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Relentless - Simon Kernick

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Author: Simon Kernick / Genre: Crime / Thriller

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    11 Reviews
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      25.10.2010 08:49
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      Decent thriller without the engaging characters

      For Tom Meron it seemed like it was going to be like any other weekend. The kids were playing in the Garden and his wife was at work, that all changed though when he answered the phone and heard the voice of his old friend Jack Calley. It sounded as if Calley was under some form of duress and the last two sentences he uttered were the first two lines of Tom's address. Now scared for his life Tom decides to run and in doing so finds himself in the middle of a separate murder investigation and his wife has vanished. For Tom the next 18 hours would change his life forever.

      Having picked up my copy of Relentless a couple of years ago in Tesco's I had constantly put off actually starting it. A couple of times I'd read the first ten to twenty pages but it didn't really grab me. Of course with part of the book being told in the first person I was a little put off anyway. I've only ever found one author, Nelson DeMillie, who can really pull off that still of writing before picking up this book. The style put me off but last week Id decided that rather than start and stop again I would persist and have to admit now that I'm glad I did.

      I hadn't come across any of Simon Kerrick's other books before and as an introduction I have to say that this is a good one. The start of the book seemed a little slow and as already mentioned I'd picked it up a couple of times before getting this far with it but after about 75 - 80 pages the story suddenly seemed to hook me. Up to this point it felt a little lack lustre and once again I was on the verge of giving up but suddenly a spark in the story seemed to hold my attention and the rest of the book flowed past incredibly quickly.

      The concept of the plot works really well and combining the aspects of the story from Tom Meron's perspective with the rest of the story was done rather well. I'm always put off by first person narrative in books and unless there is a gripping plot behind it I tend to avoid them but Relentless seems to work. The events within the book are very fast paced and it doesn't really dwell on one occurrence, which really seems to suit Kerrick's writing style. As you get further into the plot it twists and turns to hold you attention and this can lead to the book being nearly impossible to put down.

      It's not really that Kerrick has created brilliant characters either. He brings them to life well enough and gives a good description of them but I didn't feel like any of them were particularly hard to like or dislike. They all seemed to be quite defined in the roles of good guy and bad guy and from this point of view they didn't really appeal to me as a reader. What they did do though was create a good basis for Kerrick to tell a very engaging story but the names and personalities of each character didn't make me care what happened to any one character more than any other.

      Possibly the best element of Kerrick's writing though is the twists and turns he injects into the story. I've always found that the books that hold my attention the most are those that aren't predictable and this one is certainly not. He holds back the information from the plot and on the characters until the right times and gives it to the reader in small doses that actually shock you with each revelation. Of course with all the events in this story-taking place over one weekend it gives him a short timescale to fit everything into, but I felt this worked well to keep the pace of the story quite high.

      Overall I think it is fair to say that I enjoyed reading Relentless once I got passed the first few chapters. The slow start was quickly forgotten by the quick middle and the equally quick ending. Whilst I didn't feel any real connection with the characters I think this actually worked to make the overall story more about the thriller aspect than the people involved. I thought there were still a few unanswered questions left in the plot but it is still a book I would recommend. I'll certainly be reading another of his books and am glad I finally read this one from cover to cover.

      Amazon: £5
      Amazon Marketplace: £0.01
      ISBN 978-0552153126
      464 Pages
      Paperback

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        26.07.2010 17:27
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        Another action-packed thriller from Simon Kernick.

        Having read a couple of Simon Kernick's other books, I felt I knew what to expect from 'Relentless' and I wasn't wrong.
        Kernick is indeed a master of fast-paced action thrillers which grip you from the first page and don't let go until the end.

        With Relentless, we are introduced to Tom Meron, a computer software salesman who is married to Kathy, a university lecturer. They have a nice home which they share with their two children aged 4 and 5.
        The story begins on a normal Saturday afternoon. Kathy is working at the university and Tom is at home with the children playing in the back garden.
        At 3pm the phone rings and Tom is surprised to hear his best friend from school, who was also his best man, Jack Calley. He is surprised because they haven't kept in touch for the last four years and initially assumes it is a friendly call to catch up or make arrangements to see each other.
        But it isn't.

