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realjimbob

REALJimBob

Fortysomething, photographer slacker, working in IT, living in Greenwich; failed polymath; drinks and eats too much, reads too little...

Captured

Captured - Neil Cross Because [a:Neil Cross|79765|Neil Cross|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/authors/1314382745p2/79765.jpg] is turning out to be such a slacker in producing the, much anticipated, sequel to [b:Luther|12284181|Luther The Calling|Neil Cross|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1347970358s/12284181.jpg|17132553] (currently holding the unimaginative title of [b:Untitled|17395181|Untitled. by Neil Cross|Neil Cross|/assets/nocover/60x80.png|19109359] and delayed, again, until Spring 2014) I ended up grabbing another one of his books from Louise's bookshelf to fill the wait. [b:Captured|9396394|Captured|Neil Cross|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1348115922s/9396394.jpg|8912503] is the fascinating tale of a rather sad and pathetic protagonist, Kenny, who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Instead of telling his ex-wife and friends and living out his remaining days he decides to track down a number of people from his life who he feels he's wronged or mistreated in some way. Sort of like the 8th step of the AA programme meets the My Name is Earl TV show – depending on your personal background. Most of these people are easy to track down and apologise to – although they all seem a little bemused by the experience. Only one, Callie Barton, a girl he knew at school, who was nice to him when nobody else was and he felt he should have shown more gratitude to, has disappeared.

Cross's background in TV screenplays seems a little too apparent (as with Luther) where his prose is more direct and functional than you might hope for. More of a tell rather than show style. But what he maybe lacks in style and characterisation he surely makes up for in spades with ideas, plot and more twists than you can shake a twisty stick at. The journey of Kenny as he finds out that Callie really is missing, digs up the old police investigation and starts his own investigation and interrogation of Callie's husband, Jonathan, is horrific to follow. As the pathetic cancer patient at the start of the novel transforms into an avenging angel of destruction by the end. Cross is clever and keeps you guessing all the way – what has happened to Callie; what was Jonathan's involvement in her disappearance; and just how far will Kenny go to find out?

Again, this book has the same things I loved and the same things that irritated me with Luther. The blunt prose and the shallow characterisations (like he expects the actors to take up some of that slack) are overshadowed by the clever premise, the unique twists and turns of the story and just the general darkness of Cross's brain of incredible ideas.