Top critical review
3 people found this helpful
on 13 November 2014
Fiction is just that, often needing a leap of faith of reality but to me it's a fine line between a way out there fiction story and one that is based in a basis of everyday reality. Both camps can work so well in their own right. The story for me does not fit in to either camp and that for me is a show-stopper. If it doesn't bother you and you look for something else then you may love this book as other's have.
I really enjoyed "Flare" by the same author so was hoping for more from this book.
This is my opinions only, others may think I am completely missing the point (and they'd have a point!!), but...
I wanted to enjoy this book, was encouraged by the cracking start but was left a bit empty by the wooden characters and at times what seemed to be unrealistic time line of events. The dialogue seemed to come across at times as trying to be smart quips and with little flesh on the bone, which is great used sparingly but that type of dialogue is too constant throughout for me.
This is very nitpicky of me, but I want to know the author has the little things researched and realistic to make the bigger parts of the plot semi-believable. Early on the back story on the main character is that prior to joining the police he spent four years in the British Army with the infantry, rose to the rank of Sergeant in that time (too impressive to be true?) and later we find out he spent 3 of those 4 years spent in the Army serving in Afghanistan escorting bomb disposal teams. That kind of timeline and career is too 'unique' to be realistic for me and seems lazy and pointless in terms of not researching how realistic this would be.
Later in the story the main character and his side kick from MI6 are blown up by a bomb, the main character apparently having suspected broken ribs, his sidekick left unconscious and bleeding from the ears. After a visit to the hospital the character is on his way back to work with his boss being told he can have the day off after he's written everything up for the dreaded paperwork.
Potential blast injuries are a complex old beast. He'd lost consciousness, was thrown several feet in to a concrete wall, left in considerable shock. Not to mention blast injuries can leave a lot of hidden damage (to lungs and brain), needing acute observations and tests in a hospital setting. Not being sent back to work the same day as the lead Detective where decision making, cognitive ability etc etc are kind of a "must have". And on a case of such serious crime(s), where MI6 and now Special Branch are so involved?
Maybe the British police really do work like that?? I don't know, but so hope not!! :-)
Escaping that blast wouldn't have taken from the story either, so the injuries and such a 'close shave' seemed unnecessary to make the point?
The next (or same?) day the character is sneaking up on a petty thief in the park, impressing his pretty, feisty female colleague officer by expertly disarming and restraining the thief after being attacked with a knife. Then with some old school copper rough talk and restraint gets the petty criminal to 'cough' or grass on some very dangerous other criminals. His 'several broken ribs' from the blast seemed to be forgotten.
I am nitpicking here, these are just examples of where the plot and characters started to fall apart for me. Without spoilers I don't want to carry on, but I found this book and stereotype characters (gruff police boss, pretty feisty female detective as the colleague, smooth saville row suited MI6 officer, main character too good to be true) a struggle to enjoy.