Am höchsten bewertete kritische Rezension
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A real letdown
am 28. Januar 2009
Two stars for this book, no more. Where do they come from? Well, one star is for a good story idea; based on the old "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" concept (here a "double whammy"), it has quite a bit of potential. The other star is for a fluid read.
From a technical viewpoint, the book is well written; the characters feel well developed and, for the most part quite believable. Towards the end of the book, this feeling is successfully removed beyond redemption, of course.
Unfortunately, the buck stops here. Mr. Beckett takes the concept of overstatement to a new level. Without wanting to mention too many details, the story contains too much ridiculous plot to warrant more than two stars.
A large portion of the plot takes place during an Atlantic storm; having experienced one of these first-hand, I can tell you that the central characters of the novel must likely be superheroes to physically do what is described - any normal person, even a physically fit one, would be drenched to the bone after 15 minutes and rendered a shivering nincompoop after 30 in this type of weather, wearing the type of clothes described. Conversation during a pounding rain with 70km/h winds? Not in real life - in the book, this doesn't seem to be a problem. The list goes on.
Furthermore, you get the idea that the author learned only a few facts about the anthropological aspects of fire death, as he beats you around the head with them repeatedly, almost like a mantra. If you're expecting an entertaining and interesting medical discourse of the likes of "Kay Scarpetta" et al, look elsewhere.
The story could have been made into an excellent book, unfortunately Beckett uses the plot as a blunt instrument, with which he tries to pound reading enjoyment into your head.
The story becomes more unbelievable as it nears the end, with two final twists that are so badly put together it hurts. You get the feeling that after reading the first half of his manuscript, Mr. Beckett - or more likely his editor - felt that more zest was needed to keep the story alive. A bad decision - the story would have been fine without all the gore and superfluous action.
The last chapter is the final straw. It is completely ridiculous and utterly superfluous. If you've received this book as a gift or actually purchased it, do yourself a favor: tear the pages of the last chapter carefully out of the book and either deposit them in that happily crackling fire in your hearth or put them in the recycling bin. You'll give that paper a purpose that way and save yourself some pretty painful reading. Am I exaggerating just a bit here? No I'm not.
To summarize, if you're looking for good, believable forensic anthropology fiction, don't buy this book. There are other authors that do a much better job. I certainly won't be reading any more books by this author, I can tell you. If you're looking to give this book as a gift, then please do so only to people you'd like to annoy.