* Prices may differ from that shown
A few weeks ago I read my first piece of fiction by Carol Smith called 'Vanishing Point', so I was very keen to try another to see how it compared. As the first one I quite enjoyed and despite it being a bit of a 'chick lit' I still found it was an interesting and well-written story. With this in mind I picked this book up at my local charity shop last weekend for just £1.50.
==About the author:==
Carol Smith has always been involved with novels so it was no real surprise when in 1995 she produced her début story. Since then this English author has prospered she has written another thirteen books. Having previously run her own literary agency focusing on new authors, now her writing is her focus.
==Synopsis of the book:==
It is the summer of 2005 and in London people are celebrating the announcement of the Olympics coming to this country again. Andrew Brewster having survived a booby trap bomb in Baghdad it trying to build a new life with the Police after his SAS service after over a year in Hospital recuperating. He is now working undercover with his new partner his dog Burgess sniffing out the escalating terrorist threat to the city.
Meanwhile on the Circle Line two young women with no connection to each other have been found dead in a matter of days. The story follows five contrasting ladies, Beth, Imogen, Celeste, Margaret and Ellie over the summer as they have to contend with this threat of this unknown killer plus the equally scary threat of suicide bombers on the Underground as the City tries to carry on as best it can given these horrendous developments.
==My thoughts on this novel:==
I thought this was an excellent and highly enjoyable suspense thriller. For me it was far better than the previous book from my perspective because there was far more mystery and excitement in the story. I found it very easy to read and I really looked forward to each instalment and actually found it difficult to put down, it was the best novel I have read in the last few months.
In the author's previous novel she focused on several women's life and from that angle this was not much different. I find this approach brave to move from character to character because the temptation is for the reader only to remember so much about each one. Which can lead unless it is well written to you getting confused if your not concentrating properly. And while that happened a little to me in her last book on this occasion I found it easier to follow and remember where each character was in the story.
For me the big difference was not only did the author focus on these five characters, but also the Detective so you got to see how the investigation into the crimes where progressing and what the Police where thinking. Plus she also brought in a mysterious character that allowed you to see into the mind of the serial killer and while you did not know who this was for a long time it was good to see their perspective and how their mind worked.
To be honest on this occasion I had no choice about this book, as it was the only one by this author in the charity shops this week in Maidenhead. And as I was very keen to read something from this author it was the only choice. Having said that, it immediately impressed me on two accounts, firstly the title sounded interesting yes maybe a little obvious but it aroused my interest anyway. Secondly, I liked the sound the novel's summary, it was two paragraphs long and immediately grabbed my attention as I liked the concept of the Police trying to catch a dangerous killer.
The story started appropriately with a prologue, which set the scene with a little background to the first incident at the Tube Station. This was useful as you could see from this how the confidence of the killer started. It was a good start but could have done with being much longer as one page really didn't do this justice and I think it could easily have been done without giving too much away.
The story then moved on to introduce each of the main character. For me this worked quite well because each scene was short so that you did not lose sight of any of the characters with regular updates on their interesting developments in their lives. And while not all the characters where as good as each other their diversity made sure there was at least one or two you where bound to like. For me this was added to by the duel threats of terrorist attacks and a serial killer.
I found the story very enjoyable and discovered the pages of the story flying by, while still not having a clue as to what would happen next in it. That I found a real bonus that because this was such as random killer you had no idea who would be the next target and why. As a result you feared for all the characters and the author was clever enough to add a few real unexpected twists in the story that I certainly did not expect that really impressed me, with the authors clever imagination.
The pace of the story was always lively with an absorbing, fast paced conclusion that was full of suspense. It was a good ending and it certainly lived up to the rest of the story. The only disappointment was it all finished a bit too quickly, I would have liked certainly an epilogue so I could find out what happened a few months down the road to the characters within the story.
I do admire this author because not only are her novels all different but also the characters are always new and different in each one. Usually I read Detective novels that often form part of a series, so that over time you build up a relationship with the main character or characters, but Carol Smith does not do this and I think it says a lot about her writing skills that she can get the reader gripped with new characters in each new book.
In this book what really worked well was the diversity of these characters. There were not only very different in personalities but their ages where wide ranging so that they were experiencing different events in their lives. I found I liked the mysterious Celeste best because her life was not as it appeared on the outside and I thought the author really got inside this characters head and shared her view point and thoughts really well with the reader.
I thought this story had everything I could wish from an exciting suspense thriller. It was well thought out with real mystery about it. With the author introducing many ideas some of which where acted upon in the story while others where just suggested at so that you were never sure which direction the story would take and that for me was an excellent aspect of it.
With short chapters I found the book easy to read although I did feel some of the depth that could have added to it, as it was a little light as the author focused on moving from character to character. Its length was shorter than the previous book I had read and I thought it would have benefited from a larger conclusion.
I would definitely recommend this as an excellent, well thought out thriller. What worked really well for me were not only the interesting characters the author created but also sharing the serial killers view on life as well, so that while you never sympathised you did at least understand why. I thought the author really created suspense so that I never knew what would happen next and I was quite often surprised and impressed with what did.
Price: £6.99 New at Amazon
ISBN-13: 978- 0751537993
Year Written: 2006
About the author: www.carolsmithbooks.com
Thanks for reading my review.
© CPT Daniels September 2011.