What makes a gripping read? Sometimes it’s something quite intangible… I was reading something recently, well-written, interesting plot, intriguing characters… but somehow I struggled to read it, and suddenly found myself skipping bits! I had a sharp word with myself and went back to it, and a few pages later, there I was, letting my eyes glide across the words without taking them in. I’m now reading a different book; it’s a police procedural, with an annoying and in some ways a stereotypical main character, the lead detective (has personal problems which get in the way of the investigating, is unprofessional, has a very improbable amount of support from superiors, is not a particularly engaging or interesting personality…) The plot so far isn’t particularity unusual – missing rich girl found dead, her family has an obstructive attitude, she has a secret life… The setting is a snow-covered London just after Christmas…

This book seems to have everything I find irritating (I’ve come to the conclusion I am too easily irritated!) and yet it is an absolute page-turner! I stay up far too late reading ‘just the next page/chapter/bit, and even want to read it at times I don’t usually read. So why is this book so readable? Why is it un-put downable? Why is it so gripping? Maybe it is to do with structure, maybe it’s the length of the episodes within the narrative, maybe there are sufficient intriguing hooks to keep me reading it so avidly.

I have already looked up the author to see what other books he’s written, and I’m pretty sure when I finish this I’ll get another by him… in fact having seen there is a second novel featuring the same characters, and a third being written, then I know I’m going to read them!!

 

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