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==Synopsis of the book:==
Daniel Whelan's life has hit rock bottom. For years he was happy in the Police force as a dog handler until he was pushed out after he reported some drugs disappearing in a raid. This was followed by the break up of his marriage. The only good thing that has happened is he managed to keep his Police dog Taz who now lives with him in his new flat in Tavistock. He has just managed to get a job which he quite likes after all the stress and politics of the Police force as a lorry driver.
However his problems begin when Taz his German Shepherd rescues a child on the moors. This would normally be a very good thing but both he and the dog get their details splashed all over the local paper. And a week later he receives another distress call from the Moors as two young girls go missing. They manage to find the younger girl who appears very unhappy to be found and the man who calls himself her father is not happy to bring the Police or Search and Rescue in. Daniel leaves them to it as his dog is exhausted by the work, but he wonders why the girl seemed so terrified of her father and why he acted so strangely.
==My thoughts on the novel:==
Overall I thought this was a good exciting suspense story. It was written by an author I had never heard of let alone read anything by them. So I really didn't know what to expect when I first picked it up, but I have to say I was really impressed by the standard of writing in this story and based in this I must look to see what her other novels are like.
In total Stacey Lyndon has written seven novels in her short writing career. This English author by profession is an animal portrait artist but she she writes full time. With this book being her latest publication having been written in 2010. For me on this performance she is a very accomplished writer and very able to tell a winding and well thought out story.
I found this book at my local charity shop a few weeks ago. I was surprised by firstly the books excellent condition as it looked like new and how recently it had been written. Although I was not sure if I should purchase it or not despite it only costing one pound. The reason for this is it usually takes me at least a book to get used to and enjoy a new authors work and as I had not even heard anything about this author be it good or bad I wasn't sure if it was worth the risk.
The novels title sounded quite interesting although I have read similar ones. I just hoped it would be something different from the norm. I'm pleased to say it was a bit different and as a result it helped my enjoyment of it. It was the summary that persuaded me to buy it. In total it was three paragraphs long and actually quite short, but I liked the concepts it showed. I liked the idea of Daniel and Taz trying to find missing children on the Moors and this strange reaction he encountered on finding one of the missing girls.
Added to this I liked the fact their where three compliments written specifically about this book. That for me is unusual as they will usually comment on the author's general standard of work not the piece of fiction you are just about to read. And I found this wetted my appetite too as it talked about this being a great mystery and with some amazing descriptions of the Devon countryside. Which for me would always be interesting as I used to live down there and its something I still miss.
The story started very appropriately with a prologue. Although having now read the book I would probably quite harshly say that this was not necessary in the context of the story. The reason I say this was it was not directly related to the story. Although I must admit is did have me intrigued and I wanted to know where it fitted in. And my answer to that is it didn't really!! But I kept looking to see if it did and only now I can why it was included. What I would have preferred was to learn a little about the Daniel and Taz relationship and a little about Daniel's past.
When the story began in earnest I was immediately drawn to it. I liked the idea of the dog saving a child on the Moors and from this him being a local hero and one who was in demand. I also liked the mystery that surrounded Daniel. As for much of the story you did not know the circumstances behind why he was forced out of the Police force. I found the writing style was very easy to read but with some wonderful descriptions particularly of the beautiful Moors.
What really appealed to me about the story was that Daniel's life was far from perfect. And he certainly had more problems than most of us in his private life. As a result I found I really warmed to him as a character, and I particularly enjoyed his special relationship with his dog. A dog for a lover of animals is always positive aspect and especially when this animal had become his best friend and one he relied on for support and love.
The story had a really good pace about it and it was full of suspense. And despite it not being a real classic mystery I was drawn to the suspense that accompanied the story the whole way through. Yes there was mystery but I must admit for me most of the mystery to was obvious and I would have liked a little more surprises in this field. But the suspense was excellent as the author built up a good deal of excitement and intrigue as events in the story unfolded.
For me the best part of the story was the exciting last few chapters in the story. This was fast paced, well written and very exciting. As a result I found I could not stop reading the last few chapters, I had to find out what was going to happen. This was helped by excellent writing to really build the suspense and sense of danger, that helped me imagine I was in the middle of what was happening. With an ending that was understandable and made sense, yes I would have liked a prologue that advised us what happened to key characters in the story a few months down the line, but by doing without I could decide what happened next to them.
Daniel Whelan was the star of the novel. I liked him because he was just an average man who was down on his luck. I found him easy to relate to and basically had a good heart which got him into trouble as he was too willing to help others. His relationship with his dog Taz was wonderful and there was plenty in his personal life that was interesting and made you want to know more about him. Although I did think his boss was unlike most bosses I have ever know and was very kind and supportive.
The books length was quite short at 224 pages but I thought it was exactly the right length for this story. And despite it having regular chapter I would have liked to see a new page for each new chapter not continuing on the same page. As by doing this I did not feel I was having a break and it just didn't look as good as a result.
For my money I thought this was a good and enjoyable piece of fiction and would I would recommend as it was full of suspense. It was easy to read with some very good descriptions of the Devon Countryside. The only disappointment for me was the prologue which was not related to the story and the lack of an epilogue, although thinking about the prologue maybe it was just as well.
Publisher: Severn House
Year first published: 2010
About the author: www.lyndon-stacey.com
Thanks for reading my review.
This review is published on both Ciao and Dooyoo under my user name.
© CPTDANIELS April 2012.