The Murder Exchange by Simon Kernick


My Rating: 4/5

I am slowly working my way through Simon Kernick’s books and this is the second book he released. Simon Kernick has a very certain type of writing style. His books are usually very fast paced and normally it takes only a matter of a chapter or two before you are thrown in at the deep end of a story.

This book followed the same format and we dive straight into Max Iversson’s bad decision and when it all goes wrong. However, although you are thrown in at the deep end very quickly, the suspense level is not as high as I am used to with a Kernick book. I think this is a sure sign of the amount of time he has been writing. The fact that I read his newer stuff first and have gone back to his older work has the disadvantage of showing his weaker points at the beginning of his career.

Although slightly weaker than usual the story itself was a good one. Max Iversson was a great character, and although he usually stays within the law, he finds himself inadvertently being drawn over to the other side in his fight for the truth. John Gallan was also a pretty good character and although the typical `copper’ we see in books, there was no glossing over his very mundane personal life which actually brought more realism to the book in my eyes. We flit between characters by chapter and as the story progresses you see more and more of each one and they eventually overlap.

Other characters making a brief appearance is Tina Boyd (who appears in later Kernick books) as well as the Holtz family who are a central part of the plot. As ever there is no holding back on the levels of violence and gore, although it’s all done in keeping with the story. As usual towards the end we pick up even more pace before getting to the climax and pretty good ending. Overall I really dud enjoy the book, but for some reason there seemed to be something lacking. I have thought about it and really do think this is a case of reading his newer books first. This is certainly not a bad book by any means, but think that it certainly isn’t a good example of the first class work that he has gone on to produce. Another solid read, but slightly lacking that magic something!

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