Before reading A Darker Domain, I had only read Val McDermid's Tony Hill series of books which are some of the most accomplished, intelligent crime fi...moreBefore reading A Darker Domain, I had only read Val McDermid's Tony Hill series of books which are some of the most accomplished, intelligent crime fiction available today. A Darker Domain started so well; excellent characters, realistic and comfortable dialogue wound around a well paced and engaging thriller. But it soon became clear that the secrets of her plot were unravelling like wool. Was Val revealing the conclusion purposely because there were twists to come or had she taken her eye off the task in hand and had accidentally let things slide? I'm still not sure, but I know that as a reader and admirer of Val's work, I felt let down. Lovers of crime fiction read such books because they like to play the role of investigator, they like to solve the puzzle especially when the protagonists/detectives can't, but we also don't want it to be too easy. The device of using split viewpoints across different time frames lead to too many reveals and as a result this novel failed. The ending, which has been noted by other reviewers as weak, desperately needed more detail and to be carefully paced. It was like she'd finished it on the bus... However, I am still eagerly awaiting the next Tony Hill book due in the autumn because when she's on form, Val McDermid is a legend. (less)
Never having read any of the Grace novels before I picked this up and began reading it even though it is the fourth of a series. I was seriously hooke...moreNever having read any of the Grace novels before I picked this up and began reading it even though it is the fourth of a series. I was seriously hooked from the beginning, and the narrative was pacey and thrilling enough to keep me hooked right to the final gobsmacking sentence. Even though we knew who was reponsible for the murders before the conclusion, the excitement of the chase and watching the plot unfold was where this book's entertainment lay. The device of using different temporal viewpoints is popular with crime writers and James has used it here with astonishing effect, drawing parallels between past and present events. The narrative whisks you along as the details of the plot, the past and the present are untangled like different coloured balls of wool, finally revealing the places where the snags are; where one lead meets another. The book's characters are sympathetically and colourfully drawn. I cared about one particular character so much I was routing for her all the way. Grace is incredibly likeable and you find yourself getting angry when he gets angry; feeling sorry for him when he's sad. Peter James has written one of the best police procedurals I've ever read, and has clearly done his research. If you enjoy the minutiae of detective work and want an edge of your seat thriller which is finely crafted then this book is for you.(less)
A change of pace from A Quiet Belief in Angels, in fact the prose feels like it was penned by a diffe...moreSensational, Challenging, Angry and Breathtaking.
A change of pace from A Quiet Belief in Angels, in fact the prose feels like it was penned by a different author, though this merely illustrates Ellory's ability to change the suitabilty of his language for different narratives and styles of fiction. A Quiet Belief was narrated by a damaged young man in a poetic, stream-of-consciousness style whilst A Simple Act of Violence is a tough police procedural narrated, for the most part, in the impartial third person. The characters and plot drive this novel through some big issues like an armoured truck of anger. (Ellory's anger). If you've ever wondered what role the CIA has played in the US's drug control policy there's some background in here. There are some major themes rolled out; self sacrifice; the nature of truth; the loneliness of the individual; individual beliefs versus the state. A massively confident book with a massive outlook. Give Ellory another 10 years and he'll be producing not only the best crime fiction in the world but Literature that cannot be ignored.(less)