Today’s team review is from Terry, she blogs here http://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/
Terry has been reading The Blue Ridge Project by Neil Rochford
THE BLUE RIDGE PROJECT by Neil Rochford
4 out of 5 stars
This is a complicated and cleverly thought out thriller with three main strands that come together smoothly; it’s a jolly good plot, original and unusual. Murders, evil politicians, psychosis, mind control, dark secrets from the past—it’s got the lot. I wasn’t quite sure at first, it just seemed like another forgettable crime suspense thriller type book, fairly readable but not that memorable, but then at about 25% it suddenly got more interesting, and I started to get seriously into it about half way through. There’s a well placed ‘before’ section that explains how all the situations you read about first have come about; the planning gets a tick from me.
Two things made this book not work as well as it might have done, for me. One was the characterisation, or lack of it. Most of the characters remained one dimensional, their dialogue mostly used as a vehicle for the plot, and with little insight into their heads. The exception to this is main character Robert, who I could ‘see’ a bit more than the others (and psycho Lyons was good, too), but female cop Andrea was a man in all but name (why is it that women writers can usually write men better than male writers can write women?). Because there were so many characters and they didn’t walk out of the page and into my imagination, I sometimes got confused with who each one was. Even when the plot is the star of the show, if you don’t connect with the characters you don’t care what happens to them. I’d also be tempted to trim the cast list down.
My other minor complaint is that I thought the book could do with final proofread, and another edit. Example: ‘She pushed open a door to reveal a spacious lounge. There were two comfortable-looking brown-leather chairs across from each other with a small, round, wooden table held up by a wooden sphere, instead of legs, that had been carved and polished with great care, and a round, flat piece of wood for the table top.’ This would have been much more succinctly written as ‘In the spacious lounge stood two comfortable looking brown leather chairs separated by a small, immaculately carved and polished, wooden table.’ You don’t need to know that the doctor pushed open the door before she and Andrea walked into the room (let it be presumed), and maybe we don’t need to know about the plinth, either. This one just jumped out at me but there were a few similar. I only put this in detail because at the end of the book the author has expressed the desire for feedback via reviews.
Having said all this, I would still recommend The Blue Ridge Project, and the author has a good handle on suspense; it kept me interested and I wasn’t tempted to abandon or skip read. I gather this is Rochford’s first novel; I am sure he will iron out his debut novelist dodgy bits, as most do.