        Jack sounds out of breath on the line, as if he is running. He asks Tom to help him, which is quickly followed by cries of distress and pain. It is clear that someone is chasing Jack and by the sounds of it, they have caught him. The last words Tom hears is Jack crying out the first two lines of Tom's address...

        What does Tom do now? Does this mean whoever was after Jack, will now come for him? Why has Jack gave his address? Tom has to think and act quickly. What should he do?
        Run or hide?

        As the first chapter of this book plunges the reader straight into the story, it does literally grip you from the very first page. Tom and also his wife it seems, are the killer's next targets and as Tom rushes his children to their Grandmother and heads off to the university to find his wife, who isn't answering her mobile, the action is non-stop.
        I do like thrillers like this where the action starts right away. The only problem with this is often the story then slows right down by the second chapter as background and other descriptions are explained, or another character is introduced. This is fine if the author gets it right and manages to keep the story flowing and not dwell on this for too long. Thankfully Kernick seems really good at this and spends four action- packed chapters dealing with Tom's actions after the phone call, before introducing us to DI Mike Bolt of the National Crime Squad.

        DI Mike Bolt is a likeable character, even if by his own admission he has a pretty boring life outside of work. Following the death of his wife in an accident, he spends his free time enjoying takeaways and Miss Marple, Poirot and Wycliffe repeats on TV. People laugh at him for this, but what they don't understand is he likes to escape the cruel word of violent crime he inhabits every day, where murders were committed for the most mundane reasons, and settle down with a couple of drinks, enjoying the escapism. I enjoyed his character.

        I am not sure I can say the same about the character of Tom. Whilst I didn't dislike him, I found some of his actions a little annoying. For instance, after getting hurt and needing hospital treatment, he asks the doctor for a mirror, explaining that he needs to see what his face looks like. Whilst this might seem a reasonable enough thing to ask, I thought it was pretty shallow given that at this point, his wife could be dead and he is more concerned with how he looks! Also some of the decisions he makes are questionable, given that he has no idea why he is being hunted. The killers seem to be after something, but he genuinely has no idea what that could be.

        As the story unfolds however, I did find myself warming to him more and found myself actually feeling sorry for him as a few startling and life-changing revelations are made. Not only is he trying to avoid being killed, he also comes to realise that his life hasn't been exactly what he thought it was and there are a few secrets and lies, which leave him wondering who he can and cannot trust.
        His wife Kathy, seems quite selfish and it appears that she has had an entirely different perception of what their marriage is about. Even the fact that she is also being hunted down by these ruthless killers, it was hard to find sympathy for her.

        The story has more than a few twists and turns before reaching its conclusion. I was quite surprised by a couple of twists and could not have foreseen them at all, which gives the story bonus points from me, as I love to be kept guessing until the end.
        The only thing I have noticed with all Kernick's books I have read so far is that the story and all the action takes places over 24 hours. It is very easy to lose sight of this, as so much happens it feels like a week has elapsed. It does seem unrealistic in this respect but that doesn't detract from what an entertaining and thrilling read it is.

        In Relentless, Kernick has written an action-packed thriller which is aptly named as it really is a relentless read. Written in both the first and third person, it flows really well throughout and I found it hard to put down once I began reading it, staying up late to finish it.

        Recommended to anyone who enjoys a good thriller.

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          10.11.2009 13:16
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          The best of Kernick's work - if you read any, read this!!

          Relentless... a fast-paced action packed thriller definately; a literary marvel? Perhaps not. Although the writing may not be amazing, the plot and narrative admittedly does draw you in and you become involved in the characters and their fight for survival. It reads easily, perfect for bed-time reading when you want an exciting book, and yet feel too tired to fully concentrate on something literary and thought evoking. There are no revelations in this book, but this is perhaps what is so good about it as though it is simple, it is so enticing, and leaves you unable to put it down! I have read many of Simon Kernick's novels which proceed 'Relentless' in the hope of finding one to better, or at least match the excitement which this novel does, and yet it remains that 'Relentless,' in my opinion, is his most impressive work. Good characters, good action, good plot - especially the first chapter. Everything about Kernick's writing leads you to believe these events could happen to anyone, and you in turn could find yourself embroiled within a race against time for your life. The ambiguity, and constant guess to what exactly is going on grips you and is inescapably good.

