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Steel Witches - Patrick Lennon

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Genre: Crime / Thriller / Author: Patrick Lennon / Paperback / 384 Pages / Book is published 2008-06-12 by Hodder Paperbacks

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      01.11.2009 10:41
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      Absorbing story Highly recommended

      ==Background:==

      I had never heard of this author, he was recommended to me sometime ago by my Niece's boyfriend. He was raving about what a fantastic author this chap was, so eventually I decided to give him a try as it was getting a bit embarrassing always saying no. I often find when a new author is recommended to me the work is not as good as you had hoped for, I suppose that's because we all see different things and want different things as well from what we read.

      ==About the author:==

      Patrick Lennon was born in 1964 and brought up in Cambridge. From there is moved around and has lived in Mexico, Thailand, Britain, France and Italy. He worked for a Multi-national companies in a variety of international roles, before writing his first novel in 2006. So far he had written three as we as running his own business.

      ==Synopsis of the book:==

      Tom Fletcher by profession is a Private Investigator, having spent many years in the Police force. He lives in Cambridge, has a steady girlfriend and is in his late 30's. He is awoken early in the morning by a telephone call from his father. Nothing unusual in that, except Tom has not seen or spoken to him in 18 years.

      His father is agitated and tells him they have to kill him, but explains little else just where he needs to go. Tom does as he is told and discovers an old friend of his Dad's dead. Upon investigation he finds his name is Nathan Slade who worked for the Bellman Foundation an American Corporation who specialise in Aerospace and Military research.

      Fletcher discovers the dead man was last seen with a 20-year-old Daisy Seager leaving the Hostess Club where she worked. Now she has disappeared too, but Tom found out she was researching a mysterious Air Base used briefly by the Americans during the war. This seems to hold the answers to a Centuries old mystery in itself involving the local inhabitants particularly two sisters Evie and Sally Dunton who were farm girls and believed to be involved with the 'Witchfinder'.

      ==My thoughts on the book:==

      I am very pleased to say that I thought this was a fabulous novel and as such I would totally recommend it to all fans of a good suspense thriller. I can now see my Niece's boyfriend with a clear conscious and discuss the merits of this author and his work. What I found particularly appealing about this novel was he wrote about things he knew about Cambridge and Multi-National companies, I think if you do that the quality usually shows.

      I really didn't expect to be impressed by this author's work. To start with he was a completely new writer to me and it often takes a while to get into a new writers style and even to get onto their wavelength. Failing that of course you give up quickly and never try their books again. However, I found his style to be very interesting and I really enjoyed reading a very well written novel that was a real pleasure to read.

      Maybe I was fortuitous in that my expectations were quite low to start with. As I have tried several new authors lately and simply given up after less than 50 pages. But to my surprise I found I was riveted to the cleverly devised storyline. This book is the Second of three so far produced by Patrick Lennon and was written in 2007.

      To start with as sad and shallow it is for me to say so but I was attracted to this books cover. It looked appealing along with the title so I checked out the very good summary on the inside cover of the book. I liked the idea of this Private Detective being dragged back into his families past to somehow solve a mystery that dated back to the 17th century. On this basis I thought it sounded well worth a read.

      I didn't immediately get into this novel, but it did have me intrigued. Why was Tom's father ringing him early in the morning with such a weird message? But not only that, why had they not spoken to each other for 18 years? I didn't take to Tom instantly as his life seemed too settled and organised and he seemed quite sure of himself.

      However as the superbly crafted story slowly unfolded, the author bought in new characters and a whole new set if issues into the melting pot that needed investigating. There were so many avenues, so many possibilities it was impossible to see what was related to what, as the author kept the cards firmly against his chest. As a result I had to read more to see what was going to happen and learn the truth.

      Some of the excellent links I did not anticipate at all. I could not see how his family were really involved with the Steel Witches and what had happened during the war that was so important. There was so much to enjoy, take in and digest in the story, but at the same time because it was well told and laid out you never got lost at all.

      The author was skilfully running two different stories simultaneously. You had the current investigation with Fletcher but you also had the story of the Witchfinder back in the 17th Century. It looked into the ways he tried to prove they were witches but written through one of the women's eyes from what had been passed down to her.

      I really enjoyed learning about the history of the witchfinder, which led in turn to what was happening involving the two farm girls during the War. I was really intrigued by the way they lived and what was happening to them. The two stories were very easy to identify as the two-farm girls story was always written in an old style you would associate with a typewriter so you could never confuse them.

      Both stories were absorbing and it was only the deeper you got into the book could you see the link between them. There was so much to enjoy, they were so unusual but full of surprises, while mystery played a key role in them both. As because of the clever way they were written only certain information was shared and the rest needed to be discovered by Tom Fletcher.

      The pace of the book was generally very fast. The only thing that slowed it was the Sisters story as because that was written in a different time you had to think about what you were being told to always understand it. It was only towards the end of the book that the true picture started to immerge.

      But even then at the end the author very cleverly did not reveal everything. Yes he disclosed most of the facts but still left you with a few answered questions. I think he was keen for the reader to think and decide the outcome of these themselves, which really worked for me.

      I really enjoyed the suspense the author used throughout the stories. You never knew what would happen next and the suspense was built skilfully up by some superb and intelligent writing. And because you liked and felt an affinity to the characters you really didn't want bad things to happen to them, particularly the two sisters.

      The novels main character was Tom Fletcher. To my mind he was written in the authors shadow. I liked his determination and his desire to find not only the truth but also more about his families involvement in the story. As the book went on his personality grew on me, as I needed to understand the truth as he did. He was not the most interesting character but still effective in the way he operated.

      What did however frustrate me about him was how little was disclosed about what happened 18 years before that split him up with both his Mother and Father. I found it very odd he didn't seem to know what had separated them and why he didn't try and find the truth before amazed me. Maybe more was explained in the first book I was just surprised by this lack of information about it.

      The other main character was Evie Dunton, I found her absolutely intriguing. She was so different, not only because she grew up differently to most around her but also because there was so much mystery involved around her and her history. Her story was written from her perspective and in truth I think because she was so interesting that a whole book could have been written about her and her sister's experiences.

      All the other characters were all well described and played a good supporting role. I think the author is particularly good at creating well thought out characters all who seem to have secrets that they won't reveal until they have to or Fletcher finds the truth. They all seem to have a certain air in mystery about them.

      For me the greatness of this novel was not only the quality and the ideas the author employed but also it's unpredictability. You didn't know what would happen and what would link them and why. But you had to know the truth, as it was such a unique and interesting story.

      There was so much mystery involved in both parts of the stories. This is because so much needed to be discovered and you were only in ownership of certain facts because of the excellent way the writer kept them hidden away. These facts were quite often unexpected and led Fletcher to have to explore unusual avenues that further increased the mystery surrounding the case.

      The length of the novel was just about right to complete a pulsating story. It was imaginatively written and one that had me spellbound and surprised throughout. Following this very enjoyable novel I must try his other two offerings to see if they are as rewarding as this one was.

      ==Conclusion:==

      This was an excellent pulsating crime thriller. It was superbly written and had a very well thought out story behind it. I really enjoyed it and I think anyone who likes a good Crime Thriller can't fail to be impressed by this one. Now at least I can face my Neice's boyfriend and agree with his view on this author at least on this novel.

      ==Other Information:==

      Price: £5.49
      Pages: 384
      Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks
      ISBN: 978-034-089-8413
      Year: 2007
      More about the author: www.patrick-lennon.com

      That you for reading my review.

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

      @CPTDANIELS November 2009

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