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Past Imperfect

(JM Mystery-thriller #1)

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  561 ratings  ·  59 reviews
A car accident in California, a deadly assault in Provence, two boys 30 years apart left battling for their lives. Dominic Fornier is the detective who finds himself up against a paper chase of clues from a young boy's psyche and a desperate race against time with a killer who will stop at nothing.
Paperback, 627 pages
Published November 25th 1999 by Penguin Books Ltd (first published February 4th 1999)
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Average rating 3.62  · 
Rating details
 ·  561 ratings  ·  59 reviews

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Kerri Thomas
Mar 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
A very clever writer. His plots are full of twists and turns that come swiftly one after the other. In fact, towards the end of the book, they came a little too fast and I felt myself getting left behind. Hence the four star rating, not five. His attention to detail is breathtaking. Whether it's the way the legal system works in France, or medical information on characters' illnesses, he covers the subject thoroughly. The two central themes of the novel are a lengthy pursuit of justice, and past ...more
Paul Seneca
Nov 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Exciting and different!

This is a very different book, cleverly combining a crime and legal thriller, family saga and love story. The main story focuses on a young boy brutally attacked in the French village of Taragnon with a secondary story of another boy in a California car accident. The link between these two boys is the crucial key as detective Dominic Fornier tries desperately to piece back details of a murder 30 years after the event.

The writing is dazzling and I found myself
Shaun Mcgregor
Sep 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
One of my all time favourites!!
Jan 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Taken me some time to read this book. Not a fault of the author, but as a result of family issues. A fascinating weaving of the past with the present with the assistance of past life regression, something that has come in for much criticism in the recent past. Nevertheless, it makes for a taut and exciting thriller with its mixture of simple murder story, paedophiles and political corruption. To a retired English lawyer, the description of the alien French criminal justice system was eye opening ...more
Jun 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bought this in a bargain bookstore in London about ten years ago. I forgot where the bookstore was, but I never forgot how impressed I was with the book, and how I stupidly read it within one night even though I had to go to court the net day. I never learn.

"Past Imperfect" is a a solidly crafted and expertly told story about two boys from different areas that are mysteriously connected. Riveting from the very beginning, the book becomes more even more thrilling towards the end. A tr
Feb 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Took quite awhile for me to get completely into the story, but once I did it was very good. The author really wrapped things up nicely and most lingering questions were addressed. Good Read!
Lana Kamennof-sine
Jul 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
Fascinating read of 2 stories in one with a great deal of detail on the use of information gleaned from regressions in different courts.
Jul 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Great atmospheric thriller. Have read other books by this author but none have lived up to this gripping debut.
Janell Barney
May 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
Really good book - Some characters I really liked and some I despised. I suppose that is as it should be in a book of this type. I liked reading about the Past Life Regression (PLR)
Jun 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Long but different and interesting.
Oct 07, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
This book was an odd reading experience for me. The story begins with the investigation of crimes involving young boys in two different countries, and I found myself confused as the story switched between the two investigations while introducing the personalities of the individual investigators.

Fairly quickly, however, the story settles down into the main plot, which revolves around the case of a young boy in France who was kidnapped and murdered by a pedophile. The pedophile escapes detection,
Susan Watts
Jun 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
A crime book with more depth than many others. Well written with a good story that is not over reliant on action. Mainly set in France it was a refreshing look at the seedy side of the country, organised crime, corruption and paedophiles. Very often I find any reference to France boringly enthuses about the superiority of the culture. I loved how the murder was ultimately solved using past life regression.

The Kindle version annoyingly finished at 78% with the rest being given over to
Feb 20, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Good Story, poor editing

The premise of the story was captivating and intense, and while I did want to learn the ending, I found that it seemed to get dragged out before coming to a not entirely satisfactory conclusion. The other thing I found hard to deal with was the abundance of typographical/grammatical/spelling errors in this Kindle edition that I read. These errors definitely diminished my enjoyment of an otherwise thrilling tale. I have to hope that the problem lies in this particular ed
Jonathan McKay
May 06, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

Gave it a go but by heck was it slow and tedious. When, however, the French accused started worrying about his neck and being hanged that did it for me. Until 1977 executions in France were by guillotine or firing squad and had been for a very long time. So I baled out which is very unusual for me.
Donna Krukowski
Oct 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book, the first book I've read by this Author and can't wait to read more. Great story line, the PLR angel was a great premise. The ending was perfect. A very long book which personally I enjoy, took a bit to get used to the writing style, but once I got used to it I liked the flow. I highly recommend this book.
Oct 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gets your attention immediately

