Severed by Simon Kernick


My Rating: 4/5

Former Soldier Dan Tyler is about to have a very bad day. He awakes to find himself in a strange bed with your girlfriend lying dead next to him. Not only is she dead but he is covered in her blood and according to the DVD in the machine, it was him who killed her. He is then instructed to deliver a briefcase to a shady address in East London and then wait for further instructions. There seems no way out for Dan so he has no choice but to follow his instructions and only hope he can survive the next 24 hours and uncover what really happened before he ends up dead too.

My first Kernick book was Relentless which I cannot praise highly enough. I then moved on to his most recent book The Last Ten Seconds which I loved too. I had really high hopes for this book but it didn’t quite live up to expectation for me.

Don’t get me wrong, it certainly wasn’t a bad book, but in comparison to the last two I have read it just wasn’t as good. The great thing about Simon Kernick’s writing is that he isn’t backward in coming forward. Each book I have read starts at 100 miles per hour and doesn’t seem to let up in pace. Normally the first few chapters are what grab you and pull you in. In this respect Severed is no different and he certainly manages to do this. However, the story was a little on the side of too un-realistic.

I must confess that although believability is good, the whole point of reading is for fun so if the realism isn’t there then it doesn’t bother me too much. Having said that, this story at times, fell too far over the boundaries of being far-fetched for my liking. That aside, everything else needed for a great read was there. The character Tyler is an ordinary guy who happened to have served in the Army for quite a while. It is pretty clear from the beginning that there are not many people he can trust or turn to for help.

His army training certainly helps with some of the situations he comes across though and pretty soon we meet many other shady characters. Aside from Tyler we don’t get to learn too much about the other people in the story unless they are absolutely necessary which makes a refreshing change. Sometimes there is too much background on characters, whereas with this it felt quite balanced.

The first half of the book is spent with Tyler following orders and suffering the consequences, whereas the second half of the book changes pace again with him fighting to get some kind of control back into his crazy day. The story is split over two days but the vast majority of the book is over 24 hours. Along the way we meet the likely suspects for Tyler’s set up but as the story progresses it appears that nobody is who they appear to be.

Yes, this book is a little unrealistic but the writing is fantastic. As a reader I am drawn into the plot (no matter how far fetched) and find myself wondering who is involved from page to page. Yes this book is escapism with a capital E but it is a worthwhile read. Towards the end of the book you are thrown a few plot twists which I liked and the story is finished with an Epilogue which wraps it all up nicely. I enjoyed this book, although not as much as Relentless but I will continue to work my way through the rest of his books and look forward to it.

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