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by Point Blank, 1 February 2018. ISBN: 978-1-78607-110-1(TPB)
18th March, 1967, and
four members of the same rock band die in ‘accidents’ hundreds of miles apart.
The families hire an investigator, then persuade a journalist to look into the
case... but how does a locked-in syndrome patient in Brussels, 2010, hold the
key to their deaths?
cleverly-constructed novel moves between past and present throughout. The past
sections describe the deaths first, and the investigations, but the intervening
present sections focus on Dominique, a physiotherapist at the hospital where
the locked-in patient is slowly recovering, and his growing relationship with
the patient. Between these are sections in italics, the voice of the person who
claims responsibility for the four deaths, and we quickly learn that he,
Jacques Berger, is the locked-in person. Berger was a talented self-taught
drummer obsessed by rock and roll. Through him, the author takes us on a
vividly-evoked journey through the music of the Sixties – the London section
was particularly good, with accounts of the pill-popping lifestyles of many
musicians, and concerts by The Who, Hendrix and Clapton. We come to understand
Jacques, and sympathise with him – and gradually find out that the author is
playing with the ‘murderer’s diary’ convention. The deaths are far more
sinister than they seemed ... As Dominique learns more about his patient, he
too joins in the investigation, leading to a final surprise ending. The short
chapters keep the pages turning, and there’s never any confusion about where you
are in time. I did find the italics sections ungrateful to read, which was a
pity, as they carried the main narrative – maybe a different font would have
been better. The storyline was so convincing that I looked one key incident up,
and found it was real ... maybe the novel’s a journalist’s way of getting the
truth out there?
vivid and clever story that takes us back to the musical scene swinging Sixties,
but has a deeper plot at its heart. Highly recommended.
Reviewer: Marsali Taylor
Paul Colize was born
in Brussels in 1953. He is the author of ten novels including Back Up, which was shortlisted for the
Victor Rossel Prix and the Prix Saint-Maur en Poche. He lives in Waterloo,
Marsali Taylor grew up near Edinburgh, and came to Shetland as a
newly-qualified teacher. She is currently a part-time teacher on Shetland's
scenic west side, living with her husband and two Shetland ponies. Marsali is a
qualified STGA tourist-guide who is fascinated by history, and has published
plays in Shetland's distinctive dialect, as well as a history of women's
suffrage in Shetland. She's also a keen sailor who enjoys exploring in her own
8m yacht, and an active member of her local drama group.Marsali also does a regular monthly column
for the Mystery People e-zine.