Sunday, 18 December 2011

"Already Gone," by John Rector

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Stuff and Nonsense by Amy Cockram is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.

I confess, I'm a bit rubbish.  I received "Already Gone" in the post a couple of months ago as a review copy, courtesy of the publishers Simon and Schuster.  The release date was 8th December and I had hoped to read it and write a review in time but, as usual, work and life got in the way.

The hero of John Rector's second novel is Jake Reese.  Jake has been drinking in a bar with work colleagues, but leaves to go home to his beautiful wife, Diane, to whom he has not long been married.  While in the parking lot, before he has time to get into the car, he is attacked by two men who hold him down and sever his ring finger complete with wedding ring.  His finger is then mailed to him in the post, and he starts to think, with a feeling of mounting dread, that criminal connections from his past are catching up with him.

This is quite different from my usual reading.  The blurb on the book cover compares Rector to Linwood Barclay and Harlan Coben - neither of whom I have read - and also has a quote of recommendation from Simon Kernick (who I have tried reading, but couldn't get on with his prose style).  This is more a thriller than a mystery, and I did find that I rather missed the authoritarian figure of a detective who works through an intellectual puzzle. 

While this was perhaps not to my personal taste, I did find things that I liked about this book.  I found that I was drawn into the book by Rector's use of first person narrative which, in particular, made the opening attack on Jake seem visceral and traumatic.  His sparse, direct prose style - which is robust and muscular - suits his material well, and he dives quickly into the action right from the intriguing opening passages of the novel.  His characters are economically defined through their actions and dialogue, and not through swathes of description that would slow the trajectory of the plot.   If you are a thriller fan who enjoys action, pace and intrigue then you will probably find much to enjoy in this novel.

For me, though, I'm probably going to return to some Jackson Brodie.  All that action gets a bit tiring.

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