I'm a huge fan of crime fiction - I love reading most things to be honest but crime fiction is my particular favourite - but, however devious and deliciously sordid the mind that creates it, it does tend to get a bit repetitive. There may be more than one way to skin a cat but there seem to be a limited number of ways to extinguish human life, even with the suspension of disbelief that most crime fiction calls for.
The strapline for Will Carver's The Two says : "Hunting one serial killer was just the beginning. Now there are two on the loose ...". OK, I thought to myself, turning to the first page, there's the unique selling point of this particular crime novel then - a pair of serial killers working in tandem. But that was just the beginning. Will Carver manages to come up with a novel that is disturbing, unsettling and highly original.
I found it quite difficult to get into the book for the first few chapters. Chronology and all-seeing narrators are for wimps, apparently. Will Carver uses an innovative narrative technique involving different viewpoints, a timeline that jumps about all over the place and a plot that throws you in at the deep end, not knowing who is telling the truth or what the hell is going on. As the body count rises, we start to get a clearer picture of what is happening but still have no idea of motives or who are the good guys and who are the bad guys. The supernatural element, introduced by Detective January David's cryptic visions, just makes it all more complex, leaving the reader unable to work it all out until the final pages - always the sign of a well-honed piece of crime fiction.
As a teacher of teens, I often hear people say that they don't like reading books and that watching TV is more exciting. Well, this could be just the style of fast-paced, intriguing and original writing that could appeal to TV-lovers, especially as various elements reminded me of popular TV shows. The "voices from beyond" of the victims reminded me of Desperate Housewives deceased narrator, the haphazard timeline was reminiscent of series such as Lost or 24, the psychic visions echo Medium and the ambivalent good guy/bad guy character could be seen as a type of Dexter-figure. But that's not to say that you need to be a pop culture lover to enjoy the book. It's a cracking read that would appeal to any hard-nosed crime fiction reader.
Not having read Girl 4, I'm not sure which open-ended plot lines are references to things that have gone before and which are purposely left open to be developed in a follow-up book but there is certainly plenty more to come from this series and I'll definitely be looking out for a sequel. Will Carver is high on my 'must watch" list from now on !
star rating : 4.5/5
- Paperback: 480 pages
- Publisher: Arrow (12 April 2012)
- Language English
- ISBN-10: 0099551047
- ISBN-13: 978-0099551041
RRP : £6.99
Disclaimer : I received a free review copy of the book from the publishers in order to write my review.
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