Top critical review
Not nearly as good as the first one
Reviewed in the United States on January 25, 2019
I was hoping this book would be a return to form after a poor second outing for Jackson Brodie. The first book - Case Histories- had some real effort behind it and I thought was an excellent book in the Hilary Mantel vein. The second seemed to be phoned in and this one is not much different. Above all the plot is reliant almost entirely on deus ex machina to move it forwards. Pretty much everything seems to be coincidence stemming from a train accident that has nothing to do with the characters other than allow the writer an easy way to throw them all together. I had the feeling that the book was just what was in the author's head that day. None of the events seemed motivated by a story related theme and much of the action was not believable. The opening is good. Unlike installment 2 it follows the crime/mystery/police procedural format and begins with strong initial sequence; unfortunately the strong beginning never becomes a coherent story. it just flops around getting weaker towards a highly unsatisfactory conclusion. One has the feeling that the author is not really comfortable with the genre. Although the writing can be very strong - nice insights into how people think and act, it's all off the cuff and extraneous to the core narrative.
A minor concern is a lot of grammatical errors which were distracting "nauseous" alot instead of nauseated, wrong tense (was instead of were in the conditional) and occasionally the wrong person. Also, the Kindle edition repeated the last page in each of the last three chapters and appears to have omitted the correct pages.
A talented writer but this outing needed a lot more plot outline to be built into it and perhaps less digression on characters or facts that play no role whatsoever in the underlying story.
The hero is not active at all but is always acted upon