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4.2 out of 5 stars384
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 11 July 2014
I am a big fan of Simon Kernick and have read all of his books. I enjoyed the twists and turns and went through a wave of emotions reading this and was excited reading it. I found the characterisation just fine and certainly went through pain with them.

However much I enjoyed the book I can sympathise with some of the negative comments by other reviewers. The book does seem to draw on similar stories or ideas which did not seem that original or polished.

I would love to see this made into a film, it's over the top but rewarding nonetheless.

I just hope I am wrong when I have the feeling Simon Kernick and others such as Peter James (who I avidly read as well) seem to
churn out books like a production line with perhaps a loss of quality and originality.
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Stay Alive was my first Simon Kernick novel and I'm pleasantly surprised.

The central plot revolves around the character of Amanda Rowan who is on the run from a shady past. Just at the point Amanda feels she might be safe is the very moment Kernick ramps up the tension and it becomes very clear her new life is about to come crashing down around her. As Amanda becomes more and more terrified she reaches out to another family in the hope they can help - one way or another.

What results is a fast and often violent cat and mouse chase which sees the past reaching out in an attempt to drag Amanda back to face the consequences but; she's now involved innocent people and there's more than her own life on the line.

Stay Alive is a decent thriller with some really well worked surprises and plenty of tension. It's not the best book I've read in the thriller genre, it does run too close to formula from time to time, but Kernick has certainly produced a fast moving, pacy, meaty adventure with the power to put the reader on the edge of their seat. It's easy to let the tension carry you along which makes for a fast and easy read.

I'd like to see this novel turned into a TV drama or movie.
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on 2 August 2014
As a fan of crime and thrillers I feel a bit bad that until now I had not read a Simon Kernick novel. I went into reading this with no expectations at all, a blank page, ready to be filled up with impressions.

Stay Alive kicks off rapidly with a bucket load of killing and action. We are off to a good start I was thinking. I like a book that kicks into first gear by the end of Chapter One. Hooked in, ready to rock and roll.

The book kicks off with Amanda Rowan being witness to her husband's murder as well as his lover, she rebuilds her life after this tragic event. The murder is pinned to a serial killer being hunted called The Disciple, well knows for his gruesome torture techniques and signature wall paintings that go with the death of his victims.

The police are on alert, looking for clues and DNA to find out who The Disciple is in order to catch him and stop his murdering rampage.

The book then flows into a complex storyline of Amanda escaping an attempted abduction and fleeing for her life in the woods of Scotland. This is where MANY characters start to come into play in the book and the plot focuses strongly on the chase to come. Amanda is not alone in the woods, innocent people have got caught up in the hunt for her.

I loved the pace of the book but found the woodland chasing scene went on a bit too long, it took up to much of the story for my liking, lots of detail that could have been cut shorter as I got the general idea already. There is only so much chasing that you can do. I was worn out just reading it!

I really liked some of the characters in this book, and was keen to see the outcome of the whole situation. It's one of those books where as you read you know you are missing something. You just know something is not adding up as it seems.

There is a lot of shooting, running, hiding and killing going on. If you like action it's all here. I did find some of the scenarios a bit distracting and almost not believable however, I can't share because of spoilers but it's like some of the plot is sidelined here and there, with frustrating snippets that don't seem connected.

I wasn't surprised with the reveal and the twists at the end, in fact I felt a bit let down, I wanted something a bit more spectacular. Overall I enjoyed this book, I liked the pace, but think it lacked some finesse as a crime thriller, there was way too much story in the middle set on the woodland chase.

