Sunday, November 25, 2007

I Should Have Believed the Title. . .

Elizabeth George's What Came Before He Shot Her is the first of her many novels I have read. While I did enjoy it, I let myself be misled by the blurb on the back of the paperback edition of the book: It starts, "A kind and well-loved woman was brutally and inexplicably murdered. . .and her death has left Scotland Yard shocked and searching for answers." I thought I was sitting down to read an interesting murder mystery and would see how Scotland Yard went about finding the killer. But the shooting did not occur until page 654 of the 700+ page novel and, for the reader, there was no mystery.

Actually, I realized the deceptive nature of the blurb before I reached page 250; perhaps a bit later than I should have. But by then I realized that the novel was the backstory, i.e. all that happened leading up to the shooting. The novel does offer interesting and perceptive psychological insights into growing up on the "wrong side of the tracks," in London. It contains incredible detail into the lives of what is best described as a broken and dysfunctional family living in the worst of circumstances and facing the worst results from being in a poverty ridden, outcast minority environment. We see the implications of growing up facing discrimination and learning from birth to never trust the authorities, even those who actually mean well and want to help. It was a disturbing, revealing story and truly dealt with what came before he shot her.


Now I move on to Steve Berry's first novel, The Amber Room. Previously, I read his The Templar Legacy and thoroughly enjoyed it. I expect a similar reaction to the intrigue surrounding this search for treasures that disappeared during World War II.

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