7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
, 16 Nov. 2013
This review is from: Rope Enough (The Romney and Marsh Files Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
The review fields surrounding Oliver Tidy's work can be a rum old place, not least because the author takes the time to comment on each and every one. Considering that the cumulative number of reviews across all five of his books is currently 650+, this is no mean feat (LOOSE ENDS and DIRTY BUSINESS, the first two in the Acer Sansom series, have only been out two months, but have already gathered 42 reviews between them).
The reason the reviews are, er, a bit contentious, is because Mr Tidy's comments will mirror the tone of the review. Exactly. If you leave a thoughtful and considered review, even if you didn't like the book, you'll get a thoughtful and considered review back. If you didn't like the book and whack only a couple of stars on it but without arguing your case, you'll get something similar back. If you do his legs and leave a one-star troll-fest...................well, just pray he doesn't find out your address.
So, having read a couple of the more negative reviews with interest, I opened ROPE ENOUGH half-expecting brutal and tasteless sexual violence, institutionalised police misogyny , wafer-thin female characters and latent xenophobic attitudes towards Eastern Europeans (not to mention doddery editing).
I didn't find any of these, and I think a number of reviews are perhaps unfairly misleading, particularly where the editing is concerned. ROPE ENOUGH is an intelligent and multi-layered thriller with a real richness about the setting and some skilful handling of subject matter that clearly some people don't want to read about, but which is an unfortunate part of life for some, and everyday life for the police.
DS Joy Marsh - ambitious, young, brimming with integrity, and DI Romney - grizzly, weather-beaten, not borne of patience - are thrown together like bumper cars to investigate a rapist targeting victims apparently indiscriminately around a bleak Dover backdrop. The first victim's boyfriend is a particularly nasty piece of work with links to organised crime in the town, and matters unfold from there with lines of enquiry identified through some fairly diligent detective work.
The Dover setting - particularly in the final quarter when the net starts to close in - is a carefully-painted and effective backcloth for the action, and lends a real gunmetal-desolate atmosphere to the story. The characters' own personal journeys are weaved in nicely around the main plot - which is itself rounded off very neatly - and there is clearly plenty of scope for the Marsh to develop her own path in future works. The characterisation - particularly of the main villain, who was extremely nasty indeed - was especially well done, and the story rocketed along nicely at a fair old lick.
ROPE ENOUGH is clever without being gimmicky, pacy without being superficial, engaging without being melodramatic and realistic without being drab. A lot of people seem to have a thing about being able to guess the baddie (in any book), and use this as a benchmark to determine the overall quality of the work. This is not an issue for me if the characters are engaging and the overall texture and pace of the work makes the book a rewarding reading experience - which ROPE ENOUGH definitely is.
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