Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Never Come Back by David Bell

Elizabeth Hampton's mother has died. It was unexpected, sure, but the real shock comes when the police reveal that they suspect that Leslie Hampton's death is actually murder. From the beginning they seem to have set their sites on Elizabeth's older brother, Ronnie. Though Ronnie is very self-sufficient, his Down Syndrome had left him fairly reliant on their mother. And while Elizabeth has never seen her brother become violent, it appears Leslie had called the police in recent weeks thanks to a particularly nasty tantrum on Ronnie's part. Then Elizabeth discovers something strange: just one month before her death, Leslie changed her will. Elizabeth was certain that it would have been a reaction to the fight the two of them had just prior to the change but that's not it at all. Elizabeth's mother has added a third person to the will. Another Elizabeth who is to inherit a full third of her estate. Who is this other Elizabeth and just how is she connected to Leslie?

David Bell's third thriller is certainly a page turner. I finished it in just one weekend afternoon. Unfortunately about two thirds of the way through I started to feel a bit of a disconnect in the narrative. On the one hand, it seemed as though a lot of logical conclusions and connections were being completely ignored. And yes, people are people so that would likely be the reality of the situation. But when Elizabeth first discovers the other Elizabeth is in the will and calling her mother's lawyer, she doesn't say a word about it to the police. She hears that a strange woman has visited her brother and upon questioning him and hearing him say it was "Elizabeth" assumes he's hallucinating or dreaming.

Obviously by having the characters overlook logical leads they could be thrown out later on to move the story forward. Sadly instead it came across as too simplified.

There also came a point where each new shocking reveal felt too far fetched. The false leads were easy to see beyond and the constant wishy washiness between Elizabeth and her boyfriend as a major part of the plot also started to grate on me. Had other pieces of the book fallen more into place, this actually wouldn't have bothered me at all. Instead, it became one more mark against Never Come Back.

It's not to say that there wasn't anything enjoyable or intriguing about Bell's latest. Obviously I was hooked enough to keep reading. It's simply that the bar is set a bit high when it comes to stories like these for me.

It's also a shame that Cemetery Girl actually sets the bar pretty high itself for this author's work. While not one of my favorite books, it's incredibly well written and quite disturbing. Overall a much better read than Never Come Back proved to be.

Rating: 2.5/5

1 comment:

Jenn's Bookshelves said...

Uh oh! I had high hopes for this one!