Londonderry, NH, United States | Member Since 2007
After this paragraph, spoilers abound, but right now you’re safe. If you’ve never read a Goddard novel, do it. His stories are long, complex and wholly satisfying if not entirely original. I read a lot of thrillers and mysteries, so quite often I can predict how a plot point is going to turn. The thing of it is, Goddard binds his readers to the story with this knowledge not by astounding you every five minutes with some fantastical twist. He doesn’t need smoke and mirrors to keep a reader going. He does it by knowing how to set tension, creating interesting characters that still have surprises up their sleeves and by helping you get ahead of the story and urging the protagonist to catch up. I’ve read his first novel (this one) and his latest (Long Time Coming) and both are equally good; quality, long-arc thrillers spiced with historical detail and real-life characters. I will definitely read more.
Spoilers set to kill.
While only my second Goddard novel, I’m not surprised at how he weaves his tales. This one is long and complex with lots of players, but I loved every minute of it. Edwin’s memoir is so tantalizing as a device and for itself and so was the search for the post-script. As soon as its existence was revealed I knew where it had to be hidden and silently urged Martin to think and could hardly bear his fumbling when I knew where it was all along! It takes a deft hand to tie a reader to the story so completely. The current trend seems to want to only do this with unknowable and unforeseeable twists in the story, but Goddard does it with knowledge, binding you to his protagonists through mutual desire for success.
From Martin’s dissipated self-interest to Eve’s two-faced game playing and Edwin’s ineffectual victimhood the story never felt slack or stale even though I could guess a lot of it. What else but a secret marriage would be Edwin’s undoing? What else could have been Martin’s undoing? Of course Eve was not as she seemed. Alex was on shaky ground to begin with. And of course Elizabeth would always be the long-suffering innocent. The only thing that threw me was Leo’s ultimate purpose. It seemed really strange to me that he’d take out his vitriol and long-distilled hatred on an innocent old woman who had nothing to do with his circumstances. Strange, but the way he morphed from kindly patron to vicious criminal mastermind was very well done. Sure he was a bit of a cliché and the whole gun incident set up the penultimate ending, with Martin’s reward at the end being the capper. Satisfying if not wholly original. I’ll definitely read more of Goddard in future.
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