READ 18 – 19 January 2012
MY RATING 3 / 5
Reviewed for the Kindle Book Review Team
I was quite excited to start this book; the synopsis made it sound like it would be right up my street; and I wasn’t disappointed.
In Herne Bay a teenage girl is reported missing, her parents slain while sleeping in their beds.
On K’Road, Auckland City’s seedy red light district, an egotistical madman is grooming his latest victim.
At Epsom Girls Grammar School a mixed up teenage girl has not arrived in teacher Jack Henson’s year 12 English class.
At Auckland Central Police headquarters, an alcoholic police Detective is assigned the case.
With the help of an unlikely hero, Detective Sam Brooker must put aside his demons and follow an uncommon and sinister path of bloodshed, and betrayal to find the teen, find the killer and ultimately solve the case.
This is the first novel in this series by New Zealand writer, Rhys Chamberlain, and it has the beginnings of a good lead character. The pace is fast and furious and at times made me wince and feel uncomfortable when The Inn Keeper was talking to Grace – it was exactly what I want and expect from a well described and delivered bad guy. The story twists and turns with unexpected bad guys and also managed to throw me off the scent with the informer to ‘The Boss’ – I got it wrong.
So, why did I rate this as 3 stars?
Well… a couple of things, I was disappointed that the story doesn’t conclude; seemingly leaving the option open to continue Grace’s kidnap into a second book, but I wonder just how much story is left to develop? I’d be concerned about the Grace kidnap sustaining a full second book. I’m also not convinced that Sam Brooker is a strong enough character, at the moment, to sustain a full series of books. I’m thinking in terms of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher and Jo Nesbo’s Harry Hole. Brooker did become stronger at the end, and maybe the final few chapters will act as a catalyst from which Chamberlain can build his character. I’m not sure. As I noted above, the beginnings of a good character are there, and I think Chamberlain needs to explore and develop this further in his next book.
The final, and perhaps most infuriating, reason for giving this a three star rating was the lack of editing and proof-reading I felt this book had undergone. The beginning sections were littered with typing and grammatical errors, for example using the wrong their/there/they’re, referring to a suit as pin-stipped rather than pin-striped, capture used instead of captor, pain of glass rather than pane of glass, cue rather that queue, new rather than knew and the wrong to/too. This slowed down my reading and forced me into reading lines two or three times to check my understanding, and therefore impacting on the flow of the book.
There were also some inconsistencies, for example at around 5% through the book the Inn Keeper tells us he usually watches his victims for three weeks, but this one was quick, just a week. But then a page later he refers to the things he noticed over the three week surveillance. I can’t emphasise enough to budding authors how important I feel good proof-reading is. Had this book been better edited, I’d have been leaning more toward the four star ratings.
That said, this has all the hallmarks of becoming a classic crime/thriller series, and if Chamberlain can get a good proof-reader, he’s on to a winner. This book is, at the time of writing, 77p on the Amazon UK site, and is well worth the download and I look forward to reading future episodes in the Sam Brooker series and seeing just how this good guy develops.
To read more about the author and Sam Brooker, please see here or follow Rhys on Twitter @nzsportslife.