My last blog post, Can you pronounce the word? explained how I met Wes Markin – a chance encounter that led to an interesting chain of events.
There was, of course, a further outcome from that meeting. Although Wes offered to read my as-yet unpublished novel, there was no expectation from him that I should reciprocate in any way. Nevertheless, Sharon Rimmelzwaan, the book blogger who introduced us, sang his praises further when I spoke to her the next day, as did fellow blogger (and now author) Donna Morfett. Curiosity piqued, one of the first things I did when I got home that weekend, was download a copy of One Last Prayer.
The novel is the first in Wes’s DCI Yorke series. I prefer to start at the beginning if I can. There were no expectations on my part, but I found myself very swiftly drawn into the story. As ever, I never feel it’s appropriate with a book review to talk about the plot – certainly not in any specific way. That way, you don’t inadvertently give spoilers about the story. What I can say is that it’s very dark.
My own writing can be dark, and I know people who’ve met me find it strange because I don’t generally project darkness out into the world. From the brief encounters I’ve had with Wes, I get the same impression of him. But maybe we all have a dark side, and it needs to come out somehow. I guess it’s better that we express that darkness in fiction rather than incorporate it into our real lives.
One Last Prayer is a police procedural that starts with a missing schoolboy, but follows an intricate path that takes the reader in directions they don’t expect. Although, I’ve only been to Salisbury a couple of times and don’t know the surrounding area well, I did get a sense of the place from the book. It also captured the essence of rural areas in general. Coming from one myself, there was a lot I could relate to. At the same time, when the story flicks to a more urban environment, you felt as if you were there as well.
There is a trend these days to write in the first person, but include segments in the third. It’s a trend I understand, as first person allows the reader to connect better with the main character, but blending in some third person also allows the author to offer different points of view. As a reader, I prefer to have one or the other, though I know I’d be missing out on some great novels these days if I avoided those that follow the trend. My own preference when writing is to go with third person because I like switching viewpoints, though there is a risk of becoming slightly detached from the characters. (Strangely enough, the novel of mine that Wes read is written in the first person – so I can hardly say I’m consistent.)
Wes has written in the third person, which tallies with my own preferences, but also really suits the story. There are several different viewpoints that need showing to give the reader the whole picture. And those switches between viewpoints also help to keep the reader guessing.
If I had any reservation about the novel, it was the length of the chapters. It might be that the author has changed his style in subsequent books, but the chapters were quite long, often breaking down into different scenes that could easily have been set in their own chapters. In practice, the effect is psychological more than anything else. Rather than reach the end of a chapter and think to myself, ‘I’ll just get another one in’, knowing it would be a long one, I’d leave it until the next day. This meant I probably read the book at a slower pace than I otherwise would have done. In the grand scheme of things, though, it’s a minor quibble.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed One Last Prayer and am looking forward to dipping into the next in series.
If I’ve piqued your interest and you want to know more, click on the image below.