Today’s book review of a crime novel is brought to you by yours truly, Morgen Bailey. If you’d like your book reviewed or to send me a book review of another author’s book, see book-reviews for the guidelines. Other options listed on opportunities-on-this-blog.
Synopsis: With old friends like these, who needs enemies? It’s a question mild mannered detective Edward Newson is forced to ask himself when, in romantic desperation, he logs on to the Friends Reunited website in search of the girlfriends of his youth. Newson is not the only member of the Class of take back ’88 who has been raking over the ashes of the past. As his old class begins to reassemble in cyberspace, the years slip away and old feuds and passions burn hot once more.
Meanwhile, back in the present, Newson’s life is no less complicated. He is secretly in love with Natasha, his lovely but very attached sergeant, and failing comprehensively to solve a series of baffling and peculiarly gruesome murders. A school reunion is planned and as history begins to repeat itself, the past crashes headlong into the present. Neither will ever be the same again.
In Past Mortem, Ben Elton – previous winner of The Crime Writers’ Association Gold Dagger Award for Popcorn – delivers both a heart-stopping thriller and a killer comic romance.
This novel is available via http://www.amazon.co.uk/Past-Mortem-Ben-Elton/dp/0552771236 and http://www.amazon.com/Past-Mortem-Ben-Elton/dp/0552771236.
Review (of the audiobook)
A series of particularly gruesome murders are described in the gruesome detail and at one point Newsome’s colleague, Natasha, and I both said “nice” at the same time.🙂
Apart from the way they died, there appears to be no connection between the victims so it was interesting to see the pieces fit together. It becomes clear that no one liked the victims and as Newsome brilliantly put, the perpetrator was a “serial killer with taste”, very Dexter.
A sub-plot is Newsome’s Friends Reunited membership and we follow the resultant events as he catches up with old school friends who you know aren’t going to go smoothly.
Seeming older than his mid-thirties, Newsome is an unlikely likeable character obsessed by the women in his life, sneaking peeks at their breasts, legs and any other pieces of flesh he can spot undetected. I feel sorry for him as one of his relationships goes sour. Another seems to blossom but we know his affections lie elsewhere.
I worked out who the killer was about halfway, during the 1980s concert, and it was clear to me before then why but again, it was interesting to see how it would be revealed.
The writing is very good other than a proliferation of began to / started to. I’ve said in almost every review that we only need started to / began to before our verbs if a character is then interrupted otherwise just have them doing whatever they’re doing (e.g. singing, talking etc).
Rating: 4 out of 5. Loses a point for me guessing who the killer was and why.
Based in Northamptonshire, England, Morgen Bailey (“Morgen with an E”) is a prolific blogger, podcaster, editor / critiquer, 2015 Head Judge for the annual H.E. Bates Short Story Competition, Head Judge for the NLG Flash Fiction Competition and creative writing tutor for her local county council. She is also a freelance author of numerous ‘dark and light’ short stories, novels, articles, and very occasional dabbler of poetry. Like her, her blog, https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com, is consumed by all things literary. She is also active on Twitter, Facebook along with many others (listed on her blog’s Contact page) and has created five online writing groups and an interview-only blog.
Her debut novel is the chick lit eBook The Serial Dater’s Shopping List ($0.99 / £0.77) and she has nine others (mostly crime) in the works. She also has eight collections of short stories available (also $0.99 / £0.77 each) – detailed on https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/books-mine/short-stories.
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If you would like to send me a book review of another author’s books or like your book reviewed (short stories, contemporary crime / women’s novels or writing guides), see book-reviews for the guidelines. Other options listed on opportunities-on-this-blog. And I post writing exercises every weekday on four online writing groups.