Saturday, 21 March 2015

Everything is not all that it seems

In a beguiling tale of deception and murder, desire and theft, seduction and betrayal—where nothing is what it appears to be—a man is murdered and an iconic musical instrument is stolen during a gathering at Eliot Sexton’s Park Avenue apartment. The stolen item—an object of desire worshipped by millions—is the key to solving the crime, or so the detective brought in to investigate believes. The murder, however, is not nearly as straightforward as it seems—nor is the theft.

Though the island of Manhattan presents no shortage of suspects—many of them capable of killing to satisfy their appetites—Eliot, a young economic historian and writer, soon becomes the prime suspect. As he draws closer to the truth behind the theft and murder, he also becomes the killer’s next target.

Irreverent, provocative, and utterly unpredictable, Dangerous Illusions is a weeklong polyrhythmic journey into contemporary New York that will keep readers guessing right up to its thrilling conclusion

I can honestly say that I don’t like the noir genre and although this book is listed as a mystery & thriller it has noir elements – incompetent and corrupt cops, femme fetales, high society, a dark underbelly just below the surface, and the ubiquitous hero who in this case is also a victim and the narrator who reveals the plot oh so gradually.

For a first time novelist this author had produced a fairly gripping book.  The characters are well formed and unique.  The writing is also good but on the whole the novel is let down by the fact that the murder is not investigated to its fullest being mentioned briefly and then returned to at the end of the novel in a rather rushed ending leaving too many unanswered questions and loose ends.

Plus the author does tend to stop the action for pages long descriptions of rooms and musical instruments, reminiscent of HG Wells.  Yes I can understand scene setting but the depth to which this author went describing a drum shop was excruciating and then the music room – we all get that you know your drums, the protagonist is writing a book about it, that should be enough said.  We don’t need to know the ins and outs of which symbol was how old or which drum had which cover and in what colour!  (The author clearly knows about drums (and music) but does he have to prove it to the reader?) These lengthy descriptions add nothing to the plot, take up the readers’ time and detract from any suspense that has already been established.

That said I continued with this novel as I am a compulsive book finisher but I did start skimming some of these descriptions.  There were many twists and turns in this novel but something felt off – possibly the fact that I didn’t like the noir genre.

This debut book had loads of potential but for this reader fell short of the expectation having read the back cover blurb.  This reader felt that the time spent reading this book was wasted and never able to be recouped.

Full Disclosure: ARC received from Netgalley for an honest review.

I rated this 3 stars on Netgalley and 'It was OK' on Amazon (3 stars) and Goodreads (2 stars).

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