Friday, December 10, 2010

A Quiet Belief in Angels

They say that you should write about what you know. When I began this novel it irritated me. It was slow to get started and read as if it were written by a young writer trying to impress his English teacher. It was about a young writer trying to impress his English teacher. Although billed as a thriller, the thrills came out so slowly that although it was a bout a serial killer, the actual murders were almost incidental. It was really about a young boy growing into a man. It was just that his rites of passage involved being witness to a young girl being raped and dismembered - at least he was the one who found most of the body.

The killing of little girls haunts him throughout his life as tragedy piles on tragedy. It begins immediately pre-war in a small town in Georgia. The description of the environment is believable to me (though who am I to judge). the author comes from Birmingham. I thought it must be Birmingham Alabama, but no, this is Birmingham, England. The novel has won many awards, but although it held my attention, it took a lot of getting in to, and the plot denouement was too obvious. In any murder mystery there must be more than one possible solution, but if all the other suspects are eliminated with 50 pages to go, it is easy to guess the killer. You could, I guess, bring in a new character, but that would be spoiling the game, but when the answer comes not from the plot, but from the number of pages left to read, it is too disappointing for words.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sometimes you wonder why books such as these get all the awards, when more gripping and well-written books are snubbed. Maybe one influential critic loves it, and everyone else falls in line.

I'm happy to say that doesn't appear to be the case in the science fiction venue. The Hugo and Nebula awards are the two biggies, and I try to make a point of reading most of the winners. Although sometimes I'm disappointed, it seems that most of the acclaimed books are easy to read, fun, hold your interest, and, being science fiction, have some clever notions to tell about.