Sunday, 16 November 2014

Book #42 Rage Against The Dying by Becky Masterman

Rage Against The Dying

The way I pick books is often planned, I either know an author has something coming out or I hear about it and mentally list it, or it gets directly recommended. Sometimes though I like to roll the dice and do a lucky dip, then the reasons I pick a book become quite random, and instead of judging the book by its cover I tend to give a book a go on the strength of its title, quite often, as in this case, knowing literally nothing about the book.  The last time I did this was for 'In Tearing Haste' which is what led to my obsession with the Mitford family.

In this case the title is taken from the famous Dylan Thomas poem Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night recently used in the script of the film Interstellar. I actually eventually chose it based on watching a woman engrossed in it on a step in Trafalgar Square.

Something of an Alas! occurred upon the discovery that it was a crime thriller, which as I mentioned in my review of Cuckoo's Calling is really not my genre, because of general predictability problems. I bought it anyway. In some respects I was grateful for it, as I am coming off an intense novel currently embargoed til February, and so it acted as something of a palette cleanser.

We meet a man assessing an elderly woman as a potential victim, before he is about to rape then kill her.

The opening of this novel almost promises to be a very different book, like the prologue was a flash of inspiration from which the writer wasn't sure where to turn. From here she steers the novel somewhat unfortunately into incredibly familiar territory not just for novels but for cop shows and films in general.

The former FBI agent, the serial killer she never caught, the guilt over the lost protege, the new young upstart challenging the superiors who care about career and image over case, going rogue against everyone else to solve it alone because you alone believe you are right, and <gasp> indeed you are.

There is nothing new to see here, nothing at all, and yet for that it was both engaging, and highly readable, at no point did I feel like tossing it aside incomplete. There were a few sentences that I highlighted because I thought they were pretty great expressions of certain things. An easy and undemanding read which reminded me greatly of the early Kay Scarpetta novels by Patricia Cornwell before they slid down the mediocrity slope and became utterly unappealing.    

It read as if it had been built for a film adaptation too, and I wouldn't be surprised to see it appear on a big screen near you. A sequel lands in the new year, having read the synopsis my reaction was an instant 'no thanks' and yet I'm not sorry I read this one at all.  As a writer you can see in those little sentences I enjoyed that she has a lot of potential, which will be wasted if she goes further down these very well trodden roads.


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