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Possibly the worst book I have ever read
on 26 May 2008
I have read several novels written by Martina Cole - DANGEROUS LADY, THE TAKE, THE KNOW and TWO WOMEN and I must admit that I thought each one was good, if not better than good. This one however is in a different league. I rarely order books months in advance of the publication date but CLOSE was one of the few I chose in 2006 for this costly indulgence. I have been annoyed ever since! If I had written my review back when it arrived (I read the book immediately) I am afraid that censorship controls would have prevented my words being published here. I was angry because I spent hard-earned money on a book which, now that I have had more than 18 months to collect my thoughts, is complete and utter rubbish and when I think of the number of trees that were sacrificed in the making of the tens of thousands of copies, well it brings a tear to my eye and I'm no tree-hugger I assure you. As so many others have commented, Martina Cole seems to have nothing at all in the way of new ideas for a storyline or character creation; while delving into her own portrayal of the criminal underworld she (once again) offers no balance by stereotyping the police as useless airheads, clearly demonstrating her lack of knowledge of police procedure and instead depending heavily on the characters she manufactures. And early on in the tale the reader wonders if some or all of these characters are nothing more than re-workings of very similar characters in previous Martina Cole stories. The men tend to be seedy, repellent and abusive and whatever sex takes place is devoid of love or erotica, indeed incest seems to be a running theme through several Cole novels of late. It was horribly fascinating the first time, but when it's recycled as it has been in this novel, it holds absolutely no appeal whatsoever and gives me the impression that this once admired writer has lost all sense of direction and creativity. I would strongly urge you not to buy it new or second-hand, nor even borrow it from your local library. Your time spent reading it, no matter how short, would be totally wasted.