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Wednesday, 7 June 2017

‘Pendulum’ by Adam Hamdy

Published by Headline,
3 November 2016.
ISBN: 978-1-4722-3615-9

Crime and thriller fiction comes in many guises – or perhaps I mean disguises – but there's no mistaking two of the main sub-categories: fast-paced plot-driven edge-of-the-seat what-next stories, and gentler character-based narratives which cover less ground but go a little deeper.

Adam Hamdy's third novel falls firmly in the first category, and from the very first page shows clear evidence of his other life as a screenwriter.

It opens with one of the most dramatic and attention-grabbing scenes I've ever encountered: the protagonist, photographer John Wallace, regains consciousness to find a noose around his neck. Yes, he is being murdered, by a mysterious masked stranger clad in body armour who plans to make it look like suicide. The attempt fails, and he escapes by throwing himself through a first-floor window, which he also survives, battered and bruised but undeterred.

Wallace was clearly a cat in a previous existence; having used up two of his nine lives in the first chapter, he proceeds to sidestep several more attempts on his life by the same stranger, with absolutely no idea why he is being targeted. He also convinces several people, including a sceptical detective, that his version of events is the true one.

As Wallace begins to follow a scanty trail of evidence in search of his assailant, the body count seems to rise exponentially. He enlists the help of an East End gangster, finds himself banged up in the USA's most notorious prison and makes some dangerous enemies. Along the way there are more hangings, more than one shooting and stabbing, even a bomb or two. It's high-octane stuff, and it isn't until a few chapters from the end that there is much indication of either the identity of the villain of the piece, or his reasons for wanting certain people dead, apparently by their own hand.

Most of the victims are innocent bystanders, or collateral damage as it's blandly dubbed – but despite that horrific body count, when those reasons were finally revealed I have to confess to a certain sympathy with the murderer's underlying motivation even though his methods were appalling and deplorable. Which just goes to show, even the most action-packed, high-octane, broad-brush-stroke thriller can say something worth listening to. Also, there's a killer cliffhanger twist at the end – Pendulum 2 could well be on its way!
Reviewer: Lynne Patrick

Adam Hamdy is an author, screenwriter and filmmaker. In addition to his own original work, Adam has adapted a number of comic books and novels for the screen, including the forthcoming film version of David Mitchell’s novel, Number9Dream. Pendulum is Adam’s third novel. Adam lives in Shropshire with his wife and three children.

Lynne Patrick has been a writer ever since she could pick up a pen, and has enjoyed success with short stories, reviews and feature journalism, but never, alas, with a novel. She crossed to the dark side to become a publisher for a few years, and is proud to have launched several careers which are now burgeoning. She lives on the edge of rural Derbyshire in a house groaning with books, about half of them crime fiction.

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