One of the beauties of a lazy holiday in the sunshine is the luxury of time to indulge in reading. I read two books. And what an eclectic mix they were:
The Dispatcher by Ryan David Jahn
I was really looking forward to reading this book, recommended to me by fellow crime reader and writer, @RebeccaBradley , as one of her fave crime thrillers. I’m pleased to say, I wasn’t disappointed.
The book opens with Ian Hunt, a former cop now control room dispatcher, taking a call from his fourteen year old daughter, Maggie, who went missing seven years ago. With no contact during this period she is presumed dead, her funeral taking place just four months previous.
With cleverly woven prose, the author drags you into the story from the first line, your heart is in a vice as you feel Ian’s mixture of elation and angst at hearing his daughter’s voice – she is alive, but the phone goes dead before he can locate her.
What follows is a desperate race to find the daughter he thought he’d lost. Although Ian is assisted by Bulls Mouth Police Department, he goes out on a limb and, as readers, we feel every inch of his journey.
As the story unfolds, it is also told separately through Maggie and her kidnappers’ point of view (in addition to Ian’s), making it deliciously scary and suspenseful. Just when Ian almost appears to reach his daughter, the author injects another twist, sending the chase in a different direction.
The characters are brilliantly crafted and layered to make them believable. I found Maggie particularly intriguing; writing through the eyes of a thirteen year old who has been in captivity for seven years is no mean feat, but the author achieves it with aplomb.
Health warning: this is an incredibly scary, fast moving thriller containing graphic violence in places. But it’s also a heart wrenching story of what lengths a father will go, to rescue one of his own.
An original and thrilling read.
50 Shades of Grey by E L James
Swamped in controversy, much has been written about this book. The bestselling paperback of all time, it’s such a huge hit that it’s almost become popular to be the one who hasn’t read it. Although not my usual reading material, when BBC Radio 4 dubbed it ‘Mummy Porn’, I felt I simply couldn’t miss out.
Allegedly a Twilight spin off, this is essentially an erotic love story between the enigmatic Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele. It begins with their meeting, developing into a romance with a difference: he is a sexual Dominant; she is a virgin experiencing her first love affair and seeking a caring relationship.
The book raised the question of his psyche and what makes him incapable of a normal caring relationship, yet doesn’t really explore the issue to a satisfactory conclusion. It finished rather abruptly and I’m guessing you need to read books two and three for a satisfactory explanation – a triumph for her publishers, one might think;)
The story did grip me from the beginning, I certainly held my breath at times, and pulled my eyelids back on more than one occasion. This wasn’t the best book I’ve read, or the worst. Whilst no literary classic, I don’t think it deserves the bashing it’s had online. On the whole, I enjoyed, in a fascinating kind of way. Would I read again? Probably not. Will I read books two and three? Not sure. But I’m glad I read the first.