I really love Kevin Brook's young adult fiction and have found that these books are enjoyed by even some of our most reluctant teenage readers, so I was delighted that he had started to write a series of crime thrillers for the adult market. I am so disappointed.
John Craine is like so many private investigators that we find in this genre. He is a loner, he drinks too much, takes far too many drugs, is tortured by the past and constantly talks things over with his wife who died violently many years earlier. The plot takes place on an island where John spent childhood holidays and where he encounters, for the first time a young half-sister, who also seems to take far too many drugs and seems to be involved with some very unpleasant people. John thinks he sees the body of a young American girl, who has been staying at his hotel with her parents, lying in the old pill box on the beach, but by the time the police arrive the body has disappeared. The hotel manager informs him that American family checked out earlier than they had planned, but John is convinced that they have all come to harm and sets about trying to find out what happened.
This story just did not work for me. There is a lot of violence, and even though I knew I wasn't going to be reading a Miss Marple-type of story, I found this hard to read. I really couldn't warm to the character of John Craine and it seemed to take a long while for the plot to get going. I hope Kevin Brooks finds new fans with this new series of books even though I don't think I shall be reading any more of them myself. On the one hand I really do applaud this author for trying something new, but I just hope he continues to also write terrific books for his young adult readers.