Friday 6 April 2012

Book review : Snakes & Ladders - Sean Slater

There may only be one letter's difference between psych doctors and psycho doctors but that one little "ohhh" is a sound that will escape your lips on many occasions as you read Sean Slater's Snakes & Ladders ! We meet (or rediscover if you've read Sean Slater's debut novel, The Survivor, released last year) homicide cop Jacob Striker, hot on the heels of Vancouver's latest serial killer. He's definitely a good guy but doesn't always do things completely by the book, which makes him more realistic and likeable. His on-off relationship with partner Felicia and strained relationship with his daughter add depth to his character and make him a really interesting lead.

The book starts off like any classic crime novel with a string of murders, this time dressed up as suicides, and the usual suspects soon become apparent. In fact, you'll think you have it all worked out quite early on but the plot has more red herrings than a communist fishmonger and the author's cleverly designed curveballs will leave you guessing right up to the very end. The victims all seem linked to a mental health clinic and its rather mysterious doctors. Striker's past is hinted at - he is supposed to be undergoing counselling following his wife's suicide, her bipolar disorder is also evoked and his daughter is hobbling around on crutches - but, while these are all things that left me feeling intrigued and sure that they must have been dealt with in the first book, the novel works absolutely fine as a very enjoyable stand-alone novel. The end leaves a few plot strands hanging so I'm sure there will be a new Jacob Striker novel some time soon.

I'll definitely be looking out for it. Snakes & Ladders is gripping, fast-paced and intelligently written novel, which is probably partly down to the fact that Sean Slater is a real Vancouver cop so he knows exactly what he's talking about. Definitely one to watch !

star rating : 5/5

RRP : £12.99

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd (15 Mar 2012)
  • Language English
  • ISBN-10: 0857200402
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857200402
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 15.2 x 3.8 cm 

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  1. This sounds great, my mum and dad both love crime fiction so this is a great idea for a birthday present!

  2. This is a fanbloodytastic book. A great read and quite fast flowing throughout.

  3. As a former homicide detective, I know the vagaries of the human psyche, the poor streets where forgotten souls converge, and the machinations of police procedure and politics. Sean Slater has captured all of these in a riveting story that takes moral depravity to a new level. His protagonist is believable and, more importantly, someone the reader is drawn to. The other characters all seem to be flesh and blood personified on paper. The fast paced action, the compelling intrigue, and the heart racing suspense conclude with astounding drama. Snakes and Ladders is a great read and a marvellous second book from a new voice. I look forward to Sean Slater's next book.


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