Author – John Rector
Published – 2011
Genre – Crime fiction
I feel as if I have been waiting for this book since I started this blog at the beginning of 2011. So here it is – the first “5 star” review.
Jake Reese is an ordinary guy with an ordinary job, trying to block out the memory of his violent past by planning for the future with his new wife, Diane. But the past has a habit of refusing to stay buried…When two men attack Jake in a car park and cut off his ring finger, he tries to dismiss it as an unlucky case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. But when events take a more sinister turn and Diane goes missing, Jake knows he can no longer hide from the truth.
As he embarks on a mission to find Diane, Jake finds himself dragged back into the life he thought he had walked away from forever and the days ahead begin to unfold in terrifying ways…
The opening is gripping – quite literally – as Jake is mysteriously attacked outside a bar and the assailants cut off his finger with bolt cutters. They give him no clue why they have done this, and he’s unable (or unwilling) to think of a reason for the assault. But Jake is no innocent – he has a violent past that he has worked hard to put behind him, in fact he’s recently married and is about to take up a new position as a university lecturer.
The attack affects the relationship between Jake and his wife, Diane, which isn’t helped when he starts drinking to excess. The tension creeps up when Jake spots his two attackers on the university campus, and then Diane disappears. Unable to convince the police to take her disappearance seriously Jake takes matters into his own hands.
And I’ll leave the storyline there to avoid any chance of giving too much away!
So what is it that really makes this such a great read? I think in truth the answer is balance. A bit like Goldilocks & those bears, it’s finding something that has just the right amount of action, a plot that makes you think, but isn’t so convoluted that you don’t know whether you’re coming or going. There’s plenty of tension, changes of pace, some pretty gruesome violence and there are psychological angles that keep the reader guessing until the very end.
Jake’s character is well written – although he had a violent past and he doesn’t shirk from getting his hands dirty, he obviously loves his wife & while this may cloud his judgement he remains likeable. I was certainly rooting for him. He suffers physically and mentally from the very beginning of the story. Unlike some authors whose heroes seem to miraculously heal, Rector keeps it realistic with Jake bandaged and bruised.
From a personal point of view I also think I rated the book so highly because, for once, I didn’t didn’t get to the end & think “it was OK but it would have been better if “, there was just nothing I would change.
Rector is an engaging writer and it’s no word of a lie to say I couldn’t put the book down.
Score – 5/5