Friday, January 11, 2013
Review of Broken Dreams by Nick Quantrill (Caffeine Nights, 2011)
The strength of Broken Dreams is the contextualisation and sense of social reality concerning Hull, its decline and faltering regeneration, and its people. Quantrill doesn’t romanticize the city, portraying its gritty urbanity, yet he clearly has soft spot for the place. Geraghty is a likeable enough character who is tenacious, slightly vulnerable, and doesn’t always take the most sensible course of action, and the other characters were well drawn and engaging. The writing is fairly workmanlike, but has good pace and is all show and no tell. For the most part the plot worked well and was quite compelling, with a good entwining of the main and subplot. However, there were a couple of editorial niggles that seemed to jar a little and the ending seemed to fall apart somewhat. On my reading, there seemed to be only two incidental clues pointing to the killer - neither enough on their own or together to prompt the conclusion that the person was guilty of murder. Moreover, there was no material evidence and no basis for a confession; Geraghty seemed to just intuitively know who it was. This was a pity as the plot had been unfolding nicely until then with several potential suspects in the frame. Nonetheless, Broken Dreams is an interesting PI tale and a promising start to the Geraghty series.