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            02.07.2009 20:25
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            twisting and turning the plot will have you reading late into the night

            The Story *************

            Tom Meron, a happily married father of two who's never been in trouble, and he is minding his own business at home looking after his young children. His phone rings and he takes a call that will change his life for ever. A close friend he has not seen in months, Jack Calley, a City lawyer, is screaming down the phone for help. As Meron listens, Calley is murdered. His last words, spoken to his killer, are the first two lines of Meron's address.
            At first Meron has trouble taking in what he has just heard, then he scoops up his children and hurries out of the house. Within minutes, a car pulls up outside, and three men get out. It's clear that they're looking for him. He's being hunted and he has no idea why. To make matters worse his wife has gone missing and is not answering her phone, and there is an unidentified corpse in her office. Merons world really falls apart when he realises the police are also after him for murder.

            My View ***************

            It is no wonder that Simon Kernick named this book relentless, because this book grabs you by the throat and just keeps going at a relentless pace. Within the first couple of pages I was gripped by the story of a normal family man whose life is turned upside down by one phone call.

            This is the first book I have ever read by Kernick and it will not be the last. The story just keeps you turning the next page as it takes you on a helter - skelter ride. Just when I thought I was getting to understand what is happening, the next page turns in another direction that completely throws you the other way.

            Kernick does not fill paragraph after paragraph with flowery filling wording, his style is direct, but not overpowering, and he is very easy to read. In this book Kernick captures the reader within the first 2 - 3 pages, which many writers do not, or can not do.

            Meron's character is likeable and believable, although all males like to think they could handle this type of situation, in reality we would all be scared witless. It is this side of Meron that makes him more real, the fear and hopelessness that he is feeling.

            Kernicks knowledge of police procedure is first class and it does show that he has done a lot of research regarding the way the police would be likely to react to this sort of thing happening for real.

            If you have plans to spend many hours on a hot beach, or are about to go on a long haul flight, buy this book. I guarantee you will not have time to get bored, this book is one of the fastest moving stories I have read in many years. I can not wait to get my hands on Simon Kernicks next book.

            The Book *************

            Printed by Corgie

            464 Pages

            £4.89 at Amazon

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              06.06.2009 13:53
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              It leaves you begging for more

              I read Simon Kernick's Relentless recently on holiday, after reading Severed. I could not put it down. I actually spent far too much time in the scorching sun because I was addicted.

              I hate giving away plots in books, but basically a chap called Tom gets a call at home from on old friend, the guy was his best man at his wedding about 8 years before. They haven't spoken much in 4 years or so. It becomes apparent that his friend is in trouble, danger and the phone goes dead but not before Tom hears his friend shouting Toms own address. Tom's quick thinking makes him realise that he too, along with his two young children could be in immediate danger, so he gets them into the car and makes a dash for it to his mother in laws, before considering what on earth to do.

              The whole book is set over the course of a weekend and is fast paced, leaving you begging for more.

              It has some amazing twists and turns and a great plot. It is a thrilling read, but does end somewhat abruptly, not living up to the opening chapter.

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              27.05.2009 15:25
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              RECOMMENDED

              Tom Meron and his wife are happily married, living in the outskirts of London with their two children. Tom thinks they are happy until he receives a call from a very old, good friend who he hasn't spoken to in four years. His friend, Jack, is obviously being chased and Tom hears Jack's final words telling whoever was chasing him, Tom's address and then to his horror he hears what can only be his old friends death.

              Being dropped from a happy life into one of terror, mystery and the unknown, Tom finds himself faced with more evil than he has ever seen and he needs to find his wife to make sure she is safe before whoever has his address turns up and finds him.

              Having just finished this book it is still fresh in my mind and I can say it was honestly quite enjoyable. There was nothing too major to have work out or think about and the "normal" thrill of this story, with the chase and the various characters allowed me to dip in each night without worrying about putting the book down. That's not a negative thing either. I like a good book to get my teeth into but you also need easy books that allow you to read for just half an hour each night or while in the bath. I am a busy mum and don't have time for marathon reads through a Sunday.

              The book was fast paced enough so as not to get bogged down with sentiment and emotion and the action was well described. I was surprised it was based in London and other parts of England as I hadn't known that when I started the book and I thought it would be American, so it was a nice surprise to read about home soil.

              Overall, this was nothing new in terms of the plot line, and the characters were believable without being boring or over the top. It was a nice easy read that kept me going through to the end and concluded satisfactorily.

