The search for a missing young woman ends in the hunt for a murderer. Nothing new there then but it moves on from that to the hunt for a serial killer. The beginning of this book is all over the place. There are too many seemingly unrelated chapters which gets annoying after a while. There is also too much padding - there was no need for the holiday in Hawaii scenes or Margaret's anger at her husband and son as both examples went nowhere and distracted me from the plot. DC Goodhew is a cypher with no personality. I was doubtful I would finish the book but it picked up at about 60% and then I sped through it to the end. It's a book of two halves so if you persevere you will enjoy it but perseverance is the key word.
Having been married to a wonderful man who died recently perhaps I should not have read this book where nearly all the men were portrayed as so horrible. All men are not abusers. Apart from this it was just nasty. I did not finish it.
A crime novel is supposed to keep you on the edge of your seat. It is supposed to be suspenseful and thrilling. You are supposed to actually want to get back to it as soon as you can because you want to find out what happens next.
This novel does not fulfil any of the above criteria. It is, in fact, the most tedious crime novel I have ever tried to read. I say tried because after 59% of dogged determination, I had to finally admit defeat.
Firstly, far too many characters are introduced and some of them seem to have no relevance. This in itself was bad enough for me but when there was a whole chapter dedicated to something that seemed to have no ties to the story, that exacerbated it.
Secondly, the writing is confusing at times. I found my eyes glazing over in too many parts and I would often begin to reread a sentence to make sense of it and then think "What's the point?" This goes for the way characters are introduced and "developed" as well. A prime example of this is "The Girl in the Cafe" who turns out to be Marlowe. What was the build-up for? Why not just introduce her properly at the outset? Her "shroud of mystery" served no purpose at all. We, the readers, should have been left to figure out who Marlowe was at the end.
Thirdly, the tension just never builds up. I wasn't even tense while Kaye was alive. There was no "Oh my God!" when Kaye died. I plodded through the book as though it was just page after page of dry and boring exam material. I could not get into it no matter how I tried.
Fourthly, I found myself lost in a sea of description instead of on the edge of my seat, wondering what was coming next. What's worse, this description was often unnecessary. For example; "Gary caught a Hawaiian Airlines flight to X, then an American Airlines flight to Y, and finally a British Airways flight to Z" Who cares? Just tell me he made it back to London and be done with it! I fail to see how the airline brand enhances the reading experience. Furthermore, some of the similes were just appalling. One that stood out for me; "It evaporated like spit in a bonfire." Really? Of all the comparisons to use, that was the best one?
Finally, the overall writing style was irritating. I mentioned to a colleague that I was reading a woeful crime novel and when I elaborated, HE asked ME why I was wasting my time reading this tripe.
I couldn't give a satisfactory answer and, therefore, I have deleted the book and will not be trying anything by this author again.
I have read all three of Alison Bruce's books and whilst I enjoyed the first two, this is undoubtedly the best so far. The author confesses that this was the idea that she had first but wrote the previous two to introduce the characters and develop them. I think she did the right thing and hopefully the series will keep on improving. I will certainly be keeping an eye out for the next one.
The main character is an interesting character, not at all like most policemen in novels. He tends to go off on his own theories and he has a history of delivering the goods but as he is so inexperienced his boss keeps him on a leash which he relaxes or tightens as he feels appropriate. This keeps this interaction interesting and unpredictable and I look forward to seeing how it develops in the future.
This is an extremely poorly written and formulaic novel. The author has obviously closely modelled her detective and format on better novellists such as Ian Rankin and Rebus, but doesn't manage to pull it off mainly due to amateurish writing style, packed with filler and superfluous detail which is dull, dull, dull. For me this was a total waste of time and money, gave up after the third chapter as I couldn't bear the awful writing style. Please credit your readers with some intelligence. You can copy the basic plots, formulas and characters of others, but if you haven't got the talent and originality it will fall flat - as this does.
The Calling is the third in the DC Goodhew series, and was published earlier this year by Constable & Robinson. Although The Calling could be read as a stand-alone story, I would certainly recommend that the first two of the series; Cambridge Blue and The Siren are read first. The first two books give the reader a little insight into the enigmatic lead character DC Gary Goodhew.
I have been really impressed by this series so far. Alison Bruce has created a lead detective who is something of a mystery, to the reader and to his colleagues at the station. Goodhew is a bit of a maverick, with a determination that often rubs people up the wrong way, I also sense a little bit of vulnerability about him, a teensy lack of self-confidence that peeps through when he gets something right and is rewarded by praise from his superiors.
The plot line of The Calling is complex, fast-paced and introduces a host of characters. There is an air of menace and a touch of madness running throughout the book in the form of the lead female character Marlowe. The reader is never quite sure whether she can be trusted to tell the truth, and whether her determination to name her ex-boyfriend as a murderer is based on fact, or is a result of her anger and jealousy. Alison Bruce does not hold back in her writing, there are scenes that are quite explicitly sexual, and others that are impossibly cruel, but this only adds to the tension and build up to the very fine, and unexpected ending.
Goodhew's colleagues; WPC Sue Gully and DC Kincade both feature heavily in the story, and both characters have been developed well, with lots of scope for more stories involving these two in the future.
Alison Bruce has proved that she is up there with the finest of crime authors and has created a series and a lead character that is going from strength to strength.
A good detective novel with a wide range of characters and some clever twists. It would have been better if the author had spent time pursuing some of the interesting sub-plots and minor characters rather than devising ever more detailed descriptions of the bedroom activities of the various couples, which added little to the otherwise gripping storyline.
It nearly made 3 stars but not quite. The writing is irritating in style especially in the first half of the book, though that does improve as the pace picks up in the second half. The book is littered with minor odd errors, which are of no consequence in themselves but do break any absorption in the story you might have built up. The author has attempted to build characters, and that sometimes works and sometimes doesn't (for example the attempt at building rivalry between characters is one area where it doesn't). It might have been wiser to focus more on building the main characters and less on the minor characters. The main plot on the whole is reasonable for books of this genre but some of the details in the plotline are just ridiculous. The plot development and unfolding is good, and probably one of the best aspects. But overall it only ranks a 2*. Compare to the books of Jan Costin Wagner - they have not dissimilar themes, plots and settings but Wagner's writing is far more assured. Would I buy another by this author? No.