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C. Knowles (Worcester, England)

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Scared to Live
Scared to Live
by Stephen Booth
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.19

14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad but disappointing, 9 April 2007
This review is from: Scared to Live (Paperback)
To a large degree I share the previous reviewer's disappointment with this book. I have been a huge fan of Booth since his first book, having felt that in all his books, notably the superb 'Dancing With The Virgins', he not only gives us an intriguing puzzle to solve, but also invests his characters, particularly Ben and Diane, with an emotional depth quite unusual for this genre, so his readers can invest in their lives and watch as they develop and deal with their problems and hang-ups from novel to novel. But there is little of that here. Apart from a few irrelevant (unless I have missed something) and clumsily unrealistic exchanges between Ben and his brother in which the latter torments himself with the fear that his young children may develop schizophrenia (!), there is nothing here to move the characters on. Symptomatic of this is Diane's sister Angie, who has featured quite prominently in the series but here is literally mentioned once in a couple of lines, as if at a late stage someone had reminded Booth that she was supposed to be living with Diane, so he'd better at least mention her in passing. Instead we get a tale of Eastern European gangsters (so ten-a-penny in crime fiction at the moment that they are becoming a cliche), baby trafficking, a Bulgarian detective flying over to offer his assistance (and whose ultimate motivation one can see coming a mile off) and people getting blown to bits on the streets of Chesterfield. Don't get me wrong; as a straight crime novel/whodunnit this is a good one. It's just that previous books in the series have been so distinguished that we have come to expect rather more from this writer, which is why the feeling of let-down is unavoidable.

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