donderdag 15 december 2016

"Play to the End" by Robert Goddard

"That feeling is why I'm talking into this machine. I can't quite describe it. Not foreboding, exactly. Not excitement. Not even anticipation. Something slipping between all three, I suppose. A thrill; a shiver; a prickling of the hairs on the back of the neck; a ghost tiptoeing across my grave."

Toby Flood used to be the up-and-coming actor, even once considered for the role of James Bond. But now his career is winding down. He's playing the main part in an obscure play "Lodger in the Throat" and when the production strikes down in Brighton, he is contacted by his ex-wife Jenny, who thinks she's being stalked. Hoping to win back his wife, Flood confronts the stalker, but finds out there's a whole lot more going on. An enormous scandal is emerging and everything seems to point in the direction of Jenny's new fiancé, Roger Colborn. When a friend of Flood dies, and another goes missing, he starts to realise that he's manoevred himself into a real hornet's nest, and that both he and Jenny are in grave danger.

Although some of his more recent works have been slightly disappointing, I still consider Robert Goddard to be one of my favourite authors - mainly based on his dozen or so earliest novels. "Play to the End" is from 2004, just about the time it all started to go downhill a bit. In fact, for about three quarters of the novel, this was among the least engaging Goddard books I've read. Yes, it's beautifully written -as always- and there are once again lots of twists and turns. But the characters didn't click and the mystery couldn't really hold my attention. However, in the last 100 pages or so, the story really picks up speed and the finale is satisfying. So, not his best by a long shot (I'd suggest "Painting the Darkness" or "Take no Farewell"), but not one to skip either.

Author: Robert Goddard
Title: Play to the End
Publisher: Corgi, London
Year: 2004
Number of pages: 443 p.
ISBN: 0552148792

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