Tag: Problems

B. A. Paris – The Break Down | Review

Title: The Break Down

Author: B. A. Paris

Type: Fiction

Page Count: 432

Rating: 4/5

I normally find thriller novels pretty hit and miss, but I’ve quite enjoyed what I’ve read of B. A. Paris so far. I might even be slightly more kindly disposed towards her because I was sent a copy of Behind Closed Doors, her first novel, ahead of its publication.

I think part of it is the fact that her writing just feels a little more polished to me. There’s a sort of style of writing that’s pretty common amongst thriller writers that just grates on me somehow, a way with words that just feels clunky and which pulls me out of the story. That doesn’t seem to happen with B. A. Paris.

Still, it wasn’t flawless. One of my biggest problems with it was a scene in which a group of French students steal a phone and then give it to the main character. I don’t want to say too much because I don’t want to spoil things for you, but it was kind of a Deus Ex Machina kind of thing where it all just felt too coincidental. And if it hadn’t happened, the whole story couldn’t have taken place.

Overall though, I did enjoy reading this, and I was particularly impressed by how gripping it was. I found it difficult to put down, and there wasn’t a slowdown in the story towards the middle, which I find is pretty typical in thriller novels. I think it probably also helped that it did some fun stuff with layout towards the end as we start to see a series of text messages, and this meant that the page was broken up and you could whizz through a dozen pages in just a couple of minutes. I think that layout might annoy some people, but not me.

So would I recommend The Break Down? Absolutely. It’s a refreshing little read in a genre that’s been done to death. In fact, I think that most people would probably enjoy it even if they don’t consider themselves to be thriller readers, and that’s saying something. It’s just pretty approachable, and it does a great job of the whole “twist” thing, to the point at which you could probably re-read it and still enjoy it because you’d start to look for the clues.

Now that I’ve enjoyed both this book and Behind Closed Doors, I think we can safely say that I’m a fan of B. A. Paris, and I’ll definitely check out more stuff.

Learn more about The Break Down.

 


Peter James – Dead Simple | Review

Title: Dead Simple

Author: Peter James

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 470

Rating 4/5

 

 

This is the first Peter James book, and I was actually quite impressed by how good it was. As a general rule, I’ve found that he got better and better as time went on, so I was surprised to find that his first was pretty good. The main problems that I spotted were a couple of typos, but they didn’t really hamper my enjoyment.

It was also interesting because it was set back in 2005, which would have been when it was written. Mobile phones had physical keypads on them and the smoking ban was yet to take effect. Then there’s the fact that we’re introduced to a bunch of characters that appear throughout the rest of the series, and so it was good to get to know them from that initial meeting.

The good news is that you don’t need to read them in order if you don’t want to, and I’ve just been picking them up every time I see them in charity shops. It’s not a bad way of doing it, but it’s also not the best, because you’ll spoil yourself for bits of the characters’ personal lives.

 

 

The plot in this one revolves around what at first glance appears to be a stag night prank gone wrong. The groom has been buried alive in a coffin and the stag party, the only ones who know where he is, have been killed in a car crash. Enter Detective Superintendent Roy Grace of the Brighton police force, as he tries to figure out what’s going on in a race against time.

There were plenty of twists and turns to keep you going throughout this novel, and I was also taken by surprise by the big reveal at the end. James does a great job of setting your expectations and then subverting them, and I think it’s that which makes him a decent crime writer. That’s especially difficult to pull off when, as in this novel, the reader gets to see from the point of view of the suspects, as well as the police force.

All in all, this was a pretty solid book and a decent start to the Roy Grace series, although I also think that it gets better over time. Seeing as it’s the first book in the series, I don’t know why you wouldn’t start here, but if you are tempted to skip in then that’s fine too. Just make sure that you come back to it eventually, because it really is worth reading. It’s a decent example of what a crime novel should be and I know it’s easy to say looking back, but it seems obvious he was destined for great things.

 

 

Click here to buy Dead Simple.