Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Book Review: Cold Hillside by Martin Cooper

Cold HillsideSimon Coltraine is a professional songwriter and musician who left the family home in Dorset to make his way in the music world in London. Older brother Giles is a bit of a wheeler dealer with fingers in various pies. Simon knows from experience that maybe not all of those pies are legitimate ones but when details of Giles' life begin to unravel after his death he discovers his brother was in deeper than he ever thought.

The book is written largely in the first person, from Simon's viewpoint. I quite enjoyed this, bringing a greater immediacy to the events. From the very beginning the story jumps around in time and whilst we are given little glimpses of the grand scheme it is only later in the book that the bigger picture starts to become clear. I did find I needed to pay proper attention and at the start, getting to grips with names, found myself flicking back once or twice to make sure I was getting things right. However I think as a result I appreciated the approach as I started to have Ahhh moments, when I could see where it was all going.

The book provides very descriptive and, possibly because it is partly set in a county I have a degree of familiarity with, I found some of it very vivid and so close to my own thoughts and experiences. Although the author sets the scenes well he doesn't employ the flowery, gushing prose some authors love, and which I'm generally not keen on especially in this type of book.

I found the crime story interesting and quite topical, but liked the balance with Simon's gradual discovery of his brother's seedy past and the details of their personal histories, including Simon's music career as a fiddler. By the time I had finished the book the ends were nicely tied up and I wasn't left with any nagging questions. I'm not great at classifying books but I felt that this was a successful merger of a crime novel with a literary style, and really enjoyed the read.

Format: Kindle, review copy
My Rating: 4*

2 comments:

Agrippina said...

Great review - I hope you don't mind me linking it from my own :)

I agree that having all those ends tied up is so important - and happens far less commonly than it should!

TC said...

Thanks, and no, of course I don't mind.

There are some books where I quite like a degree of uncertainty and being able to read into a book what you will, but that's very rare.