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A fast paced, thrill ride of a novel!
on 2 August 2012
Best known for his 'Good Thief's Guide To...' series of comedy/crime novels, Chris Ewan turns his hand to the more serious end of crime fiction with his newest novel, 'Safe House'.
Rob Hale is a plumber on the Isle of Man, called out to repair a boiler in a remote cottage by two mysterious looking men, and a more talkative young woman named Lena. The next day, he takes Lena on a motorcycle ride, which ends in a crash. Waking up in hospital, Rob asks about the woman travelling with him, only to be told she doesn't exist. Rob is discharged from hospital, intent on finding out who the woman was, and how she disappeared. He is aided by Rebecca, a private investigator hired by Rob's parents to look into the suicide of his sister, just weeks previous. However, as they follow the clues and begin to uncover the mystery, Rob starts to wonder who Rebecca is really, and how she knew his sister.
As a huge fan of his earlier work, this change in direction and genre from Chris Ewan immediately piqued my interest. Would a writer more well known for his humorous comedy crime capers, be able to tackle a serious thriller?
Of course he would!
What Ewan accomplishes with his first foray into the world of thriller writing, is nothing short of remarkable. Safe House begins with a great hook...what would you do if you woke up in hospital after an accident, and everyone around you denied the existence of the person you were travelling with?
From there, Safe House travels at high speed throughout. It's a breathless, exciting read, which had me turning the page well into the late nights. That initial hook takes you on a journey into action thriller territory, which is up there with the best writing in the genre.
Ewan also hasn't lost that humorous edge which came with his previous series of books. There are some fantastic dead-pan lines delivered by Rob, but Ewan saves his best work for the character of Rebecca. An incredibly sardonic and tough female character.
You know...tough is the wrong word to use here.
The character of Rebecca is an example of something sadly missing from this genre in some instances. A female character from the pen (or keystroke) of a male writer, which isn't over-thought out. Ewan gives the impression he's created her as he would any other character, giving her aspects of personality which would fit within any other character. In other instances, the opposite can sometimes be true, so this was a refreshing read. I dearly hope this character isn't left behind...
An exciting start, to what promises to be an excellent addition to the genre of thriller reads, Ewan has with Safe House created a fast-paced, excellently written, and superbly plotted novel. With characters which burst off the page from the start, and a new setting in the Isle of Man which I cannot wait to see explored further.