Friday, 29 November 2013

SECOND CHANCE by David Perry

*I received this copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

My rating on this book is undecided, something from 2.5 to 3 Stars but sorry, I cannot be any more generous. This is not because it’s an extremely detestable book which should be burnt to death, no. Second Chance by David Perry is a fairly good thriller which could have been a lot better if more attention was paid towards few, simple tweaks.

My copy had quite a few spelling and phrasing mistakes, I hope they were corrected before publication.

Apart from the similar mistakes on the syntax layer, some issues, in my opinion that needed more attention are these –

First, the premise.
I liked the fact that the thriller was set around pharmacists which I’ve never read before but its sub-plot – the main character who is very devoted to his job has a wife on the deathbed has a chance to save her through a deadly chase. Such a cliché. I’ve read this in so many other books that I’ve lost count.

The main-plot was structured in a treasure-hunt format, which I find really exciting. Well, blame it on Dan Brown but I expected more.

The subject of this “treasure hunt” was something that had the power to revolutionize the whole human history, people would poke each other in the eye for it, countries would go on war and blah blah. But I never felt it. It was conveyed through dialogues many times but I never got the feeling. To me, the whole hunt was like an Enid Blyton’s book instead. Kiddies following breadcrumbs.
I could never acknowledge the seriousness of the situation and it seemed like everything solved itself. The solution to the puzzles came very easily to them, with minimal efforts. A group of people chitchatted for a few minutes and bam! They got the answer. The hunt should have been more complex and interesting, that doesn’t mean more complicating but with more "thrill factor:, more gripping, heart-thudding moments. There were none, not for me, at least.

What I stated above could also have been the side-effect of a plot that didn’t start moving until 60% mark. It took me 5 days to finish this book, the first 30% taking me two days alone! All the characters were introduced in the first quarter, it almost seemed like it had been done in a hurry. To put everything from characters to setting just out there.
In my opinion, it is okay to take your time and introduce in parts, it is not necessary to push everything all at once in the beginning and then not mention the side characters again in the middle of the book because when they are brought up later towards the climax, you rack your brain to remember who they are. Happened with me here. I forgot who’s who.

Let me get back to the point I was actually making. The pacing.
The real chase began at 60% + mark and stayed around 85% of the book. I felt it was too short because Alex Benedict going on a quest was the most attractive part of this book, it is what was supposed to pull the reader in.
Alas, it took me more than 3 days to get properly sucked in but it was over before I had the time to enjoy. This kind of pacing makes you lose interest and everything you read after that seems dull anyway which is why I might have developed so many complaints about this book.

But the little twist at the end actually managed to make me gasp. Points to you there, sir! If I elaborate more on this, I might spoil the secret so I better zip it.

The ending.
Ehhhh, except the aforementioned surprise everything about the ending was predictable but I wouldn’t blame the author too much for it because in books like these, the pleasure is in the hunt and not the prize or its results. So, I’m not going to dwell too much over it but one last thing I will mention is that the epilogue was too long. Long and uninteresting. I directly skipped to the last page and it didn’t make a difference.

2 stars for effort because I know how tough it is to come up with puzzles! And 0.5 for that little surprise element in midst of the climax.

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