well, I do love it so far. it's disturbing, it's not designed to put you in the most relaxed, comfortable mood ever--and I'm hooked. I kept thinking things like "this is like a Brit female-perspective version of a David Goodis book--a good one--and that means I'm happy!". anyway, this was one of the few times I happened to glance at some BookLikes patron reactions just before embarking, and saw a half-star review, and I think maybe a two-star pasting as well, and got worried. but we all have our different tastes, don't we? I'm not saying I know for sure this is a 4 or 5 star book for me...but it certainly is heading in that direction at 167 pages...
lately I've topped up my selection of unread Crime & Mystery novels--including my beloved Spy choices--so much, that it's very tough now to decide which one to read! there are four books I definitely want to read now...at least. and I'm supposed to be alternating origin points for my Mysteries as I go through them--something like one USA or Canada, followed by one Scandinavian, followed by one British or Other--which means I should be cuing up anything but British Crime just now, since that's where I went last courtesy of the Hamand entry. but (a) rules are made to be broken, and when in doubt just read the book that won't wait; (b) the last two British Mysteries I've read have been somewhat atypical, and (c) the last thing I read was a Western as American as apple pie, so I think I'll leave North America at this point. as for jumping to a Scandinavian pick...well, I don't feel like Crow Girl or Headhunters just at this precise moment--one's a huge hardcover, and the Nesbo would be more tempting if it was a Harry Hole book. I confess that--other than Cracked, set in Miami or something--all my British options are screaming for attention. Blood Whispers is the runner-up--sorry, but hey, soon...--but Apple Tree Yard is the one I keep thinking about. so there--this is what happens when you have too many books! but then, you know this.
John Harper works as an operative for a black-ops operation. It’s 1998 and he’s staying in a hut in Indonesia in fear of his life. He’s made an error of judgment which most likely has made him a liability to his employer and unfortunately, John is all too familiar with how his employer deals with failures. John has plenty of time to remember his disastrous 1965 Indonesian tour. He obviously has serious regrets about some of his past actions and struggles with his memories. When he meets Rita, another damaged soul, he shares some of his past with her but she knows he hasn’t told her everything.
The book bounces back and forth between 1998 and 1965 and when John was a child. John is the son of an Indonesian soldier who the Japanese beheaded and an alcoholic Dutch woman. The happiest time of his life are the years spent with Poppa and Nina and his little half-brother Bud. The author masterfully fleshes out John’s character and shows how his childhood has led him to where he is today. His path has been a long, hard one and I longed for John to find redemption and love. I literally had trouble breathing during the last few pages of this book.
I picked this book based on the author alone since I thought “Apple Tree Yard” was an amazing book. I hardly glanced at what the book was about. When I started to read it, I thought I might have made a mistake as it obviously was an espionage book, much like Graham Greene would write, and I’m not particularly fond of that type of book. But the author’s characterization makes her new book an excellent read and one that I highly recommend. It’s thrilling, it’s heart wrenching and it’s powerful.