It's one of those books I wanted to love more but it just didn't quite hit the spot. 3.5 stars, still a really good read, pace is fast, easy reading. I will certainly try some more of Simon Kernick's novels now.
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on 17 May 2014
Well one of the characters in Simon Kernick's latest "against the clock" thriller certainly appears to be our Jack making a guest appearance,or at least a British Doppelganger.
The "man with a past" who is in the right(or is it the wrong?) place at the right time is one of a cast of diverse,and often barely believable,characters that populate this book. As ever with Simon Kernick credulity often has to take a back seat to non stop action and unexpected twists and turns but this time he only just gets away with it and the usual pinch of salt is barely enough,more a case of reach for the Shaker.Murder and mayhem splatter across the pages from start to finish and there's peril at every twist and turn,monsters behind every door and nothing is as it seems. Well not everything would be more correct as the "twist" is fairly obvious if you're paying attention and given the relentless crash,bang,non-stop action nature of the book most readers will be ahead of the story when certain situations arise. a place of safety in a Kernick book before the last few pages? Not going to happen.
Despite some of the cartoon characters populating the book,the sometimes sheer ludicrousness of the situations and the at times rather creaky storyline as always with a Kernick book it's great fun and very entertaining.However Stay alive does seriously border onto ,"come on Simon,you're having a laugh" territory and for me he "just" gets away with it.....and only just.
Stay alive reads like the plot line of a Jason Statham movie,the "Reacher-like" character being played by our Jase.Now I can sit and watch any of Mr Statham's films and enjoy them for what they are,I don't need to strain,or even use,my brain,and enjoy the sheer silliness while being entertained.When I read I want a bit more than that,something to think about,characters I can believe in and possibly even care about,probably Simon Kernick's weakest book but still worth reading if you're a fan.I still am but please Simon tone it down a bit.
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on 17 December 2015
I have followed Simon Kernick's career from the very start. His first books were outstandigly good; well-thought-out, beautifully writtern, with good twists. above all, they were believable.
What has happened? This last one (for me) was so very, very bad. The plots (there were to many) and the characters were unbelievable, especially at the end, which seemed to be a straight lift from Hansel and Gretel - it even had the wicked old witch in her gingerbread house (well, by that time I was convinced it was built from gingerbread. She had a very similar end, too. And a dirty old man, and a mad dog, and...

Who were you writing this for, Simon? You used to be SO good. I can only conclude that you had a deadline hanging over you.

Better luck next time...
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Another good race against time thriller from Simon Kernick including new all action hero Scope, who like Bruce Willis in Die Hard seems to always be in the wrong place at the wrong time (although not for the people he inevitably saves from the bad guys). Stay Alive starts with another apparent gruesome murder by a serial killer known as The Disciple, who likes to torture and kill unsuspecting couples. Amanda Rowan walks in to her house just as her husband and lover have been slaughtered. She somehow escapes his clutches, but until The Disciple is caught chooses to move to a safe house in remote Scotland. Amanda is tracked down by a group of men determined to kidnap her, but why? She manages to flee and embroils a family on a canoe trek with tragic consequences. The plot shifts in focus to 2 young sisters (one is adopted), who struggle to survive and the eldest views Amanda with suspicion. The group are in grave danger but thankfully Scope has taken a job with the Canoe company and sniffs out the danger to come to the rescue in the nick of time, with the police (detectives Mike Bolt and Mo Khan) always one step behind . The actions scenes are written with great suspense as ever, although the ‘paedophile’ scene was more akin to a horror movie and did not really gel into the plot. Liked the twist at the end, although not sure about how Scope was treated. Not Kernick’s best book by a long way but maintains interest throughout
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on 16 March 2015
This is one of the worst books I've read for a long time. The story line is weak and implausible to the point of being ridiculous, and there is no attempt to develop the characters beyond a superficial level. I got about half way through it, then gave up and skipped to the end, just to confirm what had been predictable from early on.

Simon Kernick has produced some good thrillers, but I suspect that he's falling into the sort of complacency that some authors succumb to. Write successful novels, acquire a readership, and than you can just start turning out 'something' to meet the publisher's deadline under the contract.
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on 12 December 2014
Dreadful, the plot is ridiculous & editing poor. At least half the action takes place in a Scottish Highland forest at night where people seem to be able to see to run and shoot without bumping into trees or falling over roots. I doubt the writer has ever been in the countryside in the dark. And why wld someone trying to keep her head down choose to live in a small remote village where every one, esp a stranger with the local plod calling on her every day would be noticed. Even at the beginning the author couldn't make up his mind whether the body was on the bed or the floor. Would not read another of his books.
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on 20 August 2014
I have read a couple of Simon Kernick books in the past which were quite good. However with Stay Alive there were too many ideas, none of which were developed well enough to make an interesting or believable story. A serial killer, a cop gone bad, a gangster, a paedophile, two poor orphans, an
ex-soldier with an unhappy and violent past and a sad policeman in the wilds of Scotland. Just too much.
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on 29 June 2014
Too far fetched too many things happening in a short space of time. Think simon should go back to his drawing board!!!
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