One good thing to come out of the lockdown is that that has a been a summer full of reading. I recently also dipped my toes into the wonderful and exciting world of reading and reviewing Advanced Readers Copies, and I should admit it is a special privilege to get a sneak peek into what could potentially go on to become a best seller!
I was on the lookout for a crime thriller when the lovely people at Farrago Books sent me an advanced reader’s copy of The Vanishing Act by Charlie Hodges – a cleverly written, darkly funny whodunnit, with an unlikely protagonist at the centre of it.
In the opening scene of The Vanishing Act, we are introduced to our protagonist in the form of Tom Knight, an ageing, ex-SAS officer, who has now relocated to Eastbourne to spend his twilight years. Tom however, is not one to go gentle into that good night, and despite his bad leg, works as a private detective and almost finds love in the form of the charming Fran, who dumps him, when she finds out that Tom lied about his age.
In a cruel twist of fate, Fran is framed for the murder of 3 women at her care home and Tom, jumps in to the rescue, hoping to be, both figuratively and literally, her ‘Knight in Shining Armour’!
What I liked
This book is cleverly written, with the right amount of plot twists and maintains a witty tone throughout. The characters of Tom Knight and Merv are very well written and the other odd assortment of characters who make an appearance, as Tom progresses on his quest, have also been introduced in an extremely skilful manner; as such it does not seem deliberate and they blend in very well with the story line.
Charlie Hodges is definitely a gifted writer and I can certainly see the ‘Tom Knight’ series building up beautifully with more books to come.
What could have been better
It does waffle a little bit. About 80% through the book, I found myself drifting off and losing grip of the plot, however, the saving grace was that, all the additional ‘waffle-inducing’ plot lines that were introduced, built up to a really good climax and all the loose ends were tied up nicely!
Put this up on your read list if you’re on the lookout for a book to take you through a long weekend, something that is delightful, witty and darkly comic
P.S. The Vanishing Act releases on 17th September 2020 and is available to order both as an e-book and Paperback at Amazon