fredag den 15. oktober 2010

Erin Kelly, The Poison Tree (2010)

This novel is a British debut. In many ways it resembles Barbara Vine´s “The Fatal Inversion” and also to some extent her later novel “Grasshopper”.

Young Karen Clarke is an ordinary student who leads what she regards as a boring, insignificant life, until she meets the drama student Biba and her brother Rex in 1997. Their world is so different and infatuating that within a few days, Karen is whirled into a fascinating world of drinking, partying, irresponsibility - the kind of sweltering summer she feels a young person has to experience at least once.

On the whole, the characters are interesting and well-drawn though Karen may seem a bit too naive about the ways of the new world she is absorbed by. There is a strong sense of premonition throughout the story. The reader knows from the beginning that everything is going to change by the end of the fatal summer, people are going to die, but not exactly who or how or why.

We also know that one of the consequnces of the dramatic summer was Alice, Karen´s young daughter, and that Karen is prepared to go to great lengths to protect her family. Some old secrets are festering like wounds, however, meaning that even though Karen escaped, the past will not let her alone.

Erin Kelly may not be quite in Barbara Vine´s league, yet she knows how to put an exciting story together, and I hope to read more crime fiction from her hand.

The book was an ARC kindly sent to me by Maxine who also noticed this similarity with “A Fatal Inversion”

Maxine´s Euro Crime review.

10 kommentarer:

Maxine sagde ...

I'm glad you liked it, Dorte - nice review, as ever. It is so very like Barbara Vine, isn't it? (I haven't read The Grasshopper so missed that comparison.) Nothing wrong with that, of course. If you have read Tara French's second novel, The Likeness, you might also find some Vine-like elements.

Margot Kinberg sagde ...

Dorte - Thanks for this fine review! I know what you mean about somewhat naive characters, but I am glad the plot moved along for you, and I'm looking forward to reading this one.

Beth F sagde ...

Oh yes, those overly naive characters . . . I can have mixed feelings about them. This is a new to me book.

Mason Canyon sagde ...

Enjoyed your review. Sounds like an interesting book and there's something about that cover that just draws you in.

Thoughts in Progress

Dorte H sagde ...

Maxine: it is a very fine debut, and as the story is not plagiarism in any way, I think Erin Kelly should just be proud of the comparison.

Margot: the naive character was not a huge flaw, just a minor drawback in a very good mystery.

Beth: I think you´d like it.

Mason: yes, the cover is also attractive - those windows!

Belle sagde ...

Great review. I must confess, I've only read Rendell's Wexford mysteries, haven't read any she's written under Vine.

Clarissa Draper sagde ...

Cool book. I am in love with the cover.

Also, you will be happy to know, I have finished your critique and will post it tomorrow.


Dorte H sagde ...

Belle: Ruth Rendell´s Wexford series is a brilliant police procedural series. Her Barbara Vine novels are stand-alones for lovers of psychological thrillers. They are a bit uneven, but several of them are 4-5 star reads in my opinion.

Clarissa: if only I´ll be able to sleep now!

Kelly sagde ...

Now this one sounds very exciting!! I'll have to put it on my wish list.

I agree that it's a great cover, too!

Dorte H sagde ...

Kelly: it is a great book, and even the ARC looked great - it has one of those windows on the cover. I just love windows.