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All my family know I love reading, my particular favourites are either thrillers or adventure novels. So I was really pleased when I received this book for my Birthday from one of my Nieces.
==About the author:==
Patrick Lennon was born in 1964 and brought up in Cambridge. In his early working career he worked within Multi-National organisations, before turning his hand to writing. The book I am reviewing is his latest and third in a series that has Tom Fletcher as its lead character. Lennon combines writing with running his own business.
==Synopsis of the book:==
Tom Fletcher is a happy a contented man. After years working first as a Policeman and then a Private Investigator the 37 year old has now settled for a slower pace of life as a beekeeper. He and his wife Cathleen and twin three-year-old girls, whom he adores, live in a very isolated location.
However their lives are unexpectedly turned upside down with the death of an old acquaintance TV producer Dan Simmons. This man had been working with the Army and living at their barracks preparing to be sent with them to Afghanistan as part of the war on heroin production. Dan is found shot and investigating officer Captain Steff Maguire hears his last words telling her to go and find the Honey Man.
Tom is the Honey man in question and surprised when she goes finds him about the message as he has not seen him in years and has not received anything from him. That night a dead animal is deposited in his porch, a warning to stay out of things. But how can he when he does not know what its all about? He fears for his family in this exposed area they live, so he decides to try and find them before they find him and solve this mystery.
==My thoughts on this novel:==
For me this was an excellent piece of fiction. I found the story superbly put together and not for a moment was I anything but spellbound by it, you could say I liked it!! I thought the author set each scene really well that you could almost feel you were present at and see and feel anything around you.
However this comes as absolutely no surprise to me as earlier this year I read Lennon's first two novels 'Corn Dolls' and 'Steel Witches', which I also really enjoyed. This latest book was only published in 2009 and is definitely on a par if not better than these as it is less obscure. By this I mean the first two books dealt with going back to events in our past around Cambridge or the Fens. Where as this one dealt with a very controversial and topical subject of Afghanistan, so I think more people will be able to relate to this one.
So when I found out only recently that Lennon had written a new book, I knew I had to have it. Luckily I mentioned this to my Niece and before I had a chance to but it I got it as a lovely present. What I really like about this author is he writes about things he knows and understands and a region of the country he has experience of and it shows in his work.
What appeals to me about this authors work is he starts with a simple idea, but he uses his amazing imagination that very often leaves you very impressed as to take your breath away. At no time in this novel did I know what would happen next and I really enjoyed the clever twists and turns he employed.
The pace of this novel was always fast but not so quick that you could not enjoy the quality of the authors writing. It was the sort of book I did not want to put down, and lazily I spent most of Saturday morning curled up in bed enjoying it. In truth I had completed by Sunday and it left me with a warm satisfying feeling, knowing I had read a really fabulous book.
On this occasion there was never any doubt what if I was not given this one I would have purchased it without knowing anything about the book itself. Usually I will read a few pages of the story and the summary but I would have bought the book on the reputation of the author alone and my previous experiences of them.
I have only one criticism of the book and that is very minor. The books title, I found did not really reflect anything about the story itself. It disappointed me. He could have come up with many due to the depth of the story. If it was me I think I would have called it simply the Honey Man, which would have been more appropriate in my opinion. What's more since my last review of work by this author he has been in contact and I showed him this review and he agreed on that point entirely. It transpires it was the Publisher who wanted the title as it for them it had more impact than the 'Honey Man'. It was great to have my thoughts on the subject endorsed by the author himself.
The first positive feature even before I had started reading the story was the excellent summary on the inside cover. It was an impressive four paragraphs long and full of great detail, introducing some of the concepts behind the story and its main characters. I thought this was spot on and after this I was intrigued after reading it.
It started in a very unusual way and I thought it was very tongue in cheek and amusing, which is something I don't usually associate with this author. Although this humour was quickly replaced by the serious matter of a dying man and his last words before he died. I thought the idea of a civilian dying on Army premises was a good one as they work by different rules to the Police and are not always understood by the general public.
