A few weeks ago I was approached by Karl Holton to ask if I would be interested in reviewing the first book of his crime trilogy, ‘The Weight of Shadows.’ It turned out that Holton is local to my area so this review is not just for an author, but also for a (kind of) neighbour! I got a free copy of the book, as my fellow bookbloggers say, in return for an unbiased review. So here it is…
The Weight of Shadows follows DCI Benedict’s involvement in a Hatton Garden diamond theft (I loved this fusion of fact and fiction,) and two subsequent murders which are linked to this. The stories of the criminal underworld and their nefarious dealings unfolded in parallel to Benedict’s story. There were a whole host of powerful, impressive characters in this book and Benedict was no exception. Curt and occasionally hostile, he gave everyone short shrift, ever desperate to be the alpha male in the room. You’ve got to love a flawed protagonist!
This book is fast paced, gripping and clever, clever, clever. Holton knows how to create a hook to draw you in. There are multiple strands to this story and each of the characters have a plot that keeps you guessing. The Weight of Shadows moves between each of these stories from chapter to chapter. It kept me on a constant merry-go-round of shady dealings which was on occasion difficult to keep up with.
There are unanswered questions in this book. Remember it is part of a trilogy, so come prepared to read books two and three. In fact the book ended with a question, the answer to which was apparently within a code in the book. Ooh, I’ve got you interested now haven’t I?! Perhaps I shouldn’t take the credit for it however, since it was actually Holton who put this code together! I didn’t work it out though, so anyone who does is welcome to leave a comment below telling me about it.
I do have a minor gripe. You see, I have a thing about dialogue. I need it to sound the way that I speak and this need makes me irritatingly picky. So I did bristle at some of Holton’s characters refusal to abbreviate. ‘You cannot be serious,’ should be left to the likes of John McEnroe. The rest of us say “can’t”. Holton also spelled out a few things for the reader which could have perhaps come across better through dialogue or the actions of the characters. But this is me reaching into my picky bag and picking out a whole lot of picky for you to pick at. It’s picky.
Ultimately if you like crime (the fictional kind, not the real kind that will ultimately land you in jail – in which case you are on totally the wrong blog) and you enjoy the unfurling of a story line with characters who have multiple motivations, then this book is for you. I could see from this one book that there is so much more to find out. Holton has a well thought out cast list and I’m certain that the books that follow will be just as good as the first.
Next week I’m going all self-help on you. I’ll be reading ‘The One Thing’ by Gary W Keller and Jay Papasan. Come back on Monday to find out more.