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Strong concept that fails to deliver the right amount of tension
on 26 June 2013
The Fort is set around a clever concept. A veteran of war, horribly psycholigcally damaged, does an unspeakable thing witnessed by three young boys who are out playing their own brand of war games in a make believe fort. When the boys later relate their story to the police something happens to throw doubt on their credibility and nobody believes them.
What ensues is a cat and mouse chase as the three pretend soldiers stalk a seasoned veteran in an attempt to prove their story, save a life and clear their names.
The way in which the boys are cast down and not believed by the police when they report the crime is well handled. They're at the age, 12ish, when you can feel all of that adolescent anger welling up in them which makes you believe they could actually go off and do what they do. I also enjoyed a series of reveals which opens up the domestic lives of the boys and adds a lot of shadow and shade to their characters.
Ultimately; this is a coming of age novel. You're left with absolutely no doubt that once they set off on their journey the boys will either never return or return completely altered.
Their are some decent twists and turns along the way and the standard of writing is generally good.
Unfortunately I do have a couple of negatives.
I was never in any doubt about 'whodunnit' and I was left wondering why, if it was all so transparent to me, hadn't the police worked it out?.
At only 252 pages long, and plenty of spacing, I think the novel's too short and lacking in the necessary darkness and tension a plot like this needs to hook the reader in.
I'm being extra critical because this novel could have been fantastic but it's missing a certain something to lift it out of the ordinary pile and I was a little bit disappointed.