              Nothing amazing but glad I read it anyway.

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                11.03.2009 17:51
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                Undemanding, empty nonsense

                Relentless certainly lives up to its title. Within the first 10 pages, someone has been killed and the main character, Tom Merron, is on the run. Who is chasing him, he doesn't know; why they are chasing him he doesn't know; who he can trust, he doesn't know. All he knows is that if they catch him, he's dead.

                From such a breathtaking start, the book rarely lets up, cutting from action to more action to even more action. Events whizz by at phenomenal speed, leaving the reader breathless.

                Yet, in many ways, this doesn't do Relentless any favours. Certainly, it creates an exciting book, but at the same time, it renders it rather superficial and, paradoxically, a little boring. After a while it starts to feel like a series of action sequences bolted together, with only the vaguest of thoughts as to how they fit. There are only so many times a character can find themselves in a tricky situation, but still manage to escape before monotony starts to set in. After the third or fourth occasion, the reader starts to become detached and disinterested. Reading becomes a mechanical process and the initial buzz of excitement starts to wear thin.

                The cinematic equivalent of Relentless would be Shoot 'Em Up - a film whose sole raison d'être was cram as many gun battles into 80 minutes as possible. The highly visual nature of Shoot 'Em-Up made for a fun watch, helping you to forgive its lack of depth. In the printed word, the pitfalls of such an approach become all too obvious. Without the visual stimulus, the book becomes very formulaic. Merron runs, Merron gets tracked down, Merron faces certain death, Merron escapes. Repeat for 400 pages.

                Which is another problem - Relentless is just too long, running for almost 500 pages. Again, the analogy with Shoot 'Em Up bears scrutiny. It had a very short running time, which didn't allow the viewer chance to get bored. It was short, it was silly and it was fun. It was also over before you had time to realise how stupid it was. Relentless is overstretches itself. Had it been 250-300 pages long, it could have sustained the pace and sense of excitement. At around twice that length, it seriously outstays its welcome.

                Inevitably, the relentless pace makes the characters suffer from being superficial and underdeveloped. Most books introduce you to the characters gently, giving you a few chapters to get to know them. Relentless, on the other hand, just throws you in at the deep end. We've scarcely met Tom Merron before he is in mortal danger. Whatever subsequent plot revelations emerge, whatever sordid secrets are revealed, they don't have the dramatic or emotional they should. And this is because the character is so ill-defined. Since we never get to know Tom properly, it's hard to identify with his suffering. You might feel a bit sorry for him, but there's never that level of emotional engagement which a book like this needs in order to work.

                The one decent character is Detective Mike Bolt. Whilst he is little more than a walking cliché (lonely, single, tragic past, dedicated, honest and decent etc., etc.), he does at least bring some humanity to the book. It's really thanks to him in particular, that Relentless remains at least readable. Bolt introduces a new level of interest and manages to engage the reader in a way that Merron never does.

                The plot equally shows a paucity of imagination - many of Hitchcock's films were based around the idea of an ordinary person being chased for an unknown reason. In this instance, it doesn't actually matter. The interest comes from Merron slowly uncovering why he is being chased and, with each discovery, his life unravels just that little bit more. Your curiosity is piqued as to why this ordinary man is being chased by ruthless thugs and this makes you keep reading to uncover the truth. When the secret is finally revealed, it's a bit of an anti-climax, but this is definitely one of those books where the journey is more important than the actual destination.

                All I seem to have done about Ruthless is moan, which may leave you with the impression I hated it. That's not true. It was an OK, undemanding read. Kernick has a very readable style and writes in a short, punchy way, perfectly suited to the plot. By not getting bogged down in descriptions or ideas, he can maintain the book's cracking pace Yes, this gives Relentless a very superficial air, but it is the right approach for this book. Too much detail would have been slowed things down, undermining the central concept. Kernick gives you just about enough information to be able to picture the people and places he describes, without becoming unnecessarily verbose.

                Whatever the criticisms, Relentless is a perfectly readable book. The fast pace encourages you to read it quickly. There is an addictive quality to it. You want to challenge yourself - to see how quickly you can read and for the most part, it is a reasonably enjoyable experience. For I might have moaned about its superficiality, it was a nice light read, which didn't require too much concentration.

