Top critical review
37 people found this helpful
Quirky but good
on 6 January 2012
Crime in the Community
Read January 3 - 5 2012
My rating: 3 / 5
This book is billed a mystery, and is set in a Scottish village. I downloaded it as the customer reviews were favourable, and it fit with the genre of book I prefer, ie: crime/mystery/thriller. The front cover also suggested that it might be quite dark and bleak in places which again appealed to me.
Well, I was wrong. The old adage of `never judge a book by its cover' has never been truer! This book is not dark or bleak, and feels a million miles away from the image portrayed on the cover. The story doesn't have a dark or bleak angle and it certainly isn't a thriller, it is much more of a `friendly' mystery. What I meant by this is that the `bad guys' aren't of the type you'll find in a Lee Child, Harlan Coben or Jo Nesbo book, but instead are almost anonymous individuals with no real personal vendetta or malice.
I should note that this is the first of Peartree's books, and it seemed to me that the author had lots of ideas for different characters that she wanted to explore and as such, they all appear in this one book. The result if that you don't actually get to know any one character particularly well and therefore can't build a picture of them, nor feel any real empathy. For example, the lead character, Christopher, seems to have an interesting back story and complex relationships, yet this doesn't really come to light until the end and even then only in brief. I'd hope that future books in this series expand on the characters and we can begin to understand their actions and relationships more. The introduction of the American characters also seemed a little odd, and I felt like the author had an idea for a set of characters and almost `shoe-horned' them into this book.
I'll be honest and say I struggled to get into this book, it seemed very wordy and the kindle formatting made the text look very dense; the publishers might want to think about putting in more white space. Peartree's writing style is very `wordy' making sentences long. But, that said, the more I persevered with it, the easier it became to get into the authors writing style, and to empathise with the characters more. Prior to this, I have been reading a lot of work by very established authors from big publishing houses so this observation may just be a personal thing to me, having been reading a particular style for the past four or five books.
All that said, if you want an easy, comfortable and, at times, funny read, then you won't go far wrong with this. It's not a classic book, but as it is the first in a series by this author I'd hope that her writing style will settle and we'll see more exploration of the characters in the later stories.