Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Without Trace - Simon Booker

This leaves a very big trace!!

The first thing that attracted me to this book was the location. I used to visit Dungeness and Romney Marsh when I was a kid and I loved how bleak and desolate it appeared to be. The idea of living on the beach was so appealing that my parents had to drag me away sometimes. In later years I also had the amazing good fortune to visit a Martello Tower which is described here too. And the entire mood of those visits was captured here from someone, I suspect, who loves the place too. So from the start there was much to endear me to this novel.

But I’m not here to reminisce about my childhood haunts!  For me this book was a slow burner, building up very nicely until I just couldn’t put it down. There are so many red herrings you could open a stall at Billingsgate and I just never second guessed any of them!! Now that makes me mad!! Why? ‘Cause I’m a smartass who likes to think they know their way around a crime novel! BUT it also makes me jump for joy because it means the writer has a imaginative brain and isn’t afraid to use it!!
To a certain extent I would say some of this story is contrived but intelligently contrived so it didn’t grate. It was a fine line between four and five stars and I deferred to four because of this and the slowish start. The tension was palpable. It was contemporary, well plotted and the main character, Morgan Vine was real, flawed and vulnerable as we all are, but tenacious too and all the more a heroine to me, because of it. The book gives us two stories, Morgan the adult now and Morgan as an adolescent. The two work well in tandem and fuel the psychological aspects of the tale and inform our perceptions and understanding of her current situation. All the ends are tied up and the two tales dovetail into a satisfactory conclusion. 

This is a debut novel but a little research showed me that this author is an experienced writer and screen writer and this is evident in this first psychological thriller. I hope he decides that Ms. Vine is worth at least another outing although I’m not sure where he could take her. But I’ll throw it down as a challenge, Mr. Booker. Please?

I received this as an ebook from Breakaway Reviewers to read and review hence the reference to a star rating. 

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