Thursday, 3 April 2014

Bloody Ham - Brian Kavanagh

I got this book through the firstreads giveaway. 
At a glance, the menacing jacket cover and the blurb had me intrigued. A self confessed crime thriller buff, it was enough for me to get started right away. 

Bloody Ham features two women Belinda and Hazel who play detectives in Kavanagh's stories and solve murders. This is their third mystery and since this is my first book about them, it took me a while to get the hang of it although there is background to fill in the reader about their past and present.

The Gist:

Bloody Ham gets its name from a English country manor called the Ham House with a sinister past currently in use as a setting by a film crew. The place is the setting for the murders to happen and the amateur duo who are involved in the film making take it upon themselves to investigate when a starlet is murdered on the set.

What works:
  • It is a very tightly knit fast paced story 
  • An interesting overview of how the film making industry works
  • Well written with some great descriptions such as the prologue 
What doesn't:
  • Although the story is well edited and fast moving there are times when the reader finds it difficult to keep a track of who is doing what
  • Too much focus on action
  • Rushed ending
Loved the way film making process has been explained and Brian's background obviously holds him in good stead. His writing style is admirable evident in the witty exchanges and beautiful descriptions.

However, the books sometimes dwells a bit too much on style and pace. This means that the narrative tends to take the reader for granted and does not make sure that the reader is on board with the events. 

The format although effective feels more like a film rather than a book. But in a film we can see what is happening and do not need to be told but in a book, every movement needs to be described for its audience. 

Perhaps I am old school, but I like to ease into the story after having synced with the characters and their minds. Maybe I should have come to Bloody Ham after reading the previous books. Also, the ending could have panned out a bit instead of rushing the reader through and then focussing more after the revelation.

What I am struggling with is about striking a harmony between the characters and the pacing of the plot which perhaps could have taken it to a whole new level other than an enjoyable read.

I guess my high expectations let me down. But then the plot holds such promise and with such an admirable writing style I couldn't help building on it.

Final word:
Well written and its slim volume means it can be easily finished in a sitting. Good story for those who like a quick who dunnit.

1 comment:

  1. Asha, many thanks for your insightful review of Bloody Ham. Always good to get a detailed response from a reader. Cheers, Brian Kavanagh