Top positive review
6 people found this helpful
A very solid crime novel
on 7 September 2008
I have no idea how I came by this book, a signed copy no less. It appears to be a debut novel from an author who had a reputation for writing shorter pieces. It's not my usual fayre, but I'm glad I did come by it.
This has a sense of being an old style crime novel, with old style gangsters in coastal settings and the costa del whatever. The throwback feeling sits well alongside the two chief protagonists, a freelance investigative reporter who has a mysterious camp paymaster (Charlie's Angels came to mind but as she's a reporter it would have to be Charlie's Office Angels...) together with a deceptively louche PI.
I suspect it's Magson's debut novel. If so, he is to be doubly congratulated. It works well. It is nicely paced, evenly developed, coherent, and the characters stand up well. The chief villain lacks depth but the intermediary figure he uses (an ex army fugure) has a central ambiguity which adds a little uncertainty to how the plot will resolve itself. Magson's work is short on the sort of fine detail you will find in a Crichton or a Forsythe - and he does not attempt that forensic approach, although a little more detail may evolve as he writes more, and clearly, here is a writer with more ahead of him.
The key is that we want to keep reading and we want know the answers to some things Magson holds back from us - their private lives, their futures, their motives...and wanting to know more means the author has succeeded in telling his tale. I feel sure these chracters will be back. There are open ends here sufficient to jump start any number of sequels. The fact it does feel dated is not a criminal offence. Not everything revolves around modern technology and the future of western civilisation. I can see myself quite happily ordering "another Magson".