Thanks for visiting :) You can find books in similar genres/with similar star ratings/by the same author by clicking on tags at the end of the reviews. These are my own reading choices only, aside from those I read for Rosie Amber's book review team; I do not accept requests, do 'review swaps' or give glowing reviews because the writer is a friend. You will see few under 3* as I usually abandon if I can't give at least this rating. If you would like to follow me on Twitter, I'm @TerryTyler4
Friday, 11 December 2015
TRANSGRESSION by Frank Parker
3 out of 5 stars Mystery/drama On Amazon UK HERE On Amazon.com HERE
This is an intelligently constructed, fairly complex drama that deals with
the changing social attitudes of England since the 1970s, written from the
points of view of three main characters.
It opens with Roger, who has written a book about a recently deceased
soap star. He meets a young woman who
claims to be the soap star's daughter, which opens up old wounds and secrets
from four decades before. Roger is
forced to face up to his own guilt about his part in the cover up, which
involved family friends and a local MP, and deal with the impact of the
revelations on his own relationship.
The book covers many decades, with nostalgia-worthy details in each. I was a
teenager in the 1970s, and this book did make me think about how far we have
moved on in terms of prejudice and 'the permissive society', as it was called
back in those days; sometimes for good, sometimes not so much. As the story goes on, suggestions of historic
sexual harrassment are uncovered—very topical and sinister.
I found the subject matter quite interesting to read about; after all,
soap operas and dramas themselves are so often based around hidden affairs and
secret offspring; you can't go far wrong with a bit of family intrigue of this
type! I'm afraid, though, that I found
it all a bit flat. The main problem was
the dialogue; each character used similar vocabulary, tone, mood and rhythms of
speech; I kept forgetting who was who because they all spoke in the same way,
the dialogue being mostly used to deliver facts, as was much of the
narrative, as opposed to telling a compelling story with atmosphere and
emotion. A trait I've noticed in many
self-published mystery type books with intricate plots is that characters have lengthy
conversations in which they explain the whys and wherefores of a situation, in
order to impart chunks of information to the reader, but if the characters have
not leapt off the page and become real people, it's hard to care. I also felt that some of the references to
social media and popular culture were a little forced.
Having said all that, the writing did improve when it moved onto the
second character, Mabel, and more so again I reached the third, Douglas. The book's other good point was that the plot
strands worked together well; I didn't find any inconsistencies or parts that
weren't feasible, a huge plus. To sum up
- it was just okay for me, but I daresay people who care more about a carefully constructed plot than
character connection would enjoy it more.