[I read this for a mailing list discussion and these comments are taken from that discussion; which means that they are out of context and contain spoilers.]
I don't think Thorne could tell the difference between "finding the
killer" and "proving that the killer is Jeremy Bishop" but I did think
we understood enough to make sense of his obsession. I think the
paradox of having Bishop *have* to be the killer and yet setting things
up so that he definitely couldn't be worked very well and got the reader
as confused as Thorne. I didn't see Thorne's one track mind as a
character flaw, I knew there had to be some sense in the plot somewhere
and so did he.
My only problem was that I hit upon James as a possible killer quite
early on because there seemed to be a paucity of suspects if it really
wasn't going to be Jeremy so I was able to see through some of the plot
devices but I wasn't certain that Jeremy wasn't guilty until the last
minute. I thought it could end up being Jeremy plus accomplice and I
did have Anne pegged for an accomplice for quite a while so I wasn't
really a star detective either.
I can forgive Thorne for getting things wrong, it was his book after all
so I knew he was going to triumph one way or the other. I thought the
degree of suspense was just right, I wasn't hung on tenterhooks
desperate for him to sort things out but I was turning the pages at
speed to find out what would happen.
As to the soundtrack - I'm not much of a music person and I tend to have
only the vaguest idea of what the artists mentioned actually sound like
so this bit of books (and I do agree that it seems to be a really common
thing in books lately) tends to pass me by entirely and doesn't really
tell me anything about his character at all.
I guess from the way the question's posed that I'd best save my thoughts
on the bits from the killer and victim's viewpoints for another day?
Alison made the book for me. What should have been something really
*really* depressing was given light and heart and humour. Yes, it was
still really depressing everytime I stopped to think about it but I
looked forward to hearing Alison's take on events and her thoughts and I
was so pleased when she managed to communicate with Anne.
I didn't catch at the end if James explained the reasons behind his
desire to leave women in this locked in state but I was glad when Alison
chose not to take the life he had "given" her.
She was a huge factor in why I got so involved in this book; I liked
Thorne but I was turning the pages to get to Alison's parts.
I think James's logic went kind of over my head. I understood his
malice stemmed from the car crash that killed his mother but I didn't
really get what he thought he was doing and I'm looking forward to
reading answers from people who got under his skin more than I did. If
he'd purely wanted to frame his father I would have understood but he
also seemed to want to protect his father from the police which I didn't
quite get the point of. Was he just trying to attract some attention to
himself and bring himself into the police enquiry in that way that some
killers seem to like to do?
I liked the theme of parents/children throughout the book. There was
also another of the victims Helen Doyle with her parents killing
themselves and the fact that Alison, who was totally alone in her head,
didn't even have any parents to act concerned on her behalf seemed to
stand out against this background. But these relationships didn't
really help me understand James.
The narrow field of suspects did lead me to consider James but I was
never really convinced of his guilt until Thorne burst in on him. I had
mainly come round to thinking it had to be a partnership job:
Anne/Jeremy and James/Rebecca were two of the combinations I thought
[on the police]
I answered question 5 on friday but it looks like my computer ate my
answer. I said something along the lines of how I didn't really feel
this was a police procedural and one of the reasons was that the police
characters apart from Thorne didn't really stand out to me. Tughan and
Dave Holland are the only two I can place. I hope to see more of both
of them, I think Holland could turn into a decent sidekick and I want to
see Tughan get his come uppance.
Although Anne was a major character in the book I find it hard to say
much about her. She was present in so many roles in different parts of
the book and apart from a while when I thought she might be partnered
with Jeremy in some huge and sick bit of medical research I found her
[on the ending]
For me it was a very satisfactory conclusion and I can't think of
anything that would have been nearly as good an ending (but then I
couldn't imagine how this book was going to end at all anyway which is
why I leave the book writing to people like Mark!). Alison got to exert
control over her life and reject the course that James had chosen for
her. Spot on. I'm looking forward to Scaredy Cat.
Purchased on 2nd November 2002.
A copy of this book is available on BookMooch.