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Until I rummaged around in a bag of books lent to me by a friend and pulled out Fallen Idols by Neil White I'd never heard of him. I scanned the back and discovered it was about someone killing football stars and decided to give it a go.
Firstly Henri Dumas is shot dead on a busy London street, no-one knows why or who did it. Jack Garrett, a crime reporter happens to be in the neighbourhood at the time and senses this could be a big scoop for him. He decides to go for the Team Captain angle and as he's from the same little village in Lancashire as the Team Captain, David Watts, he thinks he can gather sufficient background information to pad his story and then get an interview with the man himself. What Jack doesn't realise is more footballers are going to be shot, a brutal rape and murder from 10 years ago is relevant to the case and David Watts doesn't want to speak to him. Jack's crime nose is in overdrive as he starts to piece together what's going on but can he stop the shooter before more people die?
As this was about a premier league footballer I wasn't sure I'd be interested, football is certainly no passion of mine! Thankfully football is barely mentioned and this book revolves around the lives of the people involved. Jack is friendly with a policewoman called Laura which is very instrumental in how he finds out his information and helpfully his father is also a policeman. That did seem to me to be a bit of overkill, one police officer in the picture would have been enough to get the story where it eventually went.
Another problem for me was how dated the book seemed. When I started reading this it felt like it had been written in the early to mid- nineties and I found myself thinking how naïve and out of touch it was so I flicked to the front and to my surprise found it was written, or at least published and considered relevant, in 2007. It really doesn't feel that recent.
The story starts off well enough with the mystery sniper and famous footballers dying for unknown reasons and I got into it easily enough but sadly the ending, which should have been dramatic and revealing, fell flat due to being stretched out for too long. Towards the end it very much got a feel of "he said, she said" about it and became very dull and I found myself wishing the author would just get to the point and tie this up. I actually knew exactly how this would be tied up too so no last minute surprises to redeem this book I'm afraid.
I have to say I won't be looking for this author again, the plot was a good one that could have made for a glittering, exciting read but it just didn't. It felt dated and tired and slow and the only emotion I felt at the end was relief it was finally over. Not recommended but if you still want to read it Fallen Idols is available from Amazon for £5.49 or 1p used. I strongly recommend you borrow it from a library though just in case you end up as disappointed as I did!
I read this all day yesterday and I loved it. I couldn't go to work because of a bad back and this kept me occupied. I read it whilst I was sitting down and also whilst I was walking around the room to stretch my back! This kept me happy all day. So that's why I read it but what happens?
The back of the book is well presented with the who, what, why, where, when and how scenario - literally listed. It's short and to the point, much better than a paragraph. Henri Dumas is a premiership football player and the novel starts with him being killed in cold blood in the street. There are two estate agents also murdered in a nearby flat, why? This is the start of the novel and it just gets better and better. Meet the two main characters - Jack Garrett a reporter with a good friend in DC Laura McGanity, a single mother who has her own share of difficulties in a man's world organising child care etc.
The novel takes you through a variety of places in the United Kingdom (at alarming paces it has to be said!) with a variety of murders and events. It's fast but without you realising it. The plot is tremendous, the killer is superb and there are a couple of twists along the way that you may or may not see coming. I didn't see them all and even the ones I did see I was excited about them. It does get gruesome and in one particular place especially - of course with it being a crime/mystery/thriller novel and plot details spoil it so I won't share the information.
I felt over the course of the 500 pages that I really got to know all of the characters, although I wasn't sure about the two from Scotland Yard. I didn't feel they were fully described but don't come into it until later. I often feel disheartened when I pick up a lengthier novel but this has good print size and reasonable length chapters so you end up flying through it. I'm amazed this is a debut novel, I only hope he is able to sustain this level of writing in his next book out this year. There are two chapters of it in the back of 'Fallen Idols' which I didn't read as I can never read extracts for some reason.
This was a novel chosen by a friend for my book group and I loved it. I would've come across it anyway as I like this genre and often follow her recommendations. Regardless of that, I'm really pleased I read it. It was superb and passed away the day for me.