Monday, September 19, 2016

The English Boys by Julia Thomas

First Sentence:  The Book of Common Prayer, as any good member of the Church of England knows, if rife with dark and fearsome parts.
      
Tamsyn Burke is murdered moments before she was meant to walk down the aisle of her wedding.  Two men loved her; Hugh Ashley-Hunt, her fiancée, and Daniel Richardson, his best friend.  Daniel can’t let it go and end up joining forces with Tamsyn’s sister, Carey, to find the killer.  Their investigation reveals long-hidden secrets.
      
We begin with an interesting comparison—“…one line in The Solemnization of Marriage, which called forth the “dreadful day of judgment when the secrets of all hearts shall be disclosed.”  It is also so much improved over the usual portent to which some authors subject the reader.
      
In addition to the aforementioned characters, one is also very intrigued by DCI Gordon Murray, and DS Ennis.  Thomas does have a wonderful way of introducing characters through their personalities.  There is a nice balance between the characters, as well as time spent in the past and present.  There is also a nice balance of the investigations done by the civilians and the police.
      
It is also good when an author makes you stop and think.  Descartes’ Cartesian Circle, and The Theory of Chaos vs. Determination aren’t often detailed in a mystery, but the information is fascinating.  Some of Thomas’ observations are certainly unique and inclined to say with one—“He watched as a couple pushing a pram with a freakish plastic cover went by; he tried to imagine zipping a child into what seemed an airless prison, cut off from all humanity by a torrent of rain.”  
      
      And then we get to the end when things rather fall apart and things happen which make no sense at all and were completely unnecessary.  In fact, the more one think about it, the more annoying it is.  It was incredibly disappointing that the author made the choices she did.  Making some changes would not only have provided a wicked-good twist, but have been more much suspenseful.  It also could have led to a very good ongoing series with more interesting characters, should the author have wanted.
      
The English Boys” is a decent debut book and it was a completely engrossing story that was very well done, up until the end.  However, the end will cause this review to approach the author’s next book with caution.

THE ENGLISH BOYS (Novel/Pol Proc-Daniel Richardson-England-Contemp) – Good
      Thomas, Julia – 1st book
      Midnight Ink – 2016

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