These ‘about me’ sections, or even sections that inform you about blogs, have never been my forte. Much to my chagrin, I was never taught the unwritten rules of what you are supposed to say. The links at the side of the blog – Twitter and Goodreads, for example – are liable to tell you more than I could ever say in words.

Mostly, this will be a book blog. I read a lot, and I love to share my views on my most recent reads. I try to read a little bit of everything, but if you look closely you’ll notice I will occasionally become obsessed with one specific genre for a short period of time. Old books, new books, yet to be released books – I read them all. If you’re an author looking for advance readers or just wish for more reviews of a book you’ve already released, please feel free to contact me. There is a contact form at the side of my blog – if you scroll down below the Twitter and Goodreads sidebar you will find it – so drop me a message and I’ll be sure to get back to you in double time. After all, finding new authors is what makes the book world go around.

Thanks for taking your time to read this. With a little bit of luck, you will find my blog much more interesting than this mundane introductory section.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Review: Kiss Of Death

Kiss Of Death Kiss Of Death by Robert Skuce
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Kiss Of Death promised all the things you want in a good crime thriller. We have immoral characters. We have gruesome murders. We have questionable actions. We have uncertainties. We have foreshadowing. I could continue on, but what it amounts to is that we have a large majority of the necessities for this genre.

However, despite the promise, I feel as though the story feel short.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad story. It simply wasn’t all it could have been. It’s a great debut, leaving me hopeful of Robert Skuce’s future books, but it’s not in the league of my favourite crime authors. Nevertheless, this one has certainly left me interested in seeing what Robert Skuce writes next – if only so I can see where he goes from here.

I’ll start with what I liked, before going on to explain what didn’t quite hit the mark for me.

The main thing I loved was the way in which the story was told from three different perspectives. I find that things can go either really well when this is done or really badly. Whilst it wasn’t quite perfect – the internal voices of the characters sounded too much alike for me to be truly happy – it did make for a great read. Information is slowly given, leaving you unsure of what exactly is happening. When reading from one character’s perspective you believe on thing, yet when you read from another character’s perspective you question what you’ve come to believe. All in all, the way in which the information was given really leaves you second-guessing as to what is going on.

Another thing I really enjoyed was the characters. We have a really interesting cast, made up of the good and the bad. There’s also a lot of the in-between, pulling us completely into the grey area. Again, grey areas can be hit and miss – some authors manage it, whereas others don’t quite make it. Robert Skuce certain creates an interesting cast that like to toe the line between what is good and bad, between what is right and wrong. So many points here for creating complex characters, characters that I wanted to know more about. In fact, that adds to me wanting to see what else comes from this author: I’m curious as to see where certain characters go from here.

Additionally, the story was a lot of fun. As I’ve already stated, you’re constantly altering your thoughts on the whodunit aspect. I can honestly say that I didn’t work out who was to blame with this one. I had ideas, but I failed to hit the nail on the head. It is extremely rare for this to happen – so well done Robert Skuce for being the first in a while to earn such an achievement. An extra well done for managing it in such a short read – often I find mystery novels of this length to be overly obvious, with too much thrown in without enough build-up of suspense. So yeah, I can safely say I enjoyed trying to work out who was the bad guy in all of this.

Now for the things that didn’t quite hit the mark for me.

This will be a very unpopular view, but I wasn’t overly happy with the ending. Yes, I enjoyed the twist; however, I don’t think it was as well played out as it could have been. I cannot really explain my reasoning for this too much without giving spoilers, but what it amounts to is my knowledge of certain aspects of human life jarring with how things played out. It didn’t seem plausible, not the specific way in which it played out. If certain things hadn’t been merged, if certain characters had remained ignorant of details, I would have been much happier. As it was, I couldn’t quite enjoy that big twist as much as I had hoped I would due to the way in which some of the scenes played out. This is just me, though, and I’m sure as a whole people will enjoy the twist and overlook the details that left me feeling less than content.

Another thing that didn’t sit quite right with me was certain details. Certain things just didn’t seem to be fleshed out as well as they could have been. My biggest issue is with the label of ‘serial killer’. Serial killer implies at least three murders, yet from what I could gather they only knew of two victims with the same modus operandi. I could have misunderstood the information, but from the way I read the story they could only confirm two killings to this person – therefore, he wasn’t a serial killer. It was suspected that he’d perfected his art in other ways, but I wouldn’t have given the label of serial killer unless there were three deaths with the same signature. It could just be me being pedantic, or I misunderstood, but these little things always grab my attention.

The final thing I wasn’t quite content with was the writing. The author certainly has a unique writing style, something I truly appreciate. However, there were a couple of things that I had issues with. My biggest is that it could have done with a final proof read and edit. I’m hoping this reflects the fact that I was given an advance read copy, and it will be amended in the final version. It was mainly little things, things that are easy to overlook and can be easily fixed, yet jar when you’re actually reading the story. The other aspect is with the speech of characters: they never used contractions. It was always ‘I am’ instead of ‘I’m’, for example, and in my experience very few people actually speak like that. Again, this could be a reflection of my preferences, but it did prevent me from being full engaged in the conversations between characters.

Overall, though, it was an interesting read. It was quick and enjoyable, a great debut. There’s much promise for what Robert Skuce’s future work will bring, and I look forward to giving it a read.

As a final note, I would like to thank the author for allowing me to advance read this in exchange for a review.

View all my reviews

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