Monday, March 15, 2010

Book Review: And Hope To Die by J.M. Calder

And Hope To Die - J.M. Calder

Lieutenant Solomon Glass has faced many demons while working in the Homicide and Serious Crime division, but none have challenged him more so than the case he is working on now.
A nine-year-old girl, Amy Gardner, has just been abducted- the fourth child taken in the past year. Like the previous three abductions, this one follows the same sadistic pattern- a package arrives at the family home, addressed to the mother and containing a body part. An anonymous letter follows, telling the mother that in order for her child to be released alive, she will have to take her own life. So far, two women are dead and, for reasons unknown, a third is spared and her child released physically unharmed.
With no clues as to who the abductor could be- or what his motive is- and with the public starting to become increasingly alarmed, Glass and his team find themselves at a loss. The kidnapper always seems to be one step ahead- able to anticipate every move that the police make- and the chances of finding Amy alive are growing slimmer every day.
But then the sadistic activities start to become more personal, as the kidnapper begins to insinuate to the lieutenant what he has suspected for some time- the abductions directly involve Glass and his less-than-admirable past, and the children and their mothers are just pawns in a very deadly game.
In a race against time, Glass and his team have to find Amy, outwit the person holding her captive, and ensure that no other children, or their mothers, meet the same fate.

What I gained from reading this book:
This novel highlights the sadistic plots that some people will create in order to feed and nurture the symptoms of their ‘God complex’. This is when some sick individuals feel justified in creating life and death situations in order to exert their power and control over others. Although the abductor in this case is only fictional (luckily), his actions have surely been replicated (although not in exactly the same way) throughout history, in the form of murderous predators who enjoy holding power over their victims. This novel serves as a reminder that these kinds of people actually exist in society, and that they could be the person you least expect to participate in such gruesome behaviour.

In many crime novels, it takes a while for the author to set the scene and introduce readers to all the main players in the story. But in And Hope To Die, readers are thrown right into the middle of an ongoing police investigation, knowing just as much about the ‘predator’ as the police who are trying to solve the case. This scenario makes the story much more engaging for readers.

Some moments in the novel’s plotline were a tad predictable, even if they didn’t seem particularly possible during the moments they occurred. Afterwards, however, when each of these moments is explained, the sense of predictability that you felt reading the novel proves to be right. While this helped to move the story forward, it also put the novel into the not-quite-original category for crime narratives.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Genre: Crime/ Thriller

Recommended for: People who are interested in crime novels where the reader only learns as much as the investigators at a particular point in time.

Australians can buy the book by clicking the picture below:

And Hope to Die

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