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review 2015-06-28 18:04
Before It's Too Late - Jane Isaac

A Chinese student goes missing in Stratford.  I quite liked this.  It was ok but not really sinister enough for my tastes!  Also it was a bit too predictable.  I would read other books by this author.

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review 2015-06-13 16:53
Before It's Too Late
Before It's Too Late - Jane Isaac

I was really pleased to receive an advance copy of Jane Isaac's new novel from the publisher. I had read her previous two novels, both of which feature the detective Helen Lavery but this new book follows a different detective and takes place in Stratford upon Avon.
Min, a Chinese student is kidnapped and her part of the tale is narrated in the first person. I think that this made her terror much more real when she is describing the situation that she is in. She often thinks about her life with her parents back in China and her boyfriend who she had argued with recently.
I really liked Will Jackman, this new detective. As with the previous novels his personal life features. The situation which his wife is in and how both Will and his daughter have to cope with it. This doesn't take over the main storyline though, with Will desperately trying to find Min, trying to get help from her family back in China and from the close knit Chinese community in Birmingham.
I hope that Will and his team feature in further novels. I liked the characters and the camaraderie between them.

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review 2015-06-01 21:54
The Truth Will Out
The Truth Will Out - Jane Isaac

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley

in exchange for an honest review.

 

Another police procedural from Jane Isaacs, this (earlier) one featuring DCI Helen Lavery, a character I identified and sympathised with much more closely than I did with the hero of her subsequent novel, Before It's Too Late. As I said in my review of that one, the protagonist was boring and the book needed editing but there was enough about it, especially the character of the victim, to make me willing to give this other story a go.

 

Two young women driving back from Italy discover that they have been tricked into transporting a consignment of drugs into England. Then, after they arrive home, one of them is murdered and the other, terrified, goes into hiding, leaving the police, who know nothing of all this back-story, with an inexplicable murder on their hands.

 

Yes, there are still editing problems. In the other review I noted particularly LAY and LAID. Here I might single out PAST and PASSED, as in these examples: "... glancing at the shop fronts she past" and "A Land Rover rattled passed". Is it incompetent editing or sloppy editing? Or is it no editing at all, and this is how the writer left it?

 

But that said, I did enjoy the book much more than the other one and look forward to reading more stories featuring DCI Helen Lavering.

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review 2015-05-25 22:01
Before It's Too Late
Before It's Too Late - Jane Isaac

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley

in exchange for an honest review.

 

A fairly standard and straightforward British police procedural set in Stratford-on-Avon and featuring for the first time Detective Inspector Will Jackman.

 

A Chinese girl, Min Li, has been abducted while spending a year in England as a student, and it is her we meet close-up-and-personal as it were when the story opens with a dive into the deep end told in the 1st Person and printed in italic. It acts as something like a prologue, but there are further chapters where we return to her in her horrible rat-infested cell scattered through the book.

 

The bulk of the story, though, focuses on DI Jackman and is told in the 3rd Person.

 

This works well, but Jackman himself didn't really interest me. He is too ordinary. Exactly what you might meet at a provincial police station in the UK, no doubt, but fictional detectives need to be a little more extraordinary in some way.

 

And again, the story is set in Stratford-on-Avon – Shakespeare's Stratford. Yet the events could just as easily have taken place in any ordinary connotation-free provincial English town, for absolutely no use whatsoever is made of its being set in Stratford.

 

One more gripe: we all know that many American writers (though never the top-rank ones) have terrible trouble with LIE-LAY-LAIN and LAY-LAID-LAID, but British writers don't. Or shouldn't. Yet again and again we stumble over lines like: [Alice (Jackman's daughter)] laid flat on the floor of her study, eyes clamped together, Bach playing in the background. Alice loved Bach. Whenever she had a research problem, she laid in the dark with her music ... (And "eyes clamped together"?)

 

But all that said, the strong female victim made a nice change and meant I did enjoy the story: witness the fact that I have just downloaded the author's earlier The Truth Will Out – which I hope is better edited than this one!  

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review 2015-05-23 09:59
Before Its Too Late - Review
Before It's Too Late - Jane Isaac

**Publisher review copy**

 

Really excellent crime thriller again from Jane Isaac, this time bringing us a new main protagonist (Will Jackman whom I adored) and with a heart and soul for the story provided by a victim of kidnap - Min Li, whose musings whilst trapped in a dark pit, not knowing if rescue is coming, gives a beautifully crafted edge to the whole thing that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

There are a lot of strengths to this story - Will's background and motivations are intriguing and without cliche - a really well drawn character who grounds the story and gives it focus. Then there is Min Li who you will root for all the way as she reflects on her life, her home and her future, realising it is entirely possible she won't have one. It is emotive and addictive and absolutely gripping.

The story flows magnificently, the investigation interspersed with Min Li and her situation, it twists and turns its way to an excellent and heart stopping finale, where it really is not clear until revealed what the final outcome will be - truly heart stopping at times.

Crime fiction being such a hugely popular genre it is easy for the good ones to get a little lost in the rush - so much choice to be had - but I would highly recommend you give this author a go if you have not already - for me she represents the very best in emerging UK crime fiction and is definitely one to watch.

Highly Recommended

Happy Reading Folks!

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