                Having said that, I'm in no rush to read more of Kernick's novels. I get the impression he's a bit of a one trick pony and that his style and superficial plotting would soon become tiresome. I think I'll leave it at this one. I enjoyed it, but now I'm going to move on and read something with more plot, more character and more human appeal, all things which are severely lacking in Relentless.

                Basic Information
                -----------------------
                Relentless
                Simon Kernick
                Transworld, 2006
                ISBN: 978-0-0552-15312-6

                © copyright SWSt 2009

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                22.02.2009 16:59
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                For fans of lightweight action thrillers.

                Never has a novel been so aptly named. John Meron has a good life, which maybe he takes for granted, he and his wife have a nice home, two great kids, and they both have good jobs. One Saturday whilst his wife is at work he receives a phone call from his best friend Jack, admittedly John hasn't really kept up with Jack over the years, life has somewhat got in the way. However, Jack appears to be in some sort of trouble and is asking Meron for help. It is obvious that Jack is being chased during the course of the phone call and the pursuer has caught him as the last words Jack says are the first two lines of Meron's address.

                This sends John into a flat spin, fearing that people will be around to his home whilst his kids are there, as Jack doesn't live far away. He grabs the kids and takes them to his mother-in-laws and then makes futile attempts to contact his wife at work. Naturally worried, he then drives to her workplace and that is when things start to go very wrong for John...

                The book moves at a blistering pace and is one of those books that are reminiscent of an action movie - lots of happening, limited character development. Sometimes I find this type of book works for me, sometimes it doesn't. This book does work for me. Whilst there are twists and turns (it has to be said that some of these turns are a bit far-fetched), and lots going on, we also do get a bit of character development with Meron and with DCI Bolt who is working on a related case, and gets involved. I liked the fact that Meron was a regular Joe, and not a secret agent or cop, the idea that it could happen to anyone is intriguing (if somewhat unlikely!) and makes Meron more relatable.

                Generally the book is well-written; there are a few questions I have about things that happened near the end - for examples, when I look back in retrospect, Event A doesn't make so much sense now Event B has been revealed. Obviously I can't elaborate without revealing spoilers so you will just have to take my word for it! However, this didn't dent my enjoyment of the book overall, and apart from these minor niggles I would recommend this book to fans of the action book genre. I have not read many of this type in the past, but this is one is one of the better ones and I would suggest it makes a good introduction to the genre. If you are after a literary classic this isn't going to suit, but for a good, easy read on the beach or a long journey this one is worth a go.

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                  22.11.2008 19:32
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                  Relentless, a good thriller.

                  Relentless

                  Simon Kernick

                  I bought this book from WH Smith as part of a three for two deal (or was it buy one, get one 1/2 price?), anyway, it would have cost £6.99 otherwise.

                  The cover states "They want you and they want you dead"....if that's not a hook then I don't know what is. Turn the book over and there is a recommendation from Harlan Coben, which is always a good sign that I will probably like the book.


                  ~~The Characters~~

                  There are three main characters and about 4 'secondary' characters which does not make it too complex, sometimes quite a good thing when you want a decent read and do not have to think too hard.

                  The main two characters are Tom and Kathy Meron. They are a married couple, late thirties, couple of young children, he works in IT, she works in a University, nice suburban house, very ordinary in fact. This works well as I will explain in the plot. She is more assertive and outgoing than him. He is relatively timid and quite content to just 'plod on' in life.

                  DI Bolt is the other main character and he comes more to the fore as the plot unwinds until he is as central to the plot as Kathy and Tom. Like all good DI's he is 'on the edge' in many ways, grieving for his deceased wife, putting his all into the job, a little unorthodox.

                  A character that is also quite prominent is a villain called 'Lench', a very nasty piece of work as we find out quite quickly.


                  ~~The Plot~~

                  I always find this bit of a book review quite hard....I want to hook the reader in, but not give too much away.

                  Tom gets a phone call from an old friend (a Lawyer) who is clearly in some trouble and being violently attacked....Tom hears his friend shout out Tom's address to his attackers and he realises straight away that, whilst he is unsure of what is going on, he may be in danger, along with his wife and children.

                  The plot then unfolds over a 24 hour period which is traumatic and fast paced to say the least. 460 pages over a 14 hour period means we get a fair degree of detail and the book follows the title well, it is relentless.

