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I read Simon Kernick's Severed recently on holiday. I could not put it down! I then read Relentless, I thought it was a good read. So inevitably I wanted to read more by the author. I visited my local library just yesterday and have loaned Deadline.
I started it last night. I have yet finished it yet, so this is a pre-review.....
It starts off with a woman named Andrea who receives a telephone call (the moment she returns home, the very moment)... demanding a ransom of half a million pounds for the safe return of her 14 year old kidnapped daughter.... She has 48 hours. She is not to involve anyone, especially the Police. So what does she do? She calls the girl's father, who lives overseas and doesn't know he has a 14 year old daughter at all. He immediately returns to the UK, to Heathrow airport when Andrea fills him in on the girl and what she knows about the kidnap; which is not much at all! She does have a husband and begins to wonder if he is at all involved in the plot.
She works on getting the ransom money together..... That is where I am at for the moment..... It is so far thrilling.... so I am going to get back to it!!
The first book I read by Simonk Kernick was Relentless, I thought it was a good read. I then picked up Severed, which just wasn't as good! I was put off Deadline for a while because of Severed, but this is what I thought.
The book doesn't tend to start out well. You don't get time to know the characters too well, and when you start to get to know them, you find out a twist.
It starts with a woman, Andrea Devern coming home. The minute she walks through the door her mobile rings, and a voice over the phone tells her that her daughter has been kidnapped, she has 48 hours to raise 1.5 million, and to not involve anyone, especially the police. She frantically tries to call her husband, which is her daughter's step-father, but to no avail and she realises he's also disappeared. You spend the rest of the book trying to figure out if he's involved with the kidnapping or not.
There is a random little chapter obviously in the mind of a man behind the kidnap, where he stabs a young woman. You don't find out the relevance of this until the very end of the book.
Simon Kernick does a very good job of drawing you in, and throwing in plenty of unexpected twists, which sometimes does leaving it feel unrealisitic, but on the whole his books are fast paced page turners, Deadline comes into that category.
If you haven't read anything by Kernick before I recommend starting with Relentless.
Having only read one other Kernick novel (Relentess) I was hoping for more of the same. Whilst this followed the same fast paced action, it was ten times better! The pages raced by as I started chapter after chapter, not wanting to put it down. I kept making guesses as to who was involved, thinking I'd sussed it out only to find my theories were completely blown out of the water.
Unlike `Relentless' this feels more realistic. There are still a few aspects of the plot that I don't feel were tied up very well but as with most crime thrillers it's easy to establish the crime rather than draw it to a close at times. Having said that, I felt completely satisfied when I closed the covers. Almost every character has a secret, but is it a secret connected to the disappearance of fourteen year-old Emma?
With only 48 hours to raise the money her mother, Andrea Devern, pulls out all the stops. She contacts the only person she feels she can turn to but at what cost? As revealed on the blurb, Andrea's husband Pat is also missing; at exactly the same time as her daughter. Therefore we have another clever point to consider - could Pat be involved in her daughter's abduction? It really is a nightmare world to be in and Andrea is constantly at the centre of this hell as it unfolds over the course of a few days.
I can't wait to go on and read Kernick's other novels. I already own `Severed' but I'll certainly be acquiring his other novels. His writing is consistent with him being able to maintain the pace he establishes at the outset; for me this is crucial in a novel that takes place over a short space of time. There was no point where I wanted to put this book down.
Right from the first page, this book leaps into action. No long drawn out descriptions of people or places - without even knowing what's going on, we already witness a savage murder. And this relentless pace is kept up right until the last page. When you close the book, you almost breathe a sigh of relief !!!
The timescale is immediately announced. A 14-year-old girl has been kidnapped and if the money (a cool half a million pounds) is not delivered within 48 hours, she'll be killed. The pressure is on, for her mother and those trying to help her get her back, and the sense of urgency and time running out is cleverly maintained throughout.
The central character is Andrea Devern, the tormented mother of the kidnapped girl. At the start of the book, I could really feel her pain and desperation but at times she just seemed too detached and manipulative. I know you would do anything at all to get back your daughter in a case like that but she just seemed a bit too cynical and calculating at times. And that detracted slightly from really empathising with her.
Similarly, for the other characters, the good guys had their faults - a common enough writing ploy to make them seem human and vulnerable so that we can still relate to them - but their "faults" were at time a little too extreme and violent. It's fair enough for the good guys not be be totally angelic and for the bad guys to have the odd pang of humanity but the boundaries seemed just a little too blurred in this case. The main "good guy", D.I. Bolt, apparently appears in some of Kernick's other books so maybe you understand his actions more if you have read the previous offerings.
It made a brilliant read for a rainy weekend though. Fast-paced and action-packed from beginning to end with more than one twist I totally didn't see coming.
This was the first novel I'd read by Simon Kernick so I immediately went off reading reviews for some of his other books and the only thing that worries me is that they all sound very similar, with almost the same basic plot and the same style of writing. Even the book covers are all almost identical with just a colour change (a basic pattern of a black book with blood spatters and the title in a bright colour). If they are all so alike, I get the feeling that it will be too much like watching a repeat on TV.