Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Road by Clive West--a review

I often worry about reviewing the work of colleagues and friends. After all, reviews can be a tricky business, and while I want to be honest, I hate the thought of hurting a friend's feelings.  When my fellow blogger at All Things Writing, Clive West, asked me if I'd be interested in reading and reviewing his book, The Road, I said yes with some trepidation. 

Luckily, my worries were over nothing! The Road turned out to be a fantastic read.


Here is the author's Amazon blurb:

Every crime has its victim.

The Giddings family - enjoying their rural idyll until events start to spiral out of their control turning paradise into hell.

Henry - trapped in a loveless marriage who sees a chance to climb on board the gravy train for a one-way ticket out of misery but doesn't want to know about the consequences of his actions.

Sandra - frustrated by a system where the rich get richer and the poor pay to get a ringside seat.

John - a shrewd developer who knows all the tricks and is the guy flicking the switch when the smelly stuff hits the fan.

The parasites and hangers on, too numerous to mention, who abuse their positions of trust to feather their own nests but who are outraged when those lower down the pecking order try to do the same.


The Road is one of those books that sucks you in from the very beginning. We know from the get go that a suicide has occurred, but are unsure who the unnamed victim is. As the story unfolded, I kept coming back to those first few pages and trying to guess which of the characters it was. To be honest, this book kept me guessing about that until close to the end.

I think that's the charm of The Road. It's a highly detailed, character driven tale where you can't help but get emotionally involved in the character's lives. I felt a little like Jimmy Stewart in Rear Window, always peeking in at the raw events that occurred. Mr. West definitely knows how to create characters that are strong and evoke feelings from the readers. I liked the character of Henry a great deal, even when I knew he was stooping to a low level with his development deal. His frustration with his wife and the disinterest of his kids was well written and pulls the reader right into his life. His wife, Margaret (Maggie), is a piece of work. She nags, complains, and feels that nothing is ever good enough.

I felt a little sorry for Sandra. It was obvious to me that her boyfriend, Angelo, was never going to be who she wanted him to be. I've met lots of girls like her who are blinded by love and don't really see the truth.  

And then there's John. Talk about smarmy. Underhanded, seedy, and definitely someone who knows how to work the system, John is that guy we've all met who seems to be just a little better off, just a little better dressed than everyone else. We know that he's gotten all his success by playing the odds and not caring who he steps on as he climbs the career ladder.

When these characters come together, they create a stirring story about corruption and greed.

If you've followed my past reviews, you know that I can't ever write a review without being a least a little critical. My only negative comment about The Road would be that at times I felt there was too much backstory which slowed the action down. However, it wasn't enough to stop me from reading the book!

Bravo, Clive, on an excellent tale!

Clive's Amazon link for The Road is below. Be sure to check back and read more of his musings and thoughts on writing every Thursday here at All Things Writing.




1 comment:

  1. Thank you, Mary Ann - I'm delighted that you liked it.

    If any of All Things Writing's readers have any questions, I'd be very pleased to answer them - just post your query here.

    I'd just also add that The Road is half-price this month.