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Found Wanting - Robert Goddard

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Author: Robert Goddard / Format: Paperback / Date of publication: 25 September 2009 / Genre: Crime & Thriller / Subcategory: Thriller / Suspense General / Publisher: Transworld Publishers Ltd / Title: Found Wanting / ISBN 13: 9780552159852 / ISBN 10: 0552159852 / Alternative EAN: 9780552156813

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      07.07.2012 10:40
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      One story too far

      ==Synopsis of the book:==

      Richard Eusden is a man in his early forties. He is on his way to his work as a civil servant when he is picked up by his ex-wife Gemma. Who advises him they need to talk urgently. This is a surprise to him as they haven't spoken for years, after she left him for his oldest friend Marty Hewitson. However Richard soon discovers it is about him she wishes to talk. As she has some very sad news to share with him, revealing that Marty only has a few months to live.


      Richard although not in contact any longer with Marty is saddened by the news. But it is not the main reason she has so urgently taken him. Marty has requested that he needs a favour and they are the only two people he trusts to forfil his last request. He reluctantly agrees to take a well worn brief case that belonged to Marty's Grandfather over to him in Germany. And is disappointed that Gemma cannot go with him as she has other business to attend to.


      Richard sets out on a strange mission which in theory should take a few hours but very soon becomes much more complicated and exciting. When it is not Marty but a friend of his that meets him off the train. He soon discovers the contents of this briefcase are associated with a time just before the Russian revolution when Clem Hewitson claimed to have met the Russian Royal Family shortly before they were all killed in the revolution.


      ==My thoughts on this novel:==

      For me this was a very disappointing piece of fiction. I really struggled to get to grips with the historical events and people I was being introduced to. I found it hard to remember who was supposed to be who and who claimed to be who. As a result I tended to switch of a little from the details of the last Russian Royal family and try to enjoy the rest of the story and not worry about where they fitted into what was happening now.


      However I also struggled with all the characters that our would be star Richard Eusden came into contact with. This is because as the story developed he was very quickly travelling by any means possible throughout Europe. The names where not English and I struggled to remember who was who, who was on whose side and what there connection was to the contents of the battered old briefcase Richard was carrying. As a result I did not enjoy this story nearly as much as previous ones I have read from the same author.


      Robert Goddard so far has written 23 novels. He tends to write action adventure stories that are rich in mystery and suspense. And while this story had all of these qualities I found it hard to believe in and find credible. I suppose I have read about a dozen of these and never not enjoyed what I read. So this was a double disappointment to me as I expected so much more. As I thought I would enjoy every Goddard story having tried so many of them. This story is one of his newer ones and was first published in 2008.


      The summary of the story I found on the inside cover. It was a good size with four paragraphs. It was the detail within it that impressed and made me really want to read the story. Although in hindsight maybe the author gave a little too much away of the storyline. As it was full of depth and immediately captured my immagination. I liked the concept of this respectable man going to help his ex-best friend one last time before he passes away.


      However even here I was struggling and the warning bells should have told me to leave this novel alone. As being met by an ex-wife is unusual enough but being asked to help a dying ex-best friend who married your wife for me is hard to believe. I am sure if I was in that position I would not want anything to do with either of them and in all probability feel betrayed by the two people closest to me.


      Despite this I started reading and found it quite an easy book initially to get into. Despite finding what was happening very hard to believe, I still liked the idea of these two old school friends, meeting up and seeing to changes in them. Although at this point this was as simple as it got as Marty was not there to meet him on the train and finds rapidly went from bad to worse for the pair. It was at this time that the action started and Richard had to find Marty and try and work with his old friend to help solve a mystery that was nearly a hundred years old.


      And while I found the descriptions of the very varied scenes good, I started to struggle to follow why people where involved with this old case. It was a story of cross and double cross and I certainly had the feeling that Richard could neither believe or trust anyone he came across in the story.


      The action came thick and fast which helped me forget my confusion about this Russian Royal family and who wanted the secret that Richard had. I suppose my believe in the story continued to wain as he was transferred from one European city to another. It just seemed to unbelievable for words and why people would be killed for a secret that had been stored in this old briefcase for generations was seemed ridiculous to me.


      Yes it was fast moving and full of excitement but it got to the stage where I could have believed almost anything the author told me as it seemed so far removed from reality. Yet despite this I found I still wanted to know the truth and what would eventually happen to the leading characters within the story.


      With a conclusion that in the context of the story that was believable and in keeping with what had preceded it. As it was a well thought out ending and made sense of the significance of this old case. And while I would have liked an epilogue so that I could have drawn breath, thought about what had happened and be told about what happens a few months down the line, maybe it was better to leave the story and make up your own endings.


      I think one of the main reasons I stuck with this book was its lead character Richard Eustace. He was nothing special in many respects, but that was his appeal. Just an average bloke who wanted to help an old friend and then he got mixed up in a world he would never encounter again. I liked his views and values and found him because of his predicament easy to feel for and understand. Because he basically was an average man in an amazing different situation and he wanted to find the truth and help Marty out one last time.


      I did struggle with many of his support characters with the exception of Marty. Because while the author tried to introduce them because of their unusual name they where hard to remember as they where unfamiliar to me. As a result I did not always know who was on whose side and who if anyone Richard should trust as everyone seemed to have their own agenda and making money was at the centre of most of it.


      For me the story went on far too long and I spent far to much time being confused by what was going on within it. Yes the author did bring lots of twists and turns into it but I somehow expected that and none of them really turned my thoughts or indeed to story on its head. I just think this was a poor story from an author that usually produces excellent griping stories.


      ==Conclusion:==

      For me this was a very poor example of Robert Goddard's work. It was a confusing story, which while it was fast paced it was hard to believe in. This is certainly a story I could not recommend and feel this was one story to far. The main aspect I liked about the story was its lead character Richard because he was so average and out of his depth you just felt for him.


      ==Other Information:==

      Paperback version:
      Pages: 480
      Price: 5.59
      Publisher: Corgi
      ISBN-10: 0552159859
      ISBN-13: 978-0552159852
      Year first published: 2008


      Thanks for reading.

      This review is published on both Ciao and Dooyoo.


      © CPTDANIELS July 2012.

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