Safe House – Chris Ewan

719v3y6bglTitle – Safe House

Author – Chris Ewan

Published – 2012

Genre – Crime fiction

I don’t have my own Kindle, but with a 20p offer at Christmas combined with 700+ 5 star reviews on Amazon, this seemed worth persuading my nearest and dearest to lend me their eReader.

This started off as a cracking read with a style that made me think of Dick Francis. The setting is the Isle of Man and the hero is Rob, a “heating engineer” and keen motorcyclist. When Rob comes round in hospital after a motorbike crash and asks about his passenger no-one knows anything about her. She wasn’t taken to hospital and the implication from the Police and Doctors is that his grief at the recent loss of his sister has affected his memory.

Fretting over this mystery Rob is helped by a detective who has been asked by Rob’s Mum to investigate the death of his sister. They quickly make a startling discovery at the cottage where Rob first met his mystery girl, and it becomes clear that there is much more going on than meets the eye.

I couldn’t read the first half of the book quickly enough, but somewhere along the way the it lost me. Now it might just be that I was reading it on the kindle and I find that can affect how I feel about a book, but I suspect not. The action was divided between several locations and points of view, and I felt this gave away parts of the story which I would have preferred Rob to uncover for himself, it took some of the mystery away for me.

I enjoyed the setting of the book – there aren’t too many set on the Isle of Man, and it was a great introduction to the area. It’s obvious that the author knows the location well and seemed to make the most of the variety the island offers. Rob is an engaging although reluctant hero, very much in the mould of a Dick Francis character, he is also a pretty battered hero too! What did disappoint me, however, was that the motorbike and TT interest of Rob and his family wasn’t really used in the story – which seemed a bit of a wasted opportunity.

Probably too much action and too little detection for me. But at 20 pence you can’t knock it!

You can see another point of view from Luca Veste.

Score – 3/5

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12 comments

  1. Sue – Thanks for the fine review. I’ve had that happen to me too, where I ‘dove into’ a novel only to find myself losing interest about halfway through. There are several reasons that can happen but anything that takes away some of the mystery and anticipation is certainly a big one. The setting gets my interest too; as you say, there aren’t many novels set in the Isle of Man. I’ll have to put this one on my ‘wish list’ even if there were things one would change about it.

  2. I also picked this book up while it was on offer and I saw it being mentioned a lot on Twitter. I’ve yet to read it, but I like this review and get a good sense of the book from it. I’ll give it a go and see what happens.

  3. The family wasn’t so keen on the more recent Francises, so Ihaven’t read one for a while, but when I’m next home I’m planning atrip back into the world of horse racing and murder mystery andtough-but-damaged heroes in memory of the author. I just asked myfather if he’d really enjoyed receiving a Francis every Christmas orif they were just grin-and-pretend-you-like-it presents, andhe told me they were “always interesting, but a bit in one ear and outthe other”. My mother, however, described them as “chick lit for men”and I think that’s a fair summing-up. So here’s to you, Mr Francis,and the glimpse into another world you provided to my teenage self.

    1. My Dad used to give me one every Christmas & I would try to save them for as long as I could before I started. There were even years where they sat on the bookshelf still in their wrapping paper. I think writers publish books much more frequently now!

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