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This review is of the book "The Fallen" by Robert Rennick. The book is a mystery thriller situated in what is usually the sedate environment of the Isle of Wight.
The main character in the book is the struggling middle aged newspaper reporter Iain Hogan. He has been able, despite some ongoing family problems and a previous redundancy, to get a job as chief reporter on a new newspaper on the Isle of Wight. He wants to solve the mystery of why a young girl has been found dead at the base of a cliff, as does the local police detective Emma Thomas.
There are some strange facts that become known as the detective and journalist both battle to find out what had happened. They find that explosive charges have been placed on the cliff for example, which deepens the plot. And it's not long before Hogan's investigations start to mean that he himself becomes a target, especially when Hogan finds himself leaving the Isle of Wight to continue hunting for clues throughout Europe.
I really enjoyed this book, as it wasn't clear to me throughout the book who had actually killed the girl, if indeed, anyone had. Books which are predictable are as frustrating as books which were entirely impossible to predict, and this book does keep you guessing without making you feel cheated when the result is given near the end. I won't spoil the plot by giving any clues to what happens however!
I was also impressed at the character development and the character dialogue in the book. The places which the author uses seem very genuine, and are no doubt based on real places in the author's mind. The book is very believeable, and the atmosphere in the book does make it very readable. For a first novel, that's an additional achievement.
If I have to make a complaint about the book, I'd possibly say that the writing isn't quite as a sharp as that of other authors writing in this area. But it is a first novel, and it is still well written, so it's really not a big complaint. The fact that I kept turning the pages wanting to know what happened is a better guide of the book's quality!
I noted from an on-line interview with Robert Rennick himself is a long serving journalist, which no doubt makes his characterisation of Iain Hogan that much more realistic. Journalism often has employees who have problems with their family life and alcohol, and I wonder whether Hogan was based on anyone Rennick actually knew!
The book, published by Eyelevel Books, appears to have just gone out of print, but I notice is still available from some retailers for its original retail price of 6.99 pounds. If you're happy with a second hand copy, at the time of writing these can be purchased from sites such as eBay and Amazon for around three to four pounds including postage.
In summary, this was a very good read which I finished in just two sittings. It's a very readable book, and it doesn't have a predictable ending, at least to me! Given the deep and interesting characters and believable plot, this makes the book a real page turner to get to the ending. I haven't read Robert Rennick's later titles yet, but I shall definitely do so now!