Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Luccia reviews Cleaver Square by Sean & Daniel Campbell

Today’s book review comes from Luccia, she blogs at http://lucciagray.wordpress.com

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Luccia chose to read and review Cleaver Square by Sean Campbell

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Cleaver Square: A Plot-driven Detective Novel

Cleaver Square is a well-plotted detective novel. I enjoyed travelling around London with Detective Morton, I also liked the detailed police procedural and scientific information, including autopsy reports and legal issues. At times it was like watching an entertaining crime film, with all the intricacies of a complex investigation.

The plot was cleverly designed and well developed until the final surprising twist is revealed. It’s narrated in third person, although the narrator is sometimes omniscient and sometimes, takes the point of view of one of the characters, such as Morton or Charlie Mathews, a young boy in a foster family, who is an essential component of the plot which will gradually develop throughout the novel (I don’t want to add any spoilers). The prose was mostly easy and pleasant to read.

It’s definitely a plot-driven novel, because the emphasis is clearly on an external conflict, in this case a murder, and its solution through a specific sequence of events, in this case tracking down the criminal. There is a great deal of action involved, and both the dialogue and the action are mainly concerned with unveiling the plot and solving the issue at hand. In this aspect there is no objection, the plot was correctly and smoothly conveyed.

On the other hand, there is an aspect which made it hard for me to enjoy the novel as much as I would have liked. I felt it lacked character development. I personally prefer character-driven novels where the emphasis is on personal conflict and the relationships between the characters. Character driven novels do not have a tangible or specific outcome. They are more concerned with how the characters cope with conflict, how they make decisions, and how these decisions affect their relationships with each other and their lives in general. The outcome is often a change of attitude, or a new situation in the characters’ lives. There is often no specific or definite solution or conclusion. I like to meet people when I read a novel, and I enjoy it when the characters to stay with me after I finish reading.

Most novels combine engaging characters and a compelling plot to varying degrees, but in this case, I felt that the lack of character development made it difficult for me to connect with the story itself, because I wasn’t interested in the characters themselves and what happened to them. As a result, I almost lost interest in the solution of the crime. I would have liked to feel more involved with the people in the novel. I felt like they were saying their lines and playing their part, but I couldn’t relate to them on a personal level.

Overall I’d say that if you enjoy a well-plotted detective novel, set in London, with an unexpected final twist, you’ll enjoy Cleaver Square.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Jessie reviews Bells On Her Toes by Diana J Febry

Today we have a review from team member Jessie, she blogs at http://behindthewillows.com/

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Jessie chose to read and review Bells On Her Toes by Diana J Febry

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I seem to be stuck with an unfortunate combination: the love of a good mystery and a proneness to an overactive, nightmare-inducing imagination. I blame Nancy Drew for my love of a good mystery with all its twists, turns, sleuthing and excitement. Unfortunately, now mysteries are often of the murder type, which plays to that overactive imagination of mine and so they aren’t my typical fare.  Back, ages ago, when we had a TV I could occasionally be sucked into a random crime drama. I’d divide my time between watching icky things between my fingers, enjoying the thrill of the investigation and being majorly confused as to what sort of shenanigans the characters were up to outside their day jobs. I loved it and hated it all at the same time.

I am still tempted by the occasional murder mystery but now exclusively in the written format. Fortunately, books are always better and this one was no exception.

For starters I never had to read any of it from behind my fingers. Because, let’s face it, unless you are the Cat in the Hat, reading with your eyes shut tight makes the whole experience very difficult. I may never look at a pitchfork without wincing again but other than that minor incident the gore was kept to a minimum. The book focused on the sleuthing, investigating and the general fascinating rottenness and strangeness of humans pushed to their limits. You know, all the best parts. It did become apparent early on that this wasn’t the detective’s debut novel but unlike the television crime dramas I’ve seen, I was able to pick up the lines of their personal lives without a problem.

Would I recommend it? Its got twists, its got turns, it’s got drama and horses and tea and it didn’t give me a single nightmare. My only disappointment is that I didn’t read The Skeletons of Birkbury first.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Sheer Fear by Geoffrey West

Sheer FearSheer Fear by Geoffrey David West

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sheer Fear is a Jack Lockwood mystery. A very British police themed storyline which has a host of characters who all have a connection. We meet Jack high up on a crane attempting to stop a man committing suicide. David Hart is a wanted man for murder and rape, but Jack believes he’s been set up and vows to do all he can to prove his innocence.

Ex-police office Stephen Romsey contacts Jack with details which could help him prove David’s innocence, but he also opens up a whole new can of worms. Meanwhile Jack’s girlfriend Mary Doyle has gone missing and Jack finds a trail of danger follows him where ever he goes. High end criminals, politician scandals and a mad woman all play their part in this mystery which covers both topical issues and unsolved ones.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

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