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4.6 out of 5 stars
Beyond Recall
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 14 January 2008
Having been left disapointed by Robert Goddard's most recent novel 'Name to a face', I decided to return to an earlier novel that I first read 10 years ago,'Beyond Recall'.

'Beyond Recall' is a superb read,engrossing and with classic plot twists that leave you in a spin. The story is multi layered and the time is split between 1997,1981 and 1947 as well as dipping into years in between. Written in the first person we become embroiled in Chris Napier's life as he seeks answers to the the reasons behind the suicide of a childhood friend.Napier's search for the truth unlocks dark family secrets and puts him in increasing danger form a vengeful unknown enemy.Robert Goddard exells at this sort of story. The detail and setting are rich and descriptive with a real sense of time and place. The story is complex and holds the readers attention throughout. It is everything that his last two novels are not.

If Robert Goddard had written his recent novels in the first person then I am sure they would have been better. I can't understand why he ridgidly follows his central character around without switching to other scenes yet now writes in the third person. As a result both 'Never Go Back' and 'Name to a Face' were predictable and lacked the suspense that makes 'Beyond Recall' so good.

'Beyond Recall, for me is almost up there with his very best and the only reason it gets four stars from me is because he has written even better books than this.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 11 September 2000
This is the first Robert Goddard book that I have read - I've enjoyed it so much that I've ordered a few more from you! With three young children, I find it hard to be able to read uninterrupted. However, since I started this book two days ago, my children have been totally neglected! The setting of the book was what prompted me to read it in the first place (borrowed from my Mother) as we have just been on holiday near Truro and St Mawes. The blurb sounded interesting too - but from the first page, I was hooked. Totally engrossing stuff. I love it when I discover for myself, an author that I thoroughly enjoy. Can't wait to start reading his other books.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 4 June 1999
In a word, superb. Worth reading Robert Goddard's exquisite prose just in itself.This is a gripping tale which becomes more intriguing the more the story unfolds. I was most touched by the raw, poignant humanity of the characters - no one is all good, nor all bad. Goddard's honest and unreserved portrayal of his protagonists touches a chord and draws the reader into their lives. The realism adds all the more horror as the dark secrets of the past are gradually revealed. This is a ripping good yarn which is thought-provoking at the same time.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 9 January 2010
Godard has been running downhill for some time and I have found many of his recent books so disappointing that I have turned my back on him. However, I am a bit addicted to the atmosphere of his work and his idea that events of the past are still with us, shaping the present and future. This idea appeals to my Celtic nature and I think it is no coincidence that much of Godard's work is set in south-west England (and Wales) where Celtic culture was (and still is) strongest.

In Beyond Recall, first published in 1997 when he still had some creative energy flowing, he goes even further west and takes us into Daphne du Maurier territory of Cornwall, albeit with detours to Clacton and Jaywick (believe it or not) in Essex and Hebden Bridge in Yorkshire.

I won't describe the plot but it is the usual mixture of twists, turns and teases stemming from a murder which took place 34 years before the action starts. Godard has always been stronger on plot than character and the usual cast of a lonely, flawed anti-hero, bullying small businessmen, slutty faithless women and wronged victim all appear.

The book is not in the same league as Into the Blue*, Borrowed Time or Take No Farewell but if you are a Godard fan then you will probably like it.

*The cover of my paperback version of Beyond Recall is remarkably similar to Into the Blue.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 23 February 2001
I love the work of Robert Goddard and I loved this book. I was hooked from start to finish. Nobody spins a yarn quite like Robert Goddard. I highly recommend this book, along with all of the other Goddard titles.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 23 January 2008
I love all of Goddard's novels (the 7 I've read so far that is) but this is one of my favourites. I adore the way Goddard draws you in from the very beginning, with ordinary people leading ordinary lives until suddenly something happens, and what at first seems a minor event in their lives before long spirals out of control.

Goddard is an absolute master of 'the unexpected twist' and a fantastic storyteller. I hope he lives to be a hundred and from now until then writes at least a book a year ;-)
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on 6 August 2011
I'm yet to read a Robert Goddard novel that doesn't leave me wanting more, and 'Beyond Recall' keeps that pattern going. This is one of his earlier works but is as readable and entertaining as each of his more recent efforts.

The plot is pretty complicated, so I won't go nto it, suffice to say that all the usual components are here: an event in the past reasserting itself in the present; an unlikely protagonist, classic car restorer Chris Napier, entrenched in a mire of deceit and intrigue; and a cast of multi-dimensional characters who push and pull the hero from pillar to post.

The lion's share of the tale is set during the Eighties, but there are forays into post war Cornwall as well as a small yet relevent section set in the present. Admittedly, the story takes a while to come alive, but once it does the pace snowballs to a neat climax. The writing is as ever fluent and literary, the first-person perspective utilised expertly by Goddard.

After reading most of this author's work, I've arrived at the opinion that he is not only my favourite writer but arguably one of the most talented out there. If this is your first Goddard, then, boy, are you in for a treat. Sadly, I've now read most of his books, but, in a departure from normality for me, I daresay I'll re-read them some day. Enjoy.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 28 September 2001
What I enjoy about Robert Goddard is how he tells a story that spans several decades with several threads running in paralell. In this book there are three such threads. The book starts off in the present (1997), then jumps back to 1981 and then to the 1940's, these last two threads being woven together to form the main part of the story. My only regret is that the account of the protagonist's childhood and the murder of his uncle in post-war Cornwall ends too soon (and hence the 1981 thread is left to go on on its own) because its lends great atmosphere to the book.
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Today, Chris Napier must make a final decision. A decision that was set in motion the day his childhood friend Nicky Lanyon asked him, "Who killed my father?"

It is a bizarre, but sincere, question from a broken man because Nicky's father was hanged years earlier for the murder of Chris' great-uncle, whose death was the source of the Napier fortune. A question that nags Chris and demands an answer when Nicky commits suicide. A question that sets Chris on a long journey through three families' histories and the ramifications the truth brings.

Robert Goddard has written a twisting haunting tale of lies and intrigue much in the style of Kate Morton's The Forgotten Garden or Iain Pear's Stone's Fall. A good story that will linger long after the final page.
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on 20 August 2014
Another Winner, I have read a few of Goddards books and they have never failed to be a great read.
There is a certain similarity to the ones I have read so far in that the story is based around an individual who is very normal leading a relative stable life and through no fault of their own are thrown in a situation and feel compelled to act and become amateur sleuths. The characters are believable as they seem to take rational decisions in their detection. Always twists to the tale as the plot unfurls.
Recommended!!
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