I saw this book on THE Book Club on Facebook (TBCONFB) in their spin off review group, and the premise was so interesting to me that I volunteered to read it.
Two authors have died in the same gruesome way as their book endings, and yet the police don’t suspect foul play. When a third author, Joy Haversham, dies, her manuscript “Silver” is unfinished, and this time, unlike with the other deaths, a man—Gil Ray—is charged and convicted of causing Joy’s death. At the prison where Gil is being held, guards begin to fall ill and, in some cases, die in mysterious circumstances and as Gil’s release date gets ever closer, Joy’s husband, Roger, starts behaving rather oddly and her daughter, Grace, turns to former journalist, Nick Slater for help and support. Could “Silver” hold the answers to Joy’s death?
Nick Slater is a one-time successful novelist, although his second book was poorly received and his third one doesn’t look like it will get off the ground either. Nick covered the original Joy Haversham trial and as the killer gets closer to being released from prison, Nick finds himself, once more, embroiled in the Haversham family.
This book could have been great. As I said at the beginning of this post, the premise is very interesting, but the book didn’t hit the mark for me. It took quite some time to get into it – at least a third of the way – before it began to mildly pique my interest.
I couldn’t connect with any of the characters and I think it was because the writing style was very much ‘narrator’ rather than inside the characters heads. The style created too much distance for my personal tastes, almost as though a third party was watching the events unfold and reporting on what they saw. As the book reached its climax, I would have loved to have been firmly in Nick’s head, seeing and feeling things from his perspective, but alas, it was not to be.
The narrator style also created quite a bit of head hopping without a definitive scene break, especially where the author wanted to get something specific across, and I found some of the transitions clunky which, in turn, jerked me from the story in a very uncomfortable way.
I should also mention that although this is marketed as a thriller, there are supernatural elements to the story which definitely add mystery, although I don’t feel the explanation as to how they came about was fully fleshed out.
I also found the character of Christine, a work colleague of Grace and ex (of sorts) of Nick Slater to be superfluous and not really adding anything to the story. If her character was completely removed, nothing would have changed in the story.
This is Mark L Fowler’s first novel. On the positive side, he shows promise. But in his next novel, I’d like to see his writing much deeper, getting right into the characters heads and having a good old poke around, which, in turn, will give the reader more chance of connecting deeply with the characters – and ultimately caring about what happens to them.