Friday 11 June 2010

Book review : Don’t Look Twice – Andrew Gross

The blurb on the back of the book announces the basic plot as “a revenge killing, a dead public attorney and a family caught in the crossfire”. Well, OK, it has potential but it doesn’t sound particularly original – and this is a sentiment that unfortunately stayed with me throughout the book.

The opening chapters sucked me in straight away and had me gripped – Detective Ty Hauck and his teenage daughter are caught in a drive-by shooting and seeing his beloved child lying on the floor, apparently dead, brings back memories of a tragic accident which took his other child away from him some years ago. Visiting the family of the public attorney, tragic victim of the shooting, to break the news was another moment of great poignancy – seeing the effect on his wife and daughter and learning about his autistic son had me really feeling for the characters. Sadly these moments of real emotion and deep connections between people were few and far between. The characters are too superficial for us to develop any real empathy with them so we can’t get emotionally involved with their plight. Many of the victims are only introduced a few pages before their demise so we don’t have time to get to like them or even care about what happens to them. Even the crucial relationship between Ty and his brother Warren is skimmed over, barely getting below the surface, so we can't develop any real feelings for the pair of them. Ty's love interests, namely his ex wife, his on-the-way-out current girlfriend and his new flame, are also kept at arm's length, being conveniently moved out of town before any real rapport can build up between them.

The plotline, involving politics, corporate deals, betrayal, hit men and corrupt cops, has a few twists that I didn't expect but seemed a bit overly complicated and convoluted at times. It struck me as a bit like a male version of chicklit, focusing on action and skimming over the relationship stuff ! I guess that makes it perfect lightweight poolside reading for the guys, but I felt that something was lacking, namely any real sense of empathy with the characters or deep psycholgical development of the main protagonists. It's a reasonable enough read if you don't mind not getting emotionally involved with the characters.

star rating : 2.5/5

RRP : £6.99

Paperback: 512 pages
Publisher: Harper (28 May 2009)
Language English
ISBN-10: 0007242492
ISBN-13: 978-0007242498

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