom Fletcher novels would be ideal for transferring into films, so that more of the Public would enjoy them. As I think a television drama unless it was quite long would struggle to do justice to the story.

      When I have compared and contrasted this novel to the other one in the series I am pleased to say it is certainly its match and in some respects it is slightly superior. This for me speaks volumes of the quality of this book as I found the first one fabulous. Too often have I really enjoyed a new authors book to find the second one I have read disappointing and following similar themes as first one. This author does not do that and the concept and ideas are totally different.

      ==Conclusion:==

      I would totally recommend this to all those who enjoy a thoughtful, well-written crime thriller. This book had almost everything within it and was one I really enjoyed. The story was fascinating and so well told in some ways I did not want it to end. Now I have to wait until the next in the series.


      ==Other Details:==

      Pages: 378
      Price: £5.99
      Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks
      ISBN-10: 0-340-89828-0
      ISBN-13: 978-0-34089838-3
      About the author: www.patrick-lennon.com
      Year of Publication: 2006

      Thanks for reading my review.

      This review is published on both Ciao and Dooyoo under my user name.

      @CPTDANIELS November 2009.

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