                  All is not as it seems in Tom's life and he discovers that his wife, his friend and his nice, ordinary life are all far from that. I will not say more than that, it will keep you reading. It is not often I read a book in two days, I did this one.


                  ~~What I liked~~

                  I loved the pace of the book, it is fast. I loved the fact that we have Tom's entire story written in first person and the rest of the book in third person, it fits well.

                  I enjoyed the fact that it is plausible; many of these types of books are just too far fetched. This is an ordinary man who gets dragged in to extraordinary events. At the same time as the events unfold we see his persona unfold and so does he. Very clever and entertaining.

                  I also liked the fact that it is a British based book, many thrillers are not, or when they are they are quintessentially British and caricatured. This has a sense of realism and familiarity which means that we can 'connect' well.


                  ~~~Finally~~~

                  This is never going to be a classic book, but it is certainly not trash. Yes, there are some 'familiar' elements in the book, but as thrillers go it is different enough to keep us interested and wanting to not put the book down.

                  It is not a book where one has to think too much, it is not a book where one can 'identify' with the characters, in fact I have nearly forgotton about them two days after putting the book down.

                  It is however a decent, put by the bedside, take on holiday, or keep in the car or work bag for idle half hour, type book.

                  Good stuff.

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                    19.10.2007 15:46
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                    Tom Meron is about to have the worst weekend of his life and have his world go pear-shaped

                    Tom Meron is enjoying a relaxing saturday afternoon with his kids watching the football whilst they play outside when he recieves a disturbing phone-call from someone he hasn't seen from in a while. Within a couple of seconds, it becomes apparent that his friend is in trouble and is running from someone who means him harm. Then all Tom hears is his friend reciting Tom's address and the phone goes dead. Could the call have been a prank? Unlikely. Are Tom and his children now in danger? Possibly. Erring on the side of caution, Tom works out the distance between his home and his friends house, bundles his two kids into the car and proceeds to take them to his mother-in-laws'. As he approaches the road leading out of his cul-de-sac, a black land cruiser with blacked out windows turns into his close and makes towards the house he has just left. Tom is left wondering what the frack is going on and with this the story sets off at an almighty relentless pace that never threatens to let up even for a second....

                    This is one of the best opening chapters I have ever read in a novel and really gets you going....realisations of what is going on and revealed almost simultaeneously with the various characters involved so that you never feel as though you know exactly where the novel might be headed. But the book has it's faults and unfortunately in my opinion, the novel can not live up to the promises set by it's opening pages.

                    To reveal any more of the plot would give too much away but needless to say there are all manner of sub-plots going on that tie together to reveal a conspiracy of silence that is threatening to be exposed. Unfortunately it is very hard to warm to any of the characters and the book itself is a very easy read almost comparable to a slightly inferior Dan Brown- in fact, for a thriller of this promise, the book is really too easy a read and some of the action feels a bit too Holywood despite being set in England over the course of one weekend. Kernick has his fans, it was under strong reccommendation that I picked this up- thankfully just from a charity shop so no harm done there then- but I don't think there is enough here to make me want to read another by him. A summer read this is definetly, sitting by the beach and longing for distraction and, although being chosen by Richard and Judy (or at the very least chosen by their production crew- cynical moi?) this is something I would pick only if I had nothing more notable to read and wanted to kill a few days.

                    I am becoming reknown of late for being a bit of a fussy book when it comes to books but if I don't find a book blows me away I cannot help but feel a little disappointed. Thankfully I read enough that for every three or four bad books, a truly great one is just around the corner....unfortunately I just didn't think this fit into that category.

                    Good but not that good.....

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                      06.06.2007 11:19
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                      An action packed thriller.

                      For those of you familiar with my reviews, you will know that I love a good book. I find there is nothing better on a cold night than snuggling up under the duvet with a great story to keep you intrigued (and the same can be said for a hot summers day laying in the garden).

                      I have authors who’s books I know I will love but when on the look out for a new author (as I’ve read everything from my favourite authors already!) I sometimes buy a book on the basis of a review I have read, but more often than not I will buy a book that I am drawn to, purely from the front cover (occasionally I might actually read the blurb on the back!). Fortunately, I have only ever picked up a couple of books on the basis of the front cover, which have turned out to be disappointing. The majority of them have been quite good.

