READ 28 – 29 January 2012
MY RATING 3 / 5
I reviewed this book for and on behalf of the Kindle Book Review.
So, I find myself unusually torn when writing this review.
On the one hand, for a debut novel, the writing of The Emerald Cancer is excellent. It’s a well paced thriller and is just that – a thriller. All too often I find myself reading a thriller only to find it’s more of a detective / crime novel. The writing is unusually skilled and accomplised for a first time novel and shows a lot of promise for excellent future work from Hulme.
The other reviews for this book (on amazon.co.uk) are generally good, with one reviewer (A. Smith) passing comment on the frustrating editing errors in the book (which I concur with) so why have I given The Emerald Cancer three stars?
Well, the book starts of excellently, it’s strong, pacey and you get a real sense that this is going to be a cracking read. But, all too quickly it falls into a raunchy storyline (Patrick’s noticing his stepfather’s reaction to beating his wife and the follow on story). It’s unnecessary and the effect it’s trying to create could easily be created in other ways, in my opinion.
The way that Hulme introduces us to a particular part of a character’s life and then in the following chapters explores the lead up to this incident. This is a really great plot and story telling device. It enables the reader to get underneath the skin of the characters and understand their reactions. But, yet again all too quickly the story delved into unnenessary territory; for example the death of Bridie and the subsequent incestuous relationship between Sinead and her father wasn’t, in my option necessary. Again, the relationship could have been created in a different and far less gratuitous manner than it was.
Now, I realise that I may be coming across as something of a prude, but I’m really not. Where sex scenes and the such are needed or used well, then fine. But I felt that in The Emerald Cancer some of these scenes were just a little bit too gratuitous and used unnecessarily, and for that reason I have given it three stars. It was so graphic in places that I actually skipped the chapter [WARNING PLOT SPOLIER]. The main scene that I skipped being the scenes with Leila and the story of her enslavery and the subsequent murder of her captor, it was unnecessarily graphic. The most disgusting of scenes was the bestiality story with the donkey. I really don’t see what this adds. The story of Leila’s enslavery alone was enough to give her reason for the grisly murder.
I recognise that I am possibly in a minority on this one, but it really did feel like erotic scenes used for the sake of it, serving no real or clear purpose.
That said, if you can live with this sort of thing and want a solid fast paced thriller set against the backdrop of the IRA conflict then this is for you. The story is solid with all loose ends concluded nicely, and leaving the story open for Sinead and Patrick to continue their stories in the future. Just that, for me, some of the scenes were just a little bit too gratuitous on this occasion.
Hulme has an exciting future ahead of him, and I hope to see future (less gratuitous!) books.
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