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An unusual idea but the plot simply doesn't work
on 6 December 2008
The concept of the discovery of a secret hoard of photographs belonging to a homeless man who had died intrigued me - at least it was a different idea, unlike anything I had ever read before. The attack on the heroine right at the beginning is frighteningly told as is her terrifying panic and realisation that she may be about to die. This is of course slightly modified by our knowledge that she doesn't die as the book's summary on the back has already told us.
The main part of the book I found quite intriguing as the mystery behind the photographs is gradually revealed although there is one idiosyncracy in the writing - referring to a character not as 'she' but 'the woman' - which I found grating and irritating. But if I could overlook that I felt the rest was well written.
But - and it's a huge 'but' unfortunately - the last two pages of the book, which of course I can't divulge, completely ruined the story for me. What should have been a truly dramatic and unexpected ending left me utterly frustrated because so much of what had gone before simply couldn't have happened if this was the truth behind the story.
The relationship between reader and writer has to be based on trust, trust that the author will play fair with the reader. A story told in the first person, for instance, cannot lead to his turning out in the last pages to be the murderer because we feel utterly cheated, he has lied to us throughout the book. A shock ending is one thing but one that then makes a mockery of all that's gone before, leaving gaping plot holes in its wake, is simply not acceptable. It's a pity because the story, as I said, is most unusual and should have been much better than it was.