Most helpful positive review
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Smoking Poppy had me captive from the first sentence.
on 7 November 2001
Many people judge a book by its first page. If they are not hooked within a line or two, they'll put it down and may not bother to pick it up again. Smoking Poppy had me captive from the first sentence. It set the scene and the emotion for the entire book. Graham Joyce has taken a complex story and told it in a style that is both sophisticated and utterly simple. His characters are agonisingly, beautifully real, with real flaws and true inner strengths. Supernatural elements fit naturally into the story;credibility is not stretched, though imagination can run riot. The book works beautifully on every level.
Smoking Poppy is about a man, Daniel Innes, who gives his life and his love utterly and uncompromisingly to his family who reject him just as utterly for reasons he cannot begin to understand. When his ex-wife calls him with the news that their daughter Charlie is in a Tawanese jail awaiting sentence, twenty years or execution, for drug smuggling he knows he must go out there,even though she has not spoken to him for two years. He does not know just what he is going to. Against his wishes he is accompanied by Mick, a team-mate from his local pub quiz, who has decided that Charlie is innocent,regardless of the facts and that they are going to prove just that, whatever it takes, and Daniel's estranged son. If I were to tell you any more I might spoil the story for you, so I won't, other than that it made me laugh and cry often as I became more and more absorbed by the events that unfolded.
The thing I most liked about this book was that it managed to switch off my analytical brain and allow me to simply read and absorb. For years I've read books and watched films and dramas, noting key moments, clues and hints of what was to follow. Endings are rarely surprising and I tend to leave the room during the action scenes of films when the drama is building up because I already know where it's leading and get bored or annoyed at all the banging and crashing. With books I often keep turning pages unread until the plot picks up again. It has really spoiled my pleasure in stories that others find totally absorbing. This book broke the jinx. Nothing was quite what I expected from the first page on. The people behaved in character, yet were still unpredictable. The story opened up new worlds, new possibilities. I know so many Dannys, so many Micks in my life, perhaps because my home is so near to Leicester where the characters live their lives. Now I'm looking at these men with fresh eyes.