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Sunday, January 25, 2015

Going, Going, Gone

Gone by Neil Root was very disappointing I am afraid to say, I award it a measly 2 out of 10. Neil Root has attempted mission impossible in even writing about the Claudia Lawrence case, because you could summarise the whole mystery in a sentence the length of a tweet: one day Claudia Lawrence set off to walk to work, she never arrived and was probably kidnapped and possibly killed. Nobody (except presumably the person responsible) knows anything and therefore writing a 270 page book on the subject is a big ask. Neil Root of course is not a friend or relative of Claudia, if he was then a first person account might have improved things a bit, but the terse replies he has received from Claudia's dad to a few basic questions are not enough to form a basis of any book. It's a rambling, repetitive work which I spent the first 100 pages of waiting for something to happen. What it became apparent that it wasn't going to, I dutifully read the rest as a kind of punishment.

It's frustrating to pick a bad True Crime book because I'd imagined that this was an area that I was fairly well read in, maybe in my top dozen non-fiction categories, as I must have chalked up over 100 True Crime books in the 33 years since I bought my first book about Denis Nilsen in WH Smiths. Since then I've read books about murderers. rapists, kidnappers, gangsters, drug users and dealers, prostitutes, fraudsters, bank robbers and burglars, but I have rarely read a book as bad and as pointless as this one. The book by Madeleine Mccann's mum about her daughter's disappearance is much better than Gone because it is told from the heart, and of course a but more happened after she disappeared.

I hope that both these well know cases reach a conclusion one way or another one day, for their families's sake's, and I'll definitely read Neil Root's sequel if the Claudia Lawrence story is one day uncovered. As it is I'll have to read over 130 other library books before I can return to the only True Crime bookcase in Dorking Library to pick something else. Who knows, the crime might have been solved and the sequel written and sat there waiting for me by the time I head to this area of the library again!

Anyway, onto Book 5, and a return to Crime and Thrillers. After bookcases 1-3 of Crime, I am now working my way through, I think, five bookcases of books ordered by A-Z of the author's name. I am not sure whether the first 3 cases that I have been through already are crime and these five are thrillers, although if so I don't envy the person who has to decide which side of the divide each book falls. I am sure there is some reasoning behind it though, it doesn't really matter, all I have to do is pick a book from every book case.

I'm heading backwards through the alphabet, so am starting on S-Z. The book I selected is Forward Slash, which is unusually by two authors (Louise Voss and Mark Edwards), neither of whom I have come across before.

In fact the only author I was excluded from on this bookcase was Barbara Vine (aka Ruth Rendell). I picked this one because it stood out being placed, Waterstones-style, on the bookcase with the cover facing outwards. That probably means it's just been returned, rather than some implicit recommendation by the library, but in either case it's obviously a book which has recently seen some usage. It caught my eye as well because it has a reference to Facebook and Twitter on the front cover, so it's positioned as a thriller set in the modern world of the Internet, which as a software developer and heavy user of the web, I hope I will relate to.

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