Thrillers Of The Month – March 2014
The Thrillers Of The Month are:
- The Sniper by Mark Chisnell
- Taking Morgan by David Rose, published by Quartet Books
- Empty Places by Martin Roy Hill
We are always open to new submissions from authors/publishers – click here
|The Sniper by Mark Chisnell|
|Jungle Fever, review by Sophie Scott …
THE SNIPER, ORIGINS #1 by Mark Chisnell, the first in a series of short story prequels to the JANAC’S GAMES thrillers.
In the tropical jungles of Vietnam, US Marine Corps sniper Paul Robert Janac finds himself ambushed in a deadly game of cat and mouse.The literal atmosphere drips heavily across Chisnell’s short narrative about a US sniper miscalculating his surroundings: sweat, rain, humidity, blood all run through it. In minute detail, Chisnell conjures the setting, records the action, and delivers technical detail of absolute specificity. There is a beautiful awareness of the senses: the lessening of one; the heightening of another. There are bursts of energy to the action, and almost to the writing.
It could be the protagonist’s own detachment that keeps the narrative so distant from any hope of prickling the hairs at the back of the reader’s neck. In chapter four, Janac claims he has no care for his own life; he does not fear his enemy – be they Charlie or snakes, they anger him for obstructing his target, for revealing the lack in his concentration: but they don’t frighten him.
Chisnell writes with clarity and confidence, there is nothing ‘wrong’ here (bar a few clunky turns of phrase – ‘the pain-ness of the pain’ seems far too inarticulate for a man of Janac’s precision). In fact, there are moments of wit, excellent description, high drama – just little to thrill, to unsettle emotionally. The pace never truly alters. Chisnell is writing set-up within the structure of a short story; he is heading towards his already-written novels. Like Janac, his goal is too clear and leads to mistakes. There is no room for the reader’s imagination. The dénouement is lacklustre – the revelation of Charlie’s gender neither surprising nor interesting. Janac’s treatment of this twenty-something girl, his sudden lack of professionalism and humanity, is where this short story should begin and, perhaps, remain. Chisnell doesn’t hit on the immediacy of the genre or find the piquancy of tone and narrative that could make this scenario gripping.
When strung together with the subsequent parts of the ORIGINS series this may make for an excellent beginning. As a stand-alone work, however, it isn’t rich, textured or compelling enough.
Rating: A well-written, readable, meticulously researched narrative and promising start to Chisnell’s series. Enjoyable enough to provoke interest in the next installment.
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|Taking Morgan by David Rose|
|Review by RR Gordon, author of the bestselling Gull Rock…
Morgan Cooper is a CIA agent, assigned to Gaza to report on the warring Fatah and Hamas factions, who is then kidnapped by an extremist organisation and subjected to deprivation and torture. Moving from Oxford to the tunnels from Egypt into the Gaza Strip the story powers along on two themes – Morgan’s ordeal is one narrative and the other features her husbands attempts to find her.The plot is well-worked, the characters interesting and the narrative compelling. In particular, the description of the Gaza strip and its supply tunnels is vivid and unforgettable. Written by an acclaimed investigative journalist, who has worked in the Middle East, this is an excellent book.
A gripping story from the very beginning, David Rose’s descriptive tale keeps us on the edge of our seats throughout. Detailed without ever losing pace, this is a thought-provoking work – a thinking man’s thriller.
Rating: A thinking man’s thriller
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|Empty Places by Martin Roy Hill|
|Review by Leslie Gardner…
Hill’s writing is vastly impressive with its full on setting of contexts – place and time – so alongside a gripping storyline of police corruption, we get a sense of the possibilities of overcoming what seem like overwhelming odds. there is also a terrific story of personal redemption for Peter, a journalist who has returned ‘home’, the scene after all of a failed relationship that he has a chance to redeem even though his ex has apparently been murdered. descriptions of Palm Springs and transformation into a place that is a facade of nature, and alienation is really convincing.
Violence is persuasively rendered, and feeds the narrative brilliantly: his best friend, a retired cop, steps up to the plate to uncover a hidden crime and pays the highest price. great value here in all that Hill delivers; it’s a man’s world, and women are perceived from a definitively masculine perspective which irks this female reader but the transformation of the central character into understanding better his lost wife goes toward satisfying me! I really recommend this writer for absorbing extra crime read.
Rating: An absorbing read
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