I enjoy a good thriller, the sort you get caught up in and have to keep on reading, turning each page to discover what happens, even if you're really tired and should be getting some sleep! I have read many authors in this genre over the last decade or so and expect a fast-paced rollercoaster ride with barely time to breathe.
''The Stone Gallows'' by C. David Ingram is different in some ways. It seems slower paced than others in its genre, meaning that it isn't as exciting or as page-turning as I'd expect with a thriller. However, this is an observation rather than a criticism. With the slower pace, we get to meet our characters in a calmer way and get to know them.
Our hero here is Cameron Stone, a retired cop who accidentally caused the death of a woman and her child. This tragedy had a huge effect on his life and he is now working as a Private Investigator in a business run by his friend, another former policeman, Joe Banks.
These two are beautifully written and seem very believable. They make a great double act too and bounce off each other in their scenes together.
Stone has made plenty of enemies over the years, but as he becomes the victim of a variety of attacks, he sets out to discover who is behind it all. This forms the basis of the story, with a num,ber of sub-plots bubbling away happily in the background, to hold the reader's interest.
''The Stone Gallows'' is intelligently written with a very good style and plenty of clever language. This isn't a trashy throwaway cheap tale; the author relishes words and the English language and comes out with some wonderful gems.
One of my favourites was when Stone is explaining how unpopular he is in his block of flats.
''If Ian Huntley had moved into the empty flat, the little old lady on the top floor would have welcomed him by baking him a nice cake and warning him to stay away from the nasty fellow on the second floor.''
The book isn't perfect. I would have liked more emphasis on his relationship with Liz, for example, but as this seems to be the first novel in a series, hopefully she will be returning. It also seemed slightly dull at times and it can take a while to get into the presentation, with some chapters being written in italics and the chapters being sub-divided into numeric sections (e.g. 10.2), but these are little niggles really.
I did enjoy the novel overall and would be pleased to read more from C. David Ingram in the future.
*This review was previously published on The Bookbag website.*