I found this book while on holiday. I was trying to show some enthusiasm for shopping and failing badly until I discovered a Charity Shop with a wide selection of choice. I bought a couple of book including this one with the hope that this may be a bit different to the usual Crime thrillers I read.
==About the author:==
Roger Granelli was born in Pontypridd, Wales in 1950. In what can only be described as an unusual path to becoming a writer he was a professional musician and composer. He has now written seven books of which 'Risk' was the sixth, written in 2008. As we as writing he also teaches music in his birth town.
==Synopsis of the book:==
Once an outsider would have considered that James Read had everything. A good job, a happy family and a good standard of living. But as he approached his 45th Birthday things start to go downhill for him. He starts gambling and finds this is the only thing that gives him any interest or excitement and unlike most gamblers it is the Roulette wheel that draws him in.
As his addiction increases his relationship with his wife Nina and two teenage girls deteriorates as all their money disappears. The result is rows and James leaves the family home and drifts from place to place as his life spirals out of control. After a spell on the streets he ends up in a Hostel where he becomes friends with Pete until he kills himself.
Now approaching his 48th Birthday James is keen to try and regain his confidence and self respect and eventually agrees to his Social Workers request of attending Gamblers Anonymous. But a face from his past appears at the Hostel Colin, a schizophrenic and this presence worries James and threatens his rehabilitation and his chances of rejoining the mainframe of society.
==My thoughts on this novel:==
I found I really enjoyed this gritty and thought provoking story. It was certainly very different to what I expected and I found this a positive thing. As I found it a very nervy and unpredictable story so that I had absolutely no idea what would happen next in it. Certainly for me it was not an earth shattering story but one that was well written and full of suspense.
Before picking up this piece of fiction I had never even heard of Roger Granelli as an author. As a result I had no real expectation about his work and was approached it with a completely open mind. Maybe this helped me enjoy the book but I think there was far more to it than that, for example for me it was an interesting subject, a respectable man having fallen and was now trying to move on and deal with his addition.
I think that was the reason I purchased it in the first place. As the title gave little away and even the cover with an old Coal Mine and some playing cards certainly did not inspire me. But the books summary on the back did. I found even in the three paragraphs I read that I was immediately interested in James and where he was going to go next in his messed up life.
As soon as the story started I found myself wanting to know how and why this seemingly intelligent man had fallen into addiction. And what particularly impressed me was it was not just written from his perspective it also from all the other main characters in the story so you got a flavour of how their minds where working and how they saw things. This is particularly interesting when written from Colin's viewpoint so that you could understand how the voices in his head where affecting him and where they came from originally.
The story was for me very interesting, as I had no idea what James would do next. Yes he was near rock bottom but they're where a few encouraging signs in his life. But where I found it particularly representative of such as struggle is how he would get a setback and how sometimes he would not deal with it and get completely drunk. How he questioned himself and his lack of confidence plus belief in himself any longer, which once he would have taken for granted.
What I particularly liked was the story demonstrated the history behind James's addiction. But from all his families view points. I found particularly James's own view easy to understand and relate to and his lack now of ambition and just taking every day as it comes understandable. Although I was surprised even three years on from their divorce how Nina his ex-wife still seemed haunted by what had happened. Yet she seemed not to be angry about what he had done and how he failed to even contact his Children, I thought this was unbelievable and for me lacked credibility as he ripped there worlds apart with his addiction and split the family up because of it.
For me a lot of the mystery about the story was I had no idea what was going to happen next. I thought this was great and I was really impressed with a few of the twists the story took that I had not seen coming at all. The way the author presented them they where all totally believable and in some ways seemed a natural progression. As a result the book had a good pace about it and a feel that anything was possible.
With the concluding chapters exciting in a way I had not expected. Resulting in an ending that was believable and rounded of a fascinating story superbly. As in many ways this story had every emotion it is possible to feel and I particularly enjoyed the rare glimpses of humour in a tough story.
James Read was the real star as the story and I found him an easy character to like and relate to. I found I wanted him to recover and deal with his addiction because he seemed such a down to earth character, who now just lacked confidence and belief in himself. I thought the author really understood him and explained the issues of addiction really well and how he felt about it.
And while I thought the majority of the other characters where well described and had interesting personalities I did struggle to understand who his ex-wife after everything they had been through still was bothered about him. I thought this was unlikely and showed a lack of in-depth understanding to her feelings. Maybe I am wrong about this but I would have expected her to be bitter and angry with him and want to start her life again and not consider him at all.
Overall I thought the length of the book was exactly right to tell a fascinating story. The only thing I found slightly disturbing was there where no chapters to break the story up and I think had this not be so enjoyable I might have struggled with his concept. Although the author did clearly signpost when the scene changed and you where with a different character.
I thought this was a very well written and enjoyable piece of fiction. It certainly opened my eyes to the problems of addiction and how easy it is for anyone to follow James down this sad road. The story was full of unexpected twists and turns and one I thoroughly enjoyed. I certainly will be looking to check out the other stories written by this author as on this performance he tells a fascinating yarn.
Price: £7.19 New at Amazon
Publisher: Accent Press Ltd
ISBN-13: 978- 1906125103
Year of Publication: 2008
About the author: www.rogergranelli.com
Thanks for reading my review.
This review is published under my user name on both Ciao and Dooyoo.
© CPT Daniels October 2011.