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108 Reviews
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing, thrilling and totally gripping
I found this book impressive both in the breadth of the story and the quality of the investigations. The research required was extensive - understanding the French legal system was a feat in itself, then added to that the concept of PLR and you have the making of a fascinating story.

I loved the way the author interwove the strands of both story lines, creating...
Published 18 months ago by Sarah Hague

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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Flawed in places, heartbreaking in others
Unfortunately, "Past Imperfect" has a haunting tale of the murder of a young boy in 1960's France and the perpetrator's escape through his venerable position in the establishment and the willingness of the police to believe an innocent man guilty of the crime. I write 'unfortunately' because this is not the only storyline - the other centres around a tragic car accident...
Published on 11 July 2012 by Lauren G


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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing, thrilling and totally gripping, 3 Feb 2013
By 
Sarah Hague (Montpellier, France) - See all my reviews
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I found this book impressive both in the breadth of the story and the quality of the investigations. The research required was extensive - understanding the French legal system was a feat in itself, then added to that the concept of PLR and you have the making of a fascinating story.

I loved the way the author interwove the strands of both story lines, creating more and more intertwining as the novel progressed. I also found the characterisation of the main characters very well done and believable. The character of Fornier was particularly well drawn, but Duclos too, was intriguing in his repulsiveness.

I didn't have any trouble accepting the concept of PLR, but then I greatly enjoy the television series 'Medium' and have an extremely open mind as to the workings of the paranormal. Indeed I found it raised the novel far above more conventional thrillers because it introduced an agreeable element of the bizarre and piqued my interest.

The novel was not without action, although it could not be described as an 'action novel' but the chase across country to try and capture the ghastly Duclos was totally gripping. In fact, as the threads all came together towards the end, ramping up the suspense and tension in the story, it was difficult to put down.

Highly recommended especially if you enjoy the unusual.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning tour de force, 8 Dec 2013
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An amazing book. This 2 part work has it all: A family ripped apart by the death of a child, an honest policeman struggling against corruption, an evil child molester who will sell his soul to protect his career and evade prosecution. and a young boy haunted by a past that isn't his.The whole story is riveting but the finale was just blew me away.. I can thoroughly recommend that you buy this book and cancel your plans for the next few days!
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Flawed in places, heartbreaking in others, 11 July 2012
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Unfortunately, "Past Imperfect" has a haunting tale of the murder of a young boy in 1960's France and the perpetrator's escape through his venerable position in the establishment and the willingness of the police to believe an innocent man guilty of the crime. I write 'unfortunately' because this is not the only storyline - the other centres around a tragic car accident and the survival of Eyran Capel and his subsequently horrifying, disturbing dreams.

It seems strange that the two stories, which slowly begin to intertwine, are written at completely different standards. The 'French section' is evocative and very emotional at times. The duplicity, inhumanity and conniving nature of the murderer are shocking and angering yet the 'PLR section' is quite boring, plodding and I rushed to get through these chapters.

The books suffers on several levels, the first of which is the variable standard of writing. The second is the author's tendency to over-describe and being unable to edit his own words - the descriptions are too long, too drawn out and don't contribute to the reader's perception or understanding of events. Rather than take away from the enjoyment of the writing itself. There is a fine line between setting the scene and purple prose and I think the author stepped over this line far too often.

Another flaw in "Past Imperfect" is the sheer numbers of characters and minor storylines that crop up and then disappear with no explanation. There are too many minor protagonists on the sidelines who do not contribute anything to the main plot and too many threads of a story that the author is trying to weave that end up alienating the reader.

The link between the two 'sections' of the novel is too outlandish and controversial for me personally and I found it hard to suspend my disbelief as I do not believe in the phenomena that links Eyran and Christian.

By the end, I was hoping the novel would be over but at roughly 600 pages, it took a while to get through. If the author had been more critical of his work and assessed what features were actually necessary and what was "filler" then it would have been far more enjoyable and far less pages to read.

