Wednesday, 19 February 2014

REVIEW: Tom Bale - The Catch

“How far do you go for a friendship? That's the question Daniel Wade is forced to ask when a simple favour has fatal consequences. For the sake of his old schoolmate, Robbie - and more importantly for Robbie's sister, Cate - Dan agrees to go along with a lie. But soon he's sucked into a conspiracy that threatens to consume them all.

How hard do you fight for a fortune? For Gordon and Patricia Blake, the dead man held the key to a glorious future. Now that future has been ripped from their grasp, and the Blakes want to know why. Then they want revenge.

How can you hope to survive? With a ruthless predator on their trail, Dan realises that evading justice is the least of their worries. All that matters now is staying alive.”

This is, in all honesty, the first thriller/crime book I’ve read where I didn’t have the faintest clue as to what was going to happen or how it was going to end. The story focuses on a handful of people and those people are split into two groups – Dan, Robbie, and Cate in one and Gordon, Patricia, Jerry, and Stemper in the other – although that changes over time as some people leap ship and others go it alone. Some are good, some are bad, some are just plain deranged, and the bad might surprise you.

The story starts with Dan, Robbie, and Cate (Robbie’s sister) trying to fix one of Robbie’s previous mistakes. It becomes quite clear early on that Robbie is a reckless character with minimal thought of anyone else but himself with Dan and Cate both appearing to be fed up of helping him out of the troubles he gets himself into. The trio go to meet a guy called Hank who Robbie did business with in the past… let’s just say that it wasn’t 100% legit. Although the three go together, it’s Cate who has to deal with Hank directly and it doesn’t end smoothly, with Dan having to jump in.  That’s where the story gets interesting…

Yet again, one of Robbie’s mistakes leads to Dan (and eventually Cate) getting dragged into all kinds of craziness. This time, however, it’s dangerous. After Robbie’s actions lead to the death of a man, both he and Dan have to decide what to do. Dan thinks they should confess to the police and explain it was a mistake, Robbie takes every opportunity to deny what happened and, ultimately, make it look like he was never there, happy for his friend to take the blame if necessary.

As it happens, the person that died as a result of Robbie’s carelessness wasn’t exactly a clean cut kind of guy – he, himself, was mixed up in trouble and with some dangerous people, something to do with money (I do know but I refuse to give the game away). When they hear that Hank has been killed, all manner of conspiracy theories are thought of – resulting in them determined to find the person who killed him to find out why. Cue madness.

I don’t want to give too much away but this book really surprised me. Firstly because I’ve never read a book before where I couldn’t even so much as hazard a guess as to what was going to happen, but also because the characters were so full – they changed, they surprised me, they grew as the story becomes more deep.

From the off, I hated Robbie; he was smug, rude, and selfish, three of the worst qualities in a human. Therefore it doesn’t really surprise you how low he’s willing to stoop, especially when it comes to those he loves. Dan is the complete opposite. Time and time again, he puts himself out for his best friend who never seems to return the favour, unless he can get something out of it too. He struggles with his guilt and the lies that he’s forced to tell and never really recovers. It’s this pairing that makes the book so gripping to read.

At times the narrative seemed a bit disjointed but, overall, it worked with the plotline. For the most part, nobody in the story knows fully what’s going on so with the narrative being here, there, and everywhere sometimes, it helps you understand how the characters would be feeling, to an extent. I’m not sure if this was a deliberate act by the author but it worked out in the end. Of course, however, it can sometimes get quite annoying.

That aside, I can’t think of many other bad points, really. The characters are wholesome and bring out a wide range of emotions ranging from anger to confusion, happiness to sadness. The story has several twists and turns that keep you reading and on the edge of your seat. The only other aspect of this book that I didn’t particularly feel was strong or like was the ending. It could have been wrapped up better, in my opinion. It was still a great read and I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a good thriller/crime book.

*received from NetGalley*