Mark Mills has been on my ‘to do’ list since The Savage Garden. I know, I know, that’s years ago. I throw my hands up and fully acknowledge my tardiness. But having finally got around to ‘doing’ him again courtesy of Nudge Books it does give credence to the old adage that some things are worth waiting for.
I will begin by what is wrong with this book. The ending. That’s what’s wrong. There shouldn’t have been an ending. I didn’t want it to end, not ever, I wanted to go on reading! It’s all a thriller should be for me.
Despite the time lapse between my reading of this and The Savage Garden it was easy to return to Mr. Mill’s style of writing. There were some thematic similarities with what I had read before. There is the tried and tested formula of a young protagonist, a feisty female and a true love of Italy. And another well researched, historical, crime thriller that has you turning the page eagerly to see what happens next.
There are times when the tried and tested become cliches and there were elements in this plot that I had a faint feeling I’d come across before. I hesitate to detail them for fear of offering spoilers but instead of coming across as cliched they gave me more a feeling of deja vu which added to the mystique of the plot as a whole.
Not for the faint hearted there are some scenes of brutality but they are important to the development of the narrative and our response to the characters. The story is tightly woven and unfolds, a thread at a time, allowing us opportunities to try and piece things together. There are no detectives in this thriller, just ourselves, the readers. There are surprises. There are elements the reader is made aware of but not the protagonists and you have a sense of wishing you could warn them what is round the corner, literally, almost!!
It’s an economic book without being brief. All the detail is necessary and there are no extraneous embellishments. Such books are a pleasure to read. The writer understands his own genre which may smack of stating the obvious but in my experience it isn’t always so.
Mark Mills is staying put on my ‘to do’ list but I will not allow such a time lapse before I read some more of his work.