“ Genre: Fiction / Author: Christopher Nicole / Hardcover / 256 Pages / Book is published 2003-11 by Severn House Publishers „
A couple of months ago I read my first novel by Christopher Nicole 'Cold Country Hot Sun'. This I found a passable suspense thriller but nothing more. So I was keen to try another of his books, as I don't believe you can judge an author on just one book. And to my surprise there were several of choose from in my local library. So picked this one as I am interested in the world of spirits and the unknown.
About the author:
Christopher Nicole is married to novelist Diana Nicole. He was born in the West Indies in 1930. During his successful writing career he has worked under the following pseudonyms, Alan Savage, Max Marlow and Andrew York. In total he has written so far 104 books. The book I am reviewing was written in 2003.
Synopsis of the book:
While on holiday with some friends in the Bahamas, Frances Ogilvie looses her gold medallion while swimming in the sea. She tells this to an attractive stranger Damon Smith who shows an interest in her. Who to her surprise not only looks for it but finds it and returns it to her. She agrees to have dinner with him on his boat, where he hypnotizes her.
Frances does not take this too seriously, until she returns to London and realises she is still under his influence and cannot have sex with any other man. Luckily or unluckily he visits her and despite her repeated requests he will not take the spell of her. She is drawn to him and before she knows what she is doing he is completely controlling her life and becomes her lover.
She finds she is unable to confide in anyone around her and she cannot get free from him. This leads Frances into his world, one of murder and deception, which she can do nothing about. Will she ever be able to break his hold on her? Or has he made her his prisoner for ever?
My thoughts on the book:
I have been struggling to form an opinion on this book. As there were things in it I liked but at the same time there were other things I couldn't get my head round and disliked. On balance I think I would just about recommend it, but it was not a great book just quite a strange one from my perspective anyway.
I had wanted to read another book by this author, having found the previous one quite weak in respect to was not a serious suspense novel. Well this one was and to my mind it was slightly better than the previous one. I selected this book as I liked the sound of it following reading the introduction on the inside cover.
It was the concept that immediately grabbed me. An attractive lady hypnotized by a stranger and the need for her to try and break the spell. I thought the possibilities with this were endless and what could happen to her. I also liked both the title and the picture on the front cover of the book, which showed a doll with pins in it.
In the main I enjoyed the story, it was well paced and I felt it was definitely progressing and leading somewhere. It was almost telling the story of the relationship between Frances and Damon. It built up excitement concluding in a good and unexpected ending.
It was full of suspense and I certainly never really knew what would happen next to Frances. As there was a lot that did happen and I rarely saw any of this actually coming. In the main it was well written but I was not convinced by the author's descriptive abilities.
So what's my problem? Why am I not convinced by this novel?
Well I really struggled with his work when dealing with Frances's feeling and actions.
Some of the things that happened to her were very unpleasant and yet they didn't seem to affect her. I found this impossible to comprehend and showed in my opinion a complete incomprehension of a person's feelings and I thought it showed a glaring shortfall in his writing abilities.
I ended up thinking this author didn't understand people's feelings at all. It could be me and maybe I misread the novel but for me it did not make sense, especially as it was written through Frances's eyes. I found his lack of sensitivity quite shocking and as a result I lost a lot of interest in the novel.
There were a few other parts to the story that also made no sense to me. Again dealing with human nature, this seemed totally out of character but worked well in the context of the story. I understand you need to keep the reader interested with exciting twists but please don't insult our intelligence.
I found the lead character of Frances Ogilvie and excellent and very interesting character. I liked her questioning style and her desire for freedom and justice. The only thing I found strange about her was the way she had sex in a very casual manner with near enough strangers.
Of the other characters on the book Damon Smith I liked the way he was described and his actions. I would have liked to have known more about what he was thinking but maybe that would have spoilt some of the surprises in the book. I would have liked to know how he performed his magic on people.
One concept from the novel that I thought was very clever and well done was the Court scenes. The author brought these in every few chapters, they were skilfully written and gave nothing away as to what was going to happen later in the novel and made me want to read on to see how they had got to this point.
In the previous novel by Christopher Nicole he was good at employing humour and bringing in the most unusual characters mixes. This book was a more serious suspense thriller and I think this would have detracted further from the story if it had been employed here.
The books length was just about right to complete the story. It had regular chapters and something I have not seen for many years, titles for each chapter. The only draw back with this was it highlighted the key fact in the next chapter, which in some respects ruined the suspense in the book.
If you want a good story and don't want to think too much about it, this is probably a good novel for you. The concept was good; I just struggled with the author's lack of sensitivity and grasp on human nature. I'm not sure if I will try any more of his books at the moment, I think the jury is still out at the moment for me on the quality of his work.
Publisher: Severn House
Price: £18.99 Hardback
About the author: www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/n/christopher-nicole
Thanks for reading!!
This review is published on Ciao and Dooyoo under my user name.
@CPTDANIELS January 2009