Monday 20 January 2020

Book Review: Nothing Important Happened Today by Will Carver

Nothing Important Happened Today (Detective Sergeant Pace, #2)Nothing Important Happened Today by Will Carver
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I wanted to read this book very much. I had heard a lot about it - and not just because I inadvertently was at a London book launch for it (it was a double booklaunch, I was there for the other book - Violet, by SJI Holliday, go read it, it's brilliant!) but because people whose opinion I rated raved about it.

I am not a crime thriller reader on the whole. I like some books, depending on the author and the story. But I was surprised this was placed in this genre - and raved about by the very tight circle of crime thriller supporters that go to all the events within the crime genre. Yes, there is a detective that features in a bit of it, and yes, in the last 10% of the novel you find out that there was actually someone behind what is taking place in this novel, but other than that it was simply a diatribe the author wishes to make about Suicide, Society, Social Media and Cults - touching on subjects like therapy and hypnosis along with it. It was bleak and depressing, and not just because it is about mass suicides.

I almost DNF at around 30% but someone in a review had said it picks up after 50% so I carried on. But I didn't find that, I found the entire story was really in the last 10-20%. I don't think I've ever skim read any book so much in my life before!

There is nothing wrong with the writing itself, but it is narrated as though by an observer so that we the reader are also observing it all happening, with constant digressions into information about famous serial killers and their motivations as though they were relevant to the story. In a very vague way they were, but not until the end. If you are a crime thriller reader maybe this gave it a more interest but sadly it didn't help for me.

This POV is fine for setting up the story of the character, other authors like Stephen King do this, so the reader can get an overview of what is going on, but it just didn't stop. It meant it was not possible to engage with the characters or care about any of them particularly - which maybe was a reflective of the disconnect the characters were having in the story, leading them to the suicides, but I found myself waiting to find out what it was all about really and that didn't come until the last 10% and by then I wanted it over. I like to engage with characters and the story when I am reading, otherwise what is the point?

The author has his own theatre company and writes plays and screenplays and to me that was what this reflected - having a theatre background myself - someone giving stage directions and describing the setting of each scene, but continually to the end.

It was repetitive and went back and forth a lot and kept slipping into rants about the same topics, going over and over them. The author occasionally changed into what is called Collective First, where they use 'You' as a plural instead of 'I' - like you are talking about yourself to someone. It brought me slightly closer to the characters involved and enabled me to keep reading.

There was something compelling about it, and I was curious to what or who was behind it which is what kept me reading. I don't like to give up on books, particularly ones that are a sort of mystery. I just had to learn to skim read, which I hate doing.

This book did not work for me, and did not inspire me to read any more of this author's books. Clearly it worked for others and if you are reading this, it might work for you. The bleakness or bluntness of the suicides did not bother me at all, but it definitely would trigger others who have had suicide affect their life.

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