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Killing a Stranger - Jane Adams

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Hardcover: 224 pages / Publisher: Severn House / Published: 2 Feb 2006

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      16.12.2012 10:21
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      Disappointing mystery

      ==Synopsis of the book:==

      Teenager Rob Beresford arrives home late one night covered in blood. All he will tell his mother Clara is that she must call the Police, he is not hurt and that he has killed a man down by the canal. She agrees to do this and while she does he disappears out the back of the house. Hours later his body is also discovered this time in the canal he appears to have drowned.

      The Police quickly find the man with a stab wound by the canal is Adam Hensel but they can find any rhyme or reason why Rob would have killed him because as far as they are concerned and talking to his friends and family he did not know the man. One of Rob's friends approach Naomi Blake who as well as being the partner of Alec a leading Detective was once in the force herself until she lost her sight, while involved with an incident on duty. Naomi and Alec find themselves drawn into the case as Rob's friend Patrick is also a friend of theirs and he wants to know what happened that fateful night.

      ==My opinion of the novel:==

      For me this as a very average crime thriller and one I expected so much more from. The reason for this was I felt all the elements for a great mystery were there but somehow I felt the book never really delivered. In many ways I thought the book lacked a decent ending and left me flat and disappointed and made me question if all the effort of reading was really worth it.

      I had previously read ' Legacy of Lies' by this author in the same series and I felt exactly same about the story. That to me is strange, but at least it provides either I'm consistent in my views on this writer or I lack imagination I hope it's the former!! I always think a good end to any story is paramount and a good conclusion to any thriller a real necessity but this had neither and left me with a sour taste in the mouth.

      Jane Adams is an English author who lives in Leicestershire. Her début novel 'The Greenway' was short-listed for the CWA John Creasey Award in 1995. So far in her successful literacy career she has written 23 novels. Of these seven are in the Naomi Blake series of which 'Killing a Stranger is the fourth story and was first published in 2006.

      Having only found my previous attempt to read a Jane Adams book average I was keen to try another and see how it compared. As I do not think you can judge a writer on one offering as certainly for me it takes me a while to get used to their writing style and the characters they create. So when I saw this book in hardback version at a local car-boot sale I was keen to know more about it.

      I thought the novels title was an excellent one. That is because it is such an unusual thing to happen and why should anyone want to kill someone they do not know? So that alone would make me interested in any book. Then I noticed it was in the Naomi Blake series and having tried the one previously I wanted to try another. The summary of the story really sold the story to me. It was three good paragraphs long and I really liked the concepts the author introduced the reader to. And with the book only costing a pound for the hardback version I thought I could not go far wrong.

      No sooner had I started reading the short but interesting prologue but I felt engrossed in the story. That is because of Rob arrived back home covered in someone else's blood claiming he had killed a man and asking his mother to call the Police. I liked a mystery that starts as soon as the story starts and preamble and introducing the characters to the reader always bores me, I much rather get involved in the action as soon as possible.

      I found the story interesting and I really like the way the author creates real mystery and suspense within it. I enjoyed the way it started to develop although admittedly at odd times I was struggling to remember exactly who was who and the occasional reminder might have helped me. It all seemed in place for a really riveting investigation and because of the style of print and the good use of setting the scene I found it generally a well written story.

      However from about half way through I started getting more critical of what I was reading. I kept expecting Naomi who in theory is the mysteries leading character was playing only a passive role. It seemed such a shame as the concept of a blind ex-Police woman seemed an excellent one and I kept expecting her to take over and unofficially run the investigation. It seemed bizarre and I really think the author missed a trick here as it would make the book a unique selling point as far as I am concerned.

      Not only that but with all the great concepts the author initially introduced I started to feel not much was happening within the story. It all seemed a bit slow and telegraphed to the reader exactly what was happening . And while it was still easy to read I found myself waiting for the next clever twist to help me see the answers. And yes while there were a few of these I felt the story needed one big and important twist within it towards the end that would turn everything on its head. Sadly this never happened and the longer the story went on the less I enjoyed it.

      However it was the ending that really flawed me. For me it was disappointing and while it explained some things I was still not entirely clear what had happened. For me it seemed a little rushed and I would have preferred a longer more detailed end, as I felt there was so much that was missing it certainly did not do the original concepts justice. Although having said that the epilogue was a good idea and interesting but again it could have done with being expanded. As it lacked the insight into the characters thoughts and feelings that I would have expected.

      Although Naomi Blake was the stories lead character in theory, I found in reality it was her boyfriend Alec who seemed to do most of the investigating. And while this is understandable with him still being a Detective for me it was very disappointing. That is because I liked Naomi and thought she was a very good and interesting personality, the longer the story went on the less she seemed involved in it. This was a shame as I am interested in how she now copes with being blind after years in the Police force and had she been more involved I am sure I would have learnt far more about her.

      The story length for me was too short. I would have liked a longer, more exciting ending to the story. It was also annoying the amount of chapter there were in the story, in my hardback version there were 45 chapters and a new one every five pages. Yes this broke the story up but it was just too much and more detail would have helped build a clearer understanding as to what was happening and why.

      I think having now tried two in the Naomi Blake mystery series that I will not be trying any more. As on the whole these have been a disappointment to me and I would rather try someone else and hopefully enjoy them more.

      ==Conclusion:==

      Overall I found this only a very average crime thriller. I liked the original ideas behind the story it just it seemed to go down hill for there. As a result this will not be a mystery that I will be recommending. It was a story that never really developed and ultimately had a disappointing conclusion.

      ==Other Information:==

      Hardback version:

      Pages: 224
      Price: 18.99 New
      Publisher: Seven House
      ISBN-10: 0727863576
      ISBN-13: 978-0727863577
      First published in: 2006

      Thanks for reading my review.

      This review is published on both Ciao and Dooyoo under my user name.

      © CPTDANIELS December 2012.

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