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Patently a first novel
on 9 October 2011
Many parts of this novel are a 'really good read' and the central character Carlyle has a potentially interesting character that may carry future books, even if this character is rather ploddingly and deliberately developed here (see below). But this book has a number of flaws for me. Firstly, the narrative starts with some really punchy action and the story moves along in an exciting and lively way, but then it suddenly stops and we are treated to a lengthy and frankly somewhat irritating diversion into the lead character's background, and other contextual material. It's not that the character building and context are irrelevant, but the manner in which the reader is required to stop and wait for the action to continue is poorly managed. This pattern is repeated later too. If there are to be follow ups then this linkage between background and main story action needs to be better managed by the writer if he wishes to hold the reader's attention. A second feature that I found a turn off, but which others may not, was the tendency to overdo the shock factor, for example in the description of the gay sex scene near the beginning. This is not so much 'gritty realism' as rather crudely expressed and gratuitous content that could have been more effectively used by the writer, I felt. Finally, why do we need all the 'product placement' details of the items in the story? Tell us the car and model but do we really need to know all the other technical details on this and other stuff in the story. Soemtimes one felt one was reading an up-market lifestyle mag, not a book.
All in all a promising first novel in what is promised as series ('Inspector Carlyle 1')but it seems to me to be trying to a bit too hard to establish a series rather than focusing on a well-crafted story and believable plot on which to base future stories.