That isn't to say that "Past Imperfect" is beyond redemption - Monique and Dominic were incredibly well written and the latter's ethical struggle with Machanaud's innocence was heartbreaking. I wish the author had used an alternative storyline and omitted Eyran's section from the novel completely. The book would have benefitted greatly from that as well as a more severe editing process.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mysterious, haunting, tragic but brilliantly written, 12 Feb 2001
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This review is from: Past Imperfect (Paperback)
I took this book to India with me because I wanted a nice chunky novel to last me for my three weeks in the sun. It was the best book I read, in fact I read it twice and I enjoyed even more the second time around! The plot, which at first seems complex but eventually follows several simple threads, follows a tragic car accident in California in the 1990s in which a young boy is left fighting for his life, and a horrendous assault in Provence in the 1960s where a young boy eventually dies from his injuries. What ties these two boys together seems to be a life after death experience, and the California survivor suddenly finds himself able to recall the last days of Christian Roussel, viciously attacked then murdered by the debonair and sadistic Duclos, an up and coming French Politician. The story jumps between America, France and England as the threads of these two young lives are slowly and inevitably bought together by a dogged French Detective, Dominic Fornier whose guilt over Christian's death 30 years previously has never died... Moving back and forth between two continents and through time, the story steadily heads towards its staggering climax... This is a cracker of a novel, and has the potential to be made into a blockbuster of a film.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Book I've Read in 2013, 25 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Past Imperfect #1 (Kindle Edition)
This is an intriguing & fascinating story. I thought it was very well written, & the characters were totally believable.
The kindle book is in two parts, part 1 is a free download, while part 2 is a paid for download, although well worth the price.
Brilliant.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Riveting and even a cliff hanger, 17 Nov 2013
This review is from: Past Imperfect #1 (Kindle Edition)
What a way to leave the reader! Can't wait to start reading Past Imperfect#2 Another new author to watch out for . His characters come to life on the page and the intricacies of the plot are interwoven expertly. Having just finished #2 I am in awe of this author who kept me spellbound to the last word
It has taken very little time to read #2 captivated as the story kept me.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent holiday reading, 17 Aug 2003
By 
Elizabeth Taylor (France) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Past Imperfect (Paperback)
This book was given to me, its not normally the type of book I would read as I'm not really one for detective novels, however, I can 100% agree with the cover of the book which states that its a gripping read. Its one of those books that you just can't seem to put down and is therefore perfect holiday material, it took me 2 days on the beach. The story is one of a crime, the killing of a young boy and its investigation over 30 years but more importantly the real story is how this crime affects the main protaganists, the detective, the mother, the murderer and all those around them. Its a bit strange that its set in France when its all in english and as someone living in france I must say that the judicial system and the police don't come off too well. The writing is not Booker prize winning stuff, but, if thats what your looking for this is not the book for you. On the other hand its simply an excellent story and the characters are well fleshed out, with lots of detail on their thoughts and desires even the murderer so from a human nature point of view you simply want to know what happens to them. A really excellent beach read.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Way too long!!, 27 May 2012
I liked the premise of the book and thought that the characters of Dominic Fornier and Alain Duclos were well written but I simply found the book way too long. Great swathes of writing that didn't enhance the plot so I skimmed a lot of the book.

Don't let this put you off of giving it a go though - maybe it was just me.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Its too long!, 11 May 2012
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The idea of this book is good but it really is too long, I thought I would never finish it. If cut down by about a third it would be far better, it could be made into a good film as its an interesting story.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pacy and different, but has an improbable plot, 29 Dec 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Past Imperfect (Paperback)
This is a very different novel and I must admit that I had reservations about starting it once I'd found out that parapsychology had a significant role.
Matthews does however set up an environment which has you seeking justice very early. It also has a fair share of pace and tension, with the exception of the middle of the book, which sagged noticeably.
In short, a good debut novel, despite its heavy reliance on something a little too unusual for my tastes.
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