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John McNab "John" (London, U.K.)

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The Chemistry Of Death
The Chemistry Of Death
by Simon Beckett
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not flawless, but very entertaining, 13 Sept. 2006
This review is from: The Chemistry Of Death (Hardcover)
For a debut novel, "The Chemistry of Death" was very, very good indeed and I have no doubt that Simon Beckett has the ability and potential to consistently provide this level of page turning, fast paced thriller.

There's just one thing that bugged me and that I hope is improved upon in what I'm guessing may well be a series of "Dr. Hunter" books. What follows next is not exactly a spoiler but it could give some kind of "flavour" if you will to the manner in which the book ends so if you'd rather not have the slightest reference to that then stop reading now........

*****SORT OF A SPOILER******

The conclusion and the indentification of the killer had nothing whatsoever to do with the 'Chemistry of Death' or the investigative or scientific skills of the good doctor. It was all purely luck and totally unconnected in every way to everything we'd read about insects, lab work etc etc. In fact, all the scientific stuff, while being very interesting, got them nowhere whatsoever. As a thriller this made no difference and I still enjoyed it but it did defeat the purpose a little.

by Chris Cleave
Edition: Paperback
Price: £0.85

17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worthwhile, 14 Feb. 2006
This review is from: Incendiary (Paperback)
I dont necessarily agree that this is the compelling, touching masterpiece that some believe, but I certainly think thats its a good first novel.
To address one other reviewer's comments first , I think its a little 1950's to assume that because a writer went to Oxford and wrote for a broadsheet he cant possibly have come from a council estate. I believe that in Cleaves case he didnt - he was in fact brought up in Africa - but I feel I should defend the principle that not all writers of 'working class' stories have to spend time down a pit to prove their authenticity. As it happens I dont find it patronising or tacky that Cleave has attempted to write this as a working class woman, but that doesnt mean I think he's done it particularly well.
The story is a deeply emotional one and at points, is touching, but the language used is too often conflicted and forced. There were too many occasions on which the monologue seemed unrealistic and I think this has more to do with the gender discrepancy than the class one.
A good novel but, not , I believe, a wonderful one.

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