Sunday, February 26, 2012

Book Review: The Watermen

I'm always aware when writing a review that the author could be in the audience. So its hard to know what to say when you don't enjoy a book, particularly when the author, Patrick Easter, was a police officer for 30 years, including some years working on the River Thames.

You can just imagine him - or a colleague - stopping this humble kayaker with a "hello, hello, hello, what's all this then?" and then charging me under some obscure 18th Century by-law.

And he'd know all about those, for this book is about the life on the waters of east London in the years leading up to 1800, and the conflict between the criminal gang leader and his nemesis on the newly formed police force.

I really did want to enjoy this book and had picked it up at Heathrow airport with high expectations. And yet I gave up half way through, having had enough.

But what put me off? It could be style isn't one I go for. Maybe where I picked it up was a clue as it does have an airport thriller air about it, the sort of thing Bonnie blogged about (and not this one with my comment that must have seemed cryptic to those that hadn't seen film the devil wears Prada).

It reminded me of my writing classes and that old saying "show don't tell". This was tell, tell, tell. Take the "nemesis" bit: just in case you didn't work that out it was in the text - indeed the lead two characters used that word to described how they felt about the other.

Do you remember those children's books full of adventure that you loved when young then came back to and winced at the technique? It reminded me of that.

I must admitted a lot happened in each chapter, but when there was a death or at least an assault in each after a while I got a bit tired.

It might just be me: there were good reviews in both the Guardian and the Express.

Sorry Patrick!

Picture from Waterstones here

No comments: