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Progeny of a Killer Paperback – 27 May 2014
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As a thriller it ticks all the boxes – fast-paced writing, great story, flawed but interesting protagonist, and a vile and repellent villain. These characters, and the minor ones, too, are superbly captured and they elicit enough sympathy, empathy, contempt or hatred to keep the reader’s emotions fully occupied and his concern for Aidan and his son at constant fever pitch.
The action is confined to two locations only, a large mansion in London and a ramshackle hut in an isolated part of Kent and, for the most part, events play out in real time. This is a difficult form of writing and, with the slow passing of hours, one might expect pace to flag and a certain amount of ennui to attack the reader. Not a bit of it! In Shorney’s skilled hands, tension piles upon tension, mounting inexorably when Aidan, his son and two friends seem to have no possible means of escape from torture, from the horrific possibility of a rabid paedophile being allowed free rein with Aidan’s son, and finally from death by firing squad. And thus, the reader is kept surging through the pages, hoping for a miracle but unable to
conceive how one might happen.
There are one or two minor editorial lapses but these are barely noticeable given the pace of the story. Two small linguistic points jumped out at me, though. The Celtic word ‘wain’ is actually a colloquial pronunciation of, ‘wee ‘un’, i.e. ‘wee one’. So to say, “wee wain”, as one or two of the characters do, is tautological. The other point is that no self-respecting Northern Irish terrorist would ever refer to Protestants as ‘Proddys”. It sounds altogether too chummy. All they ever used (and continue to use) is the harsh and guttural ‘Prods’.
This is just me being nit-picky. Progeny of a Killer is, in fact, an exciting, suspense-filed story that will keep you reading late into the night long after the light should have been turned off. I can thoroughly recommend this book to lovers of the thriller genre.
There's a filmic quality to JM Shorney's writing that gives you very clear images of the unfolding action. With believable dialogue and characterisations, Progeny of a Killer lifts from a simple thriller to a cast of characters that are instantly memorable. Everyone has a motive to do what they do in well-thought out ways.
Absolutely clatters along!