As a note, I despise books that get a different cover image, showing the actors playing the characters and little else to the design. As such, even though the blue version is not the cover on the novel I received to review, I couldn’t help but include it.
As a disclaimer, I have watched a few episodes of the tv show this book is a novelisation of, but I haven’t watched the full first season. The tv show by the same name comes from the UK and stars David Tennant and Olivia Coleman (as seen in the cover image), however, baffling as it always is, the US is coming out with their own attempt soon enough, called Gracepoint, which shall also star David Tennant but has swapped Coleman for an actress by the name of Anna Gunn. Personally I’m yet to like a single attempt the US has ever made to remake any TV show there (The Office included in my humble opinion.)
As I seem to be in a
ranting discussing mood, I’ve seen it noted in other reviews readers’ bafflement as to why novelisations exist – surely people will prefer to watch the tv show/movie version, or if they already have, why would they want to read something when they know what will happen next? I’d be interested to hear any of your thoughts in the comments, but personally I’ll note that anything that does well, has a chance to make further money through merchandise. And die-hard fans will buy anything out there for another glimpse at characters or a plot they’ve adored.
Then this also has a note on it to say that it ‘contains exclusive never-before-seen material’, so there’s that, also.
Rants aside, onto the review. For those who are unaware of the plot…
Set in Dorset, England, local police inspector DS (Detective-Sergeant) Ellie Miller has been passed over for a promotion she was sure for, in favour for Detective-Inspector Alec Hardy. He comes to the job with a troubled past/record, so it’s even more upsetting for Ellie as to why she didn’t get the job.
They soon have to put their differences aside (or at least, they try and fail to) as the body of a young boy is discovered on the beach. As Dorset is a tight-knit community, everyone knows the boy and he happens to be the best friend of Ellie’s own son – same age and everything. Another hard fact they must come to terms with is that it’s quickly evident that the boy has been murdered, and by someone he knew, which means someone in their tight-knit community is responsible. Paranoia, suspicion, and dirty secrets start coming to light as the community fight and work to discover what really happened to poor Danny Latimer.
We see all avenues here, from how disgusting the press can be, to allegiances and what’s required of being a professional and how it means being required to set aside your feelings, friends and family.
All that aside, we see a community that’s quite dirty and realistic. Everyone has their secrets. Cheating spouses, fights, families that once seemed perfect are suddenly revealed to be not so. This all makes for engaging reading that’s hard to put down, and overall Erin Kelly does a damn good job at translating the tv series to book form. The only quibble I had was that it was at times hard remembering which character is related to whom, and so forth – though that was at times hard while watching the tv series, too.
Overall, this is a strong novel. I would recommend it for those who have seen the show, and also for those who haven’t – though I would promote it more as a novel in itself, rather than a novelisation, for I agree that given a choice, most would still pick to sit back and watch the tv show instead. I mean… David Tennant. What more can be said?