Sunday, 23 August 2015

No Rest For the Dead by Jeffrey Deaver, David Baldacci, Alexander McCall Smith, Kathy Reichs et al

Reviewed by Chris Longmuir

It was curiosity that led me to this book. Why? Because It is a crime novel written by twenty six different crime writers, all of them best sellers, and many of them my favourite authors. When I discovered the book it set me wondering what kind of novel a multitude of writers would produce, and how would each author's style contribute to the whole when there was such a variety of writing styles.

It is fair to say I read this book in a different way. Normally I would engross myself in the story, not interesting myself in stylistic issues, unless of course they grated. However, with this book I was conscious of each author's style and was giving consideration to how these contributed to the story, and was it in any way detrimental.

There were, of course, differences in style, although these were not obtrusive, and the story flowed well from the start. However, I was astonished when I noticed at least two of these authors indulged in head hopping in all of their scenes.

The story focuses round a woman who was executed for the murder of her husband ten years previously. The cop (it's set in the U.S.) is convinced she was innocent and sets out to look for the evidence to prove it. The book features an intriguing set of characters, and although they are well developed I found it difficult to relate to any of them, perhaps because the development was being done by different writers. Some characters appeared in the early part of the book and then vanished, again probably due to the way the book was being written. But the storyline was good and the plot well developed with each writer following on from where the previous writer had left off. The style of each chapter did vary a bit with some chapters passive and others so pacy it made my heart thump. But there was nothing so different that if I'd been reading the book in a different way would have caused me to stop reading.

My verdict? I like the book, I liked the story, and as an experiment in writing I would say it was successful.

Chris Longmuir

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