26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Long On Psychology, Short on Thriller,
This review is from: No Night is Too Long (Paperback)
To those who need an adrenaline rush before page 10, this is not the book for you. My first assessment of "No Night Is Too Long" was that it was monstrously slow starting. Upon reflection, I don't think it could be structured any other way. The story's effect hangs on our thorough understanding of Timothy's point of view contrasted with how others see him. Tim is atrociously self-absorbed yet almost without personal vanity. He is a recreational liar, but never to himself. It takes a good and sufficient time to develop this young man, and if he were not developed, the story would have no meaning. The reader must see beyond Tim's startling beauty. Given the visuality of Ms. Rendell/Vine's prose, it takes a long lead-in for readers to see Tim plain and unadorned. Think of young Tom Cruise or Brad Pitt. I have always been convinced those two would stop traffic whether famous or not, and not one person would be aware (or care) if they were sensitive, caring, or struggling. They would be thinking: "Wow!" This is Tim Cornish.
When Tim meets Dr. Ivo Steadman, (who else but Rupert Everett?) he is certain he must be in love because he has never felt this way before. He has had a few dilatory girl friends that didn't stir him, only occasionally "scratched an itch." So what was this? The shortness of breath? The obsessing for Ivo's presence? This was something startlingly new and different, and it must be love! Tim found it also had a very short duration. As soon as Ivo dropped his Rochester/Heathcliff airs of arrogance and disdain, Tim was quickly out of love and into contempt. Alas, poor Ivo who made more and more frantic and futile efforts to entice and ensnare the errant Tim. I couldn't help but sympathize with Tim at this point. Have you ever had anyone (be it a discarded lover or your great-aunt Sally) shower you with attentions and pleadings of which you wanted no part? It makes monsters of us all. The stage is set.
Ivo more or less forces the reluctant and sulky Tim on a cruise of the shores of Alaska. Tim meets the beauteous Isabel in Juneau while Ivo is off lecturing. And now the story quickly picks up a headlong pace. Ms. Rendell/Vine has us hooked good and proper, and we are in for some mind-boggling surprises. The key to this book is obsession, not romance. The author deftly ties up the loose ribbons and presents us with a nicely wrapped finished package.
Though I don't believe this book is as powerful as "A Dark Adapted Eye," it does demonstrate the author's great versatility and goes way beyond "well developed characterization." You can't help thinking, "there, if not by the grace of God, go I" I would recommend it for when you are in a pondering mood.