Die For You by Lisa Unger
|Die For You by Lisa Unger|
|Reviewer: Robert James|
|Summary: Well-written but lacking in characterisation as a crime novelist gets caught up in a story which was stranger than anything she could have written.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 368||Date: November 2009|
Best-selling novelist Isabel Connelly is married to successful video game designer Marcus Raine. Or so she thinks. But when her husband fails to return from work, she realises something is wrong. Going to his office to try to find out what happens to him, she gets attacked and ends up in hospital, while his co-workers are killed. Things get worse for her, however, when investigating detective Grady Crowe reveals that Marcus Raine has been dead for several years, and the man she married was using a false identity. Infuriated by the betrayal, and the realisation that she's been living a lie for the past five years, Izzy takes matters into her own hands and sets out to find her husband and work out why he lied to her for so long. Ignoring police warnings, she delves deeper and deeper into a nasty underworld, and finds a tale which has its roots in Prague and rivals anything she could have plotted in one of her novels.
Meanwhile, Izzy's sister Linda appears to have the perfect family life, but her own husband's involvement with his brother-in-law has far-reaching consequences for the pair and their two kids, as does Linda's own secret. Detective Crowe's love life is a mess, as well, with his wife having left him. Occasional flashbacks introduce Izzy and Linda's father, whose suicide years before has left its own shadow over their marriages.
As you can tell from the above summary, there's a lot going on here. I can't help feeling it could have been a better book if there was significantly less happening. There are virtually 4 plots, between the main mystery, the subplot with Linda and her husband, Detective Crowe's love problems and the flashbacks to the suicide. None of the three subplots are developed too well, which is a real shame, as Detective Crowe is an excellent character and I'd love to have read more about him. There's also a noticeable loss of momentum when the book cuts from the main action points to the other parts.
This book has got a lot going for it - it's very well-written by thriller standards, and the main plot has clearly been thought out carefully and is well-explained at the end, with an especially good epilogue being a neat way of revealing all the loose ends.
Unfortunately the majority of the characters don't seem very well developed - Crowe and his sidekick Jez being the two notable exceptions - with narrator Izzy being difficult to care for. There's a definite skew in that the characters with the most time on the page - Izzy, Linda, and the man who calls himself Marcus - were all fairly lacking when it came to holding my attention, whereas some of the characters who only appeared briefly or occasionally, like Linda's husband Erik and two kids, and Izzy's doorman Shane, seem much more interesting. A police procedural focusing more on Crowe and Jez, without the first-person narration, would probably have been more to my liking.
All in all, this is a decent enough thriller which should satisfy genre fans, but it's hard to recommend it above the myriad of similar novels available at the moment.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
For another thriller about disappearances, you might like to try No Time For Goodbye by Linwood Barclay.
You can read more book reviews or buy Die For You by Lisa Unger at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Die For You by Lisa Unger at Amazon.com.
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