Killing Time: True Fiction by Marcus Dalrymple
|Killing Time: True Fiction by Marcus Dalrymple|
|Reviewer: Ani Johnson|
|Summary: James, a Brit on a post-uni travel spree, is kidnapped in Mexico. Thus starts a novel that shows us the dilemma from all sides: the victim's, the family waiting back home, the kidnappers' and Mexico's. An interesting, gripping and insightful adventure.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 344||Date: April 2013|
|Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform|
English university graduate James Cooper Brown is travelling around the US with his friend Toby. When Toby returns to England on family business, James decides to visit Mexico. Soon after arriving he's kidnapped by a local drug baron. Elsewhere in the country Monica Gonzales, a doctor, is looking forward to an evening of good company and pizza but it turns into an evening of other things as she too is taken. Behind each of the 402 kidnappings in Mexico during 2003 there is a story. This is the story of James, Monica and the people fighting for their return; sometimes literally.
An author with a name that sounds very top drawer English, writing with insight about Mexico? You bet – don't let the name fool you. Marcus Dalrymple was actually born in South America and partially educated in Mexico before being sent back to England to complete his education. Careers in teaching and journalism followed. Killing Time (a wonderfully multi-meaning title) may be his fiction debut but it's written with an obvious passion for the people adding another layer to the adventure that shines through and it's not all fiction.
Let's dispense with a very minor niggle first: there is a little plot signposting going on at the beginning. For instance when a kidnap victim's father is introduced as being ex-SAS we just know he doesn't plan to stay at home and knit. However I'm going to say something controversial - we should just suck any whinging up and move on. In some cases just because there's a sign post, it doesn't mean that the trip or destination suffers and, in this case, Marcus packs action and suspense to ensure that we have an enjoyable journey that erases the niggle.
Indeed, on the way we not only get to know the kidnappers and their ancillary staff. We also learn the reasoning behind their way of life. For the drug cartels that kidnap wealthy foreigners this isn't only a form of self-enrichment and display of power but also sometimes a way of supporting local communities. As charity goes, it's a pretty brutal form and Marcus never condones the kidnappers but instead unfolds back stories that help us to understand their roots and viewpoints as well as plump for James and Monica.
Marcus also knows how to use research. Not only do the procedures of the British police and foreign agencies add authenticity, he takes time to demonstrate journalistic flare. We're treated to documentary-style factual vignettes that enrich the action rather than impede it. We're taught – and willingly absorb – facts about previous initiatives from the local Mexican law enforcement organisations as well as from the US Delta Force troops. These vignettes from recent history keep us one step ahead of the action, providing us with the necessary background just as it's needed.
This is no tame school class though. This is bloody, gritty, violent stuff, littered with the results of slaughter and torture, leading to that tense final reel where everyone's life is up for grabs.
This is most definitely a novel written with passion by one who seeks to propagate knowledge as much as thrills. And, you know what? Marcus nails it.
(Thank you so much Marcus for providing us with a copy for review.)
Further Reading: If this piques your interest in the plight of Mexico, we also recommend The Dead Women of Juarez by Sam Hawken.
You can read more book reviews or buy Killing Time: True Fiction by Marcus Dalrymple at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Killing Time: True Fiction by Marcus Dalrymple at Amazon.com.
Like to comment on this review?
Just send us an email and we'll put the best up on the site.