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Killing the Fatted Calf - Susan Kelly

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1 Review

Genre: Crime / Thriller / Author: Susan Kelly / Edition: New edition / Paperback / 256 Pages / Book is published 2002-08-05 by Allison & Busby

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      29.08.2009 10:55
      Very helpful



      All round enjoyable thriller


      I was sitting in my Doctors a few weeks ago, minding my own business and reading the crime thriller that was my latest. When an old lady started talking to me completely out the blue about her favourite book and writers. She told me to try Susan Kelly, an author I had never heard of, so when I was in the library last week I saw a few of her novels so I thought I should at least give it a try.

      ==About the author:==

      Susan Kelly was born in England in 1955. Before turning to writing she was a freelance computer programmer for many years. So far she has written 16 novels of which 12 have been crime thrillers. Five in the Nick Trevellyan and Alison Hope series while the other seven are in the Superintendent Gregory Summers series.

      ==Synopsis of the book==

      Antony Lucas has finally tracked down his birth mother, the one who gave him up for adoption the day he was born 30 years previously. His real mother is the wealthy widow Elisa Weissman and together they slowly get to know, trust each other and build a relationship with each other. This initially puts his half sister Cressida nose out of joint, as she obviously knew nothing about him and feels threatened by him.

      Meanwhile Superintendent Gregory Summers is helping out the National Crime Squad, who is trying to catch illegal immigrants and the gangs that transport them into this country. He calls on Lady Weissman in his professional capacity, as she has reported a prowler in her grounds. What he doesn't realise is this is a girl he was once best friends with before they grew up and went their separate ways.

      Antony starved by affection from his adopted parents who also abused him, is a very confused and unhappy man. He sees Lady Weissman as a soft touch a lady who he needs to avenge for all the hurt she has put him through by rejecting him all those years ago. But she is far more worldly wise than she seems and more than he bargained for.

      ==My thoughts on the book==

      Overall I really enjoyed reading this suspense thriller. I suppose I was fortunate that I had no preconceptions when I picked up this book. It was just advice from a stranger that I could take or leave. So maybe this was an advantage as I expected little and was very pleasantly surprised by what I found in the authors writing.

      I had certainly never heard of Susan Kelly before this. The book I selected is the second novel in the Gregory Summers series that so far has yielded seven novels and written back in 2001. To be honest I saw a few books by this author and selected this one solely because of the title, which I thought was intriguing and full of possibilities.

      Once I got started on the book I was quickly impressed by the quality of the author's work. There were several different strands running through the book and initially they all seemed unrelated. But over time she skilfully brought them all together in a surprising way. So that on completion of the novel it had a complete, polished feel about it that left me ultimately satisfied that this was a well thought out piece of fiction.

      Something I did find frustrating was the suspicious murder talked about in the prologue did not materialise until 4/5th of the way through the novel. I kept expecting one at any moment but I was kept on tender hooks for a long time. I found this unusual to say the very least and I'm not at all sure I liked that approach. I like a traditional murder early in the story and the Detective then solves it by pulling together all the evidence and finding all the clues.

      On the positive side, this gave the reader and excellent opportunity to understand the facts as they happened. To empathise with some of the characters and really build up a good picture of everything before death struck. It was unique as far as I am concerned in this approach and one given time I could grow to like; it just took me by surprise on this occasion.

      While on the other side of it, I at times grew impatient wanting for something important to happen to really capture my imagination. I wanted more mystery but there was none as the reader is present when the death finally happens. In this respect you always knew the answers so for me the investigation was a forgone conclusion.

      In this novel there was always two parts to the story. So while the murder plot was developing the Police were attempting to round up the illegal traffickers and discover the sources and where they hide the illegals. I think this worked well with dual themes as you wondered if these two would or could in any way be linked together in some way.

      I found this story to be interesting because it was so different from anything I have read in a while. As I did not really have any idea of what direction the writer was taking us in. With clear and crisp writing that was always easy to follow and signposting. The chapter were short; with names that were merely a minor hint about what was a theme for that particular chapter nothing more.

      The pace of the book was quite slow until characteristically the final few chapters, when quite a lot happened in quick succession. Then once it happened it returned to its former gentle pace again. As the author finished off the story with a well thought out and interesting epilogue that completed everything off in a very satisfactory way.

      Character wise the books main star Gregory Summers was often quite conspicuous by his absence. Certainly I was expecting him to play a far more involved and active part in the novel. This was not however to any ways to the detriment of the novel as there were plenty of interesting and diverse characters to enjoy learning about. I just was surprised not to learn more about both his personality and his work. Maybe that is something the first novel in the series concentrated more on.

      As a result of this I felt having read the book that I still did not really know or understand him, as I would have liked. He was an unusual lead character as he seemed quite a thoughtful, a quiet man able to listen and respect other people's opinions before he made his mind up. Quite a difference from the usual strong-minded and also single-minded Detectives I am used to. As a result I did respect and like him for being so different from the norm.

      The author was very good at showing you a certain amount of each character and not until necessary develop it so you got to know and understand their personalities and the issues they had. She always described each scene superbly and made even the weirder scenes seem logical and in keeping with the characters personalities.

      I struggled with one concept and I found this hard to swallow but I will not develop it here, as it will spoil your reading enjoyment. All I will say is that it involved Antony's sister Cressida.

      For me it is the quality of Susan Kelly's written word that I will take away with me from this novel. She had a very clear path and told a very interesting and thoughtful story, by creating great believable characters with interesting agenda's. All of this supported by each descriptive writing so that you feel you are in each scene that happens.


      I would recommend this a very interesting suspense thriller. It had almost everything you could want, good characters a plot that could change direction at any time and it was superbly written. My only concern was how long it took for something to happen and I'm still not convinced by a death happening so late into a thriller. That said I will certainly be trying another book by this author soon. If I see that old lady from my Doctors I will thank her for introducing me to this excellent author and tell her I admire her reading choices

      Pages: 249
      Publisher: Allison & Busby Ltd
      Year: 2001
      ISBN: 0-74900-511-4
      Price: £7.16 Amazon
      About the author: www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/k/susan-kelly

      Thank you for reading my review.

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

      @CPTDANIELS August 2009


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