                      Relentless, by Simon Kernick, was such a book that I bought purely from the front cover. It hit the shelves in 2006 and I bought it at the beginning of this year in Hardback. I was drawn to the front cover, which, although very simple in its design, grabbed my attention. Mostly grey in colour, it has a picture at the top of a silhouette of a man sitting in a chair and the title and author in big red and black letters underneath (different to the picture used above). The main feature that caught my attention was the simple phrase ‘It’s time to die’. Although, I would say that my interest in books is rather eclectic and I can read anything and enjoy it if it is written well, the thriller/crime genre is undoubtedly my favourite and knew I would be interested in this book from that sub-line on the front cover.

                      I am pleased to say that I was spot on with that presumption and this novel has to be one of my favourite thrillers of the year so far. Action packed, full of suspense, twists and turns that I honestly did not see coming and characters so brilliantly thought out that the reader has a great empathy for them.

                      The whole story is based (in England) over a weekend and the main character is about to have the worst weekend of his life!

                      The story begins on a Saturday with Tom Meron (who narrates the story for the majority of the book) playing with his two children in the garden. He hears the phone ringing and when he answers it he hears the voice of Jack Calley -high flying Lawyer, and best man at his wedding, who he has not spoken to for several years – calling out his name, obviously in some distress. Calley cries out in pain, then shouts Tom Meron’s address before the line goes dead. Obviously highly confused and disturbed by the phone call, all he can think is that someone was harming his former best friend and now knows where Tom lives. In a panic he gathers the kids in the car and drives out of his cul-de-sac. As he pulls out of his road, a black car with tinted windows pulls in, stops outside his house and three men get out. Dread flows through Tom and he wonders who these people are and why they are after him and quickly drives to his mother in law’s house to drop off the kids so that he can go in search for his wife, who he believes will be at work at the University, so that she doesn’t go home. However, on arriving at the University, his wife isn’t there and he is met by something much more terrifying.

                      I wont go into too much detail about the plot because there are so many twists and turns throughout that I will give something away and spoil it. However, I will say that not only does Tom have to deal with these men at his house, his wife is also missing, there is a corpse at the University and Tom’s wife’s fingerprints are on the murder weapon, the police are after Tom for a murder he didn’t commit and Tom stumbles on revelations about his past and his relationships that are as disturbing as the people chasing him.

                      I have never read a book by Simon Kernick before, so I am unable to compare to others he has written but this book was outstanding from the first chapter. The sheer force and speed which the plot twists and action scenes are thrust upon the reader are astounding and make the pages keep on turning. Kernick uses such intricate detail throughout that you can actually see yourself being there, looking in as an outsider. The fact that the story explodes into action on the first page, instead of going into detail about who Tom Meron is or his previous friendship with Calley etc means that the reader is intrigued from page one. There is no need for a ‘setting of the scene’ as such or an ‘introduction’ into the characters, as the plot itself is enough to keep the reader interested and then everything else comes clear throughout the story in brilliantly placed scenes.

                      There are enough characters to keep the story interesting and are relevant to the scenes involved but not too many to be confusing. There are only a few characters who take the part of narrator and it is clear who is telling the story etc. The characters all seem to become intertwined throughout and seem to have some sort of connection with each other from the past which is not obvious to the reader at first but is very clever how Kernick portrays this at certain points throughout the story which keeps it exciting.

                      I will definitely be reading another Kernick on the basis of this book and think that Relentless would make a brilliant movie. If you love a good thriller with plenty of plot twists to keep it interesting then I highly recommend this book.

                      You can pick up a copy in most book stores in hard back or paperback and can also get hold of one on Amazon from about £2

                      If you would like any more info about Kernick, or his books, then go to www.simonkernick.com.

                      Thanks for reading
                      -x-

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                    • Product Details

                      John Meron, a quite happily married father of two who's never been in trouble, receives a phone call that will change his life for ever: his friend Jack Calley, a high-flying City lawyer, is screaming down the phone for help. As Meron listens, Calley is murdered. His last words, spoken to his killer, are the first two lines of Meron's address. Confused and terrified, Meron scoops up his children and hurries out of the house. Just in time. Within minutes, a car pulls up outside, and three men get out. It's clear that they're coming for him. He's being hunted and has no idea why. And with his wife missing, an unidentified corpse in her office, and the police after him for murder, his life's about to get one hell of a lot worse.