Probably sadly Tom Fletcher has become a bit of a cult hero for me. In this story he had withdrawn from society. I liked the idea of him becoming a bee producer and not only that but also his lifestyle and priorities had all changed. He now wanted to spend more time with his children and be able to watch them grow up, I found this very realistic and I liked the growing maturity of the man. Although I'm not so sure in today's capitalistic society how many of us could afford to do this, but a nice idea anyway.
Another great idea was that neither Captain Maguire from the Military Base nor Tom Fletcher had a clue why the dead man mentioned him. This was a different idea as both parties no needed to discover what would link Tom to Dan and try and track down any possible message he could have left for Tom.
The story moved around in chronological order keeping you abreast of what was happening in the various camps as the story moved on. I found this easy to follow, as it was very clear well each scene finished and you changed location. By doing it this way it added more mystery to the story, as initially you weren't sure how some of these characters interacted and would interact with Fletcher. Plus there were all well set scenes and characters within it, so it was always a pleasure to return to see each characters latest update.
As the story developed Tom realised he must for the safety of his family become involved in whatever the dead man was involved in. Tom for me is a very likeable man when he is trying to get to the bottom of a mystery because he uses common sense and his brain to get answers. What really helps is he explains what he is thinking so you know his plans, I find this really helps plus it helps you to understand his thinking so much better.
What I really liked about this novel is its believability. As although this is a piece of fiction you could actually see this happening, so it seemed realistic as well. Especially as I could see someone like Tom Fletcher getting caught up in the middle of it. And while I don't know that much about the way the Army operates I found what I was being told about their procedures and the way they work instantly totally acceptable.
I like the way with a Patrick Lennon novel you know exactly where you are going as he telegraphs to the reader the plan. Although he does add the unexpected and nothing quite goes to the original plan. In this story he split each day into segments: morning, afternoon and evening, I found this helped as you always knew where you were and the refreshers from each location kept you up to speed with all the newest developments.
The story at times surprised me but always impressed me. The way through very intelligent writing you were not sure who the top bad man was until towards the end. And even though you always expected Fletcher to succeed there were plenty of surprises along the way and these made the story more credible.
While the concluding chapters where the highlight for me. As the questions started to get answers. It was very fast paced and full of suspense, that was superbly thought out. I will not give anything away but a few things that happened did surprise and make me think.
The books lead character as all Patrick Lennon's novels so far is Tom Fletcher. I find him a man I can relate to, as he seems so down to earth, him being almost a recluse on his bee farm seemed very apt for a man who had already had more than his share of danger and excitement. I found I respected him more than ever before because of his new found maturity as a family man and I could understand his desire to protect them.
For me he is an easy character to like. He is honest, hard working and will do anything for his family. I like the fact there are no sides to him, what you see is what you get. I find I admire and respect him through the authors great understanding and knowledge of him, his actions always seem logical and in keeping with his personality.
This I also found with all the other characters within the story, although some of these did have an agenda they were working to. What appealed to me about these characters was the detail about them the author shared with us. So that you could understand and almost empathise with the bad guys at times anyway!!
The author main character that I really liked from this story was Captain Maguire. I thought she was a fabulous character and I enjoyed the way she was battling with her own demons in the story. And while you were never really sure what side she was on or if there was something the author was not sharing until towards the end of the story.
What's more this novel almost had a prized epilogue even though it was not called that and it was quite short. I liked the idea of this as it shared with the reader what was happening one month on from the conclusion of the story. It also annoyed me as it left one or two answers unanswered, so I will just have to read his next book to find the answers to them.
The novels length was exactly right to tell a first class story. With clear and obvious chapter breaks that allowed you to leave the book and immediately pick up the story when you returned to it. This story always had me on the edge of my seat or the bed as the case maybe. Lennon's excellent imagination always impressed and surprised me in this story.
This was quite simply a wonderful piece of fiction. For me better than his previous work as I really enjoyed the quality writing the author constantly displayed in a fascinating story. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who enjoys an exciting and gripping thriller. Maybe its time they transferred these books and the character of Tom Fletcher to either film or television.
Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks (January 2010)
About the author: www.patrick-lennon.com
Thank you for reading my review.
This review is published on both Ciao and Dooyoo under my user name.
@CPTDANIELS December 2009