Newest Review: ... as he has no recollection of what happened in the last day, and cannot understand what would make him kill his girlfriend. Someone cer... more
Quite gripping but a little cliched and predictable
Severed - Simon Kernick
Member Name: diva80
Severed - Simon Kernick
Advantages: Page turning and gripping
Disadvantages: Cliched lines, some unbelievable situations
I was given this book recently to read with the promise of a gripping story. I don't normally read crime or thriller novels, and I'd not actually heard of the author or read any of his other books, but with an open mind I gave it a try.
The story is written from the point of view of a guy named Tyler living in London, who at the beginning of the story wakes up groggily in a room he doesn't recognise, and on a bed covered in blood. For next to him on the bed is a female body which has its head severed off. He recognises the corpse as the body of his girlfriend Leah and he panics, and wonders what the hell happened. Then he gets a phone call from a mystery guy, asking him to play the DVD which is in the room, and he watches it and sees a film of himself killing her. He is confused as he has no recollection of what happened in the last day, and cannot understand what would make him kill his girlfriend. Someone certainly has it in for him, and he must find out who and why.
The mystery bloke on the phone tells him he needs to deliver a briefcase for him to the seedy depths of East London, otherwise the DVD of Tyler killing his girl will be sent to the police. The briefcase is locked and is apparently bugged so it will explode, so Tyler is unable to tamper with it to find out what's inside, but is nonetheless curious. Tyler sole purpose in life now becomes finding out who this mystery phone dude is, why he killed his girlfriend, what is in the briefcase and why he is being blackmailed.
Tyler is a former soldier, and well equipped to deal with the scary and dangerous situations he comes across on his journey, and the story is certainly fast paced and gripping as he squirms himself out of near fatal situations to continue his quest. He has some other-ex soldier acquaintances who become involved in the tale, as well as Tyler's ex wife who is a lawyer and a feisty blonde girl from a brothel. The characters themselves are well researched and have interesting background stories. We learn a bit of Tyler's history in the army, as this information is key to the story. It is quite a grisly story in parts, and Tyler finds himself dealing with much more than what he expected.
I thought the book was interesting enough to finish (trust me, I have had to abandon books halfway as I just couldn't take it!) and it certainly was gripping but I wasn't left finding myself excited by the book as I hoped to be. Personally, I thought the story was quite American sounding and somehow didn't suit a British book, as I just couldn't see East London being the venue for such a Hollywood movie type chase. Maybe that's me being small minded? The book has some cliché catchphrases in it that Tyler uses, which I found a bit annoying, plus the nail in the coffin for me was that I pretty much guessed the ending. Dagnamit!
The book is well written in general though, and Kernick certainly knows how write page turners, as at the end of each chapter, I was quite intrigued to see what happened next. I wouldn't let this book put me off reading Simon Kernick's other work, as I see he has a number of other books such as Relentless which are supposed to be good.
I have mixed feelings about this book, and dangle somewhere in between liking it and disliking it, but if you like crime thrillers, you might as well give this one a go, as it's definitely interesting and may be your cup of tea.
Summary: An okay read if you're into crime and thriller novels