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Lindsey's Literary Leanings

Book Reviews - Contemporary Fiction / Biographies / Autobiographies

  • Lindsey Skelton-Smith

A Fatal Crossing (Author: Tom Hindle)

A Fatal Crossing (Book Cover)

Genre: Murder Mystery/Period Fiction

A Fatal Crossing By Tom Hindle

It's 1924 & The Endeavour has set sail from Southampton to New York. On the morning of the second day of the voyage the body of an elderly gentleman is discovered. The Captain informs the crew that it was nothing more than a tragic accident & he is keen to dispel rumours of foul play amongst the passengers & extinguish any hysteria. However, a detective on board the ship, on hearing about the incident, calls on the captain with the intention of investigating the deceased. After being told by the Captain that he may only proceed with enquiries on the proviso that he accompanied by officer Tim Birch he swiftly exists the office, clearly perturbed by the condition that has been put forth.

Sometime later that day the detective approaches Birch, reluctantly agrees to the Captain's terms. Together, they uncover secrets & lies as well as blackmail & Birch discovers that he is willing to do literally anything to discover the whereabouts of a missing family member. His motives for taking part in the investigation are not as they appear. Meanwhile, Temple is unaware that he is endangering his own life by taking on the case & instead of re-booting his career, could this be the end?

Now, I'm not generally one for reading this genre. The only other book that I have read that was similar was The Paris Apartment.

The story is filled with many different characters. Helpfully, at the front of the book, the author provides us with a list of notable characters & the class in which they resign on the ship The narrative is gripping & keeps the reader guessing right up until the last two chapters where all becomes clear. I've previously spoken of 'smack you in the face' moments in the novels I've read & reviewed. The end of this novel provides you with them until you're metaphorically black & blue. The author also, very cleverly at several points within the story, turns the attention to different characters, making the reader think that they are the perpetrators as Birch & Temple are taken down several different avenues of conclusion, you feel like you are conducting the investigation with them. Everytime they are lead down the wrong path, Birch's disappointment is tangible. You sympathise with his need to be the one to solve the case & the dismay at Temple's indifference & sheer resentment at not not wanting his assistance, or interference as he sees it.

This tale is so cleverly put together & transferred to the page with unexpected happenings & facets to those involved.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel & found it really hard to put down, as every chapter seemed to end with something that would draw you in further. The author has recently brought out a second novel, this being his debut, which my other half will be buying & I will definitely be reading!

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