It is inappropriate to include this as an Inspector Lynley novel; since the regular characters really don't appear; and in my opinion, the greatest strength of this series is the finely crafted characters. That said, I was halfway through before I figured out it was at best, tangentially related. I found it overall very dark, with few redeeming characters. I felt rather swindled, actually, believing it somehow furthered the stories of Lynley, Havers, Nkata, St. James, etc... I have been trying to read the books in order, and considering that Ms. George does tend to go on and on and on, my will to finish out the series is waning. This book was a real buzz kill.
I wanted to give this book no stars. After suffering through 10 chapters of sex, violence, child abuse and filthy language, I started jumping from chapter to chapter & found more of the same in all 28. No Lynley at all and only a brief glimpse of Havers & Nkata. What a disappointing book from an author I have usually enjoyed. Forget it!
I was not happy to have been thinking I was getting a mystery in the Lynley series and instead inside the cover is a character evolution leading to a murder in the previous book. It was way too long as well - usually I don't mind if its a good book, but this really dragged on. If you like to read about how poverty and broken homes can lead to very troubled kids you might like this, but if you really just want a good mystery, this will not bring happiness.
In this surprising book, the author presents a close-up and painstakingly detailed look at a disturbingly dysfunctional family. The storyline unrelentingly drives the reader to its conclusion while being helpless to interfere in even a small way, like standing on the sidewalk watching an accident.
All of the characters were fully developed with distinct personalities. By the end, I was so fed up with some of them, I was glad to see them sorted and tucked away. The build-up was so great that the significant event, when it occurred, was rather anticlimactic.
Don't think I didn't enjoy this book. I loved every page. I just seemed to become more involved than I intended.
Ok, so, Elizabeth, you went into great detail how this dysfunctional family/culture would produce a murderer of one of the key members of the Lynley series, but you totally failed to tie it all together! I mean, here I am expecting that this tragic story is somehow going to explain WHY the murderer was in that place at that time - you failed us! Sure, you told us in excruciating detail how the murderer got to the neighborhood (all the underground stops and street corners, etc, etc, etc,) to supposedly select, at random, the victim, but you never told HOW they picked THAT path. This can't be a random walk. The leader of the pair had to have had the destination given to him, but to leave out WHY he was told this left your readers feeling betrayed. Sorry. Didn't like this one.
Wow. Absolutely heart-wrenching! I am a huge fan of Ms. George and love every, single novel she has written. Some how, I've put off reading this one, but I'm so thrilled I did. Like all of her novels, this one will stay with the reader for a very long time. I've no idea how she does it, but her novels always take a little space in my heart and a large place in my mind. I absolutely love her writing! Any author who can leave such an indelible mark will always keep me coming back for more!
This book was not at all what I expected, assuming it was another case mystery. Instead it reads as almost a sociological case history. Once you accept that premise, you have to admire the authors ability to construct the back story for this family. Her depiction of the live style in this part of London along with its gang culture seems incredibly spot on. How circumstances of birth and environment meet up to affect young lives and the choices they make is truly heart wrenching. In trying to do the right thing for his family, Joel brings about his own downfall. I’ll be happy to get back to something more upbeat and plot driven..
I love everything Elizabeth George writes but I had to speed read mt way through this one due to its depressing nature. Before I retired I worked with at-risk youth, so I didn't need a lot of reminders about the pitiful circumstances some kids are forced to grow up in. I am now moving on to the remaining Thomas Lynley books and will hate to come to the end. HUGE fan. Love every one in the series.