Such depth of feelings and emotions made it hard to get out of the story. Such a great and heart felt story line. Will ne think about ot for quite awhile.
Dec 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Well-written page-turner

Beautifully written saga against the back drop of country France that spans our world and the one where loved ones cross over ... all wrapped up in a spine-tingling suspense tale of love, crime, and a cop's journey that spans 30 years. Highly recommend.
Aug 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'm reading the Kindle version which has 6 books together. The plot was moving at a good pace and then it felt as if he just wanted to finish writing the book, so it was all tied up really fast in the end.
Mavis Frasure
Nov 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderfully written legal thriller! Full of that's and turns throughout. Very pleased with this author.
Jan 02, 2019 rated it did not like it
Can't get into this book.
Alan Bennett
Mar 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed-books
An intriguing story that was complex and interesting and yet sad and exciting. I thought the book was going to be a tedious long story but the plot and the characters soon draw you into the book. A very good read
Lynda Kelly
Sep 13, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: deleted
For starters I was confused after downloading this as I had 2 versions-marked #1 and #2. Both were meant to be 200+ pages yet the ones I downloaded are 600+ pages. I queried this on the author's Amazon page but nobody responded. So it seems BOTH copies I have on my Kindle are both parts in the one download. Someone needs to fix the descriptions in this case.
I've packed it in at 12% because it's full of apostrophe errors. It seems he DOES know how to use them as oftentimes they're used corr
Jan 10, 2013 rated it liked it
A very long and difficult book to read. This novel tells the story of a little boy killed in 1963 by a child pedophile. The case is solved with the wrong man convicted and put away in a mental hospital. The real killer goes unnoticed for 30 years, and becomes a minister in the French Government. Meanwhile, a small boy who loses his family in a horrific car crash in California lies in a coma. The little boy in the coma somehow corresponds with the little boy who had been killed 30 years prior. In ...more
Dec 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Coming to the end.

This book is a little long winded. About the first half was a little hard to get through. Up until about half way through when it kicks in and gets better.
This is a story about the murder and Molestation of an 8 year old boy who was left by the river bed and died. The French police blamed a vagrant; who was sent to jail and then a physic ward for 14 years. He died an innocent man. It wasn't until 30+ years later that the real murderer was found and killed.
It's a goo
Feb 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One and two

Loved this story for many reasons, besides the plot the main characters and setting were rich, detailed very well developed. Yes, the premise was chilling and the pedophilia disturbing...but these people are out there, and these things do happen to children everyday.
I, too was quite ticked off when I realized that I had only gotten half a book. New to kindle, so maybe I missed it. anyway, it was well worth the three bucks I paid for the second half.
Without spoiling anythi
Jun 30, 2012 rated it liked it
A very complex plot with two intertwined story lines set three decades apart in two different countries (England and France). Since I don't believe in reincarnation, it was difficult to suspend disbelief about past life regression. The author switched point of view frequently, and just about every character's point of view was included. I've heard that it's not a good idea to have the names of main characters start with the same letter, and I found myself reading Dominic for Duclos and vice vers ...more
Jul 09, 2012 rated it it was ok
I'm reviewing this as part of my "Same Title- Different Book" project! This particular Past Imperfect deals with a crime and the fallout of that crime but the twist in the novel is some paranormal elements that I was NOT expecting. I enjoyed this book except for 'the twist' which is why I gave it two stars. Basically, I was expecting a straightforward crime novel that then turned into something incredibly different. But the writing is very strong and the exploration of the French criminal invest ...more
Mar 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. Yes, it's not the happiest story, and I found it took some concentration at first to get into the jumping around the different families and timescales. I also initially wondered where the link was with the 2 boys in the story. Definitely one for those who're interested in psychology techniques and how the mind thoughts.

The baddies are truly vile, I was willing on the good guy. There's some great descriptions of the beautiful french countryside against the vice like
Sally Malkowski
Jan 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Past Imperfect, another John Matthews PERFECT read, which despite formatting issues, still had me sitting on the edge of my seat throughout. A LONG, high profile drama involving a murdering pedophile whose capture spans 30+ years and includes a multitude of characters – with difficult names (Mr. Matthews is from the UK) – it was nevertheless worth the effort to try and keep it all straight. What I so like about JM’s writing is that he keeps you absorbed until the very last sentence. This is my s ...more
Chris Bullock
Nov 08, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: crime, mystery-drama
Very difficult to get into to start with. It seemed to jump from scene to scene without any real clarification as to which was which. However I persevered and about half way through the book it started to gel together. The latter half was well written and certainly held my attention, building up to a dramatic climax. Although the plot was resolved as expected, there were still a few loose ends that were left unresolved in my mind.
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