Wednesday, 17 April 2019
DAVID B. LYONS - WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BETSY BLAKE? (2019)
If your daughter went missing, how many years would it take for you to admit she’s never coming home?
Betsy Blake was only four years old when she vanished outside her family home in Dublin.
Her father – wracked with guilt for the past seventeen years – still can’t bring himself to admit the search is over, despite the fact his wife has moved on and police have closed off the investigation.
When he is informed he must undergo major heart surgery that he only has a fifty percent chance of surviving, Gordon Blake hires a local PI to give the investigation one last try.
But surely rookie PI Lenny Moon – who has little or no experience in such high-profile investigating – doesn’t have what it takes to make a breakthrough in this case before Gordon is put to sleep.
…or does he?
The clock is ticking…
Whatever Happened to Betsy Blake? will stay in your head for a long time. A very, very long time.
An enjoyable enough read and a hard one to discuss in any great detail without running the risk of spoiling it for someone who might want to read it later.
Plot - interesting. A dying man - maybe - it's 50-50 that he survives an urgent heart operation wants answers in five hours regarding the disappearance of his young daughter 17 years ago. A naive PI is hired, with the promise of a big pay-off - one which will improve his family's prospects considerably if he can bring something new to the table in the short period of time allowed.
Setting - Dublin - my hometown birthplace, albeit half a century ago..... car journeys, taxi rides, home visits for interviews, a hospital ward and a cellar or two.
Characters - Gordon, our hospital patient and bereft parent; Lenny, our PI; a kindly nurse; Gordon's ex-wife, ex-business partner and a couple of dodgy former business associates; Lenny's wife, a couple of taxi drivers, Gordon's doctor, an investigative journalist, a retired police officer involved in the original investigation into Betsy's disappearance, a man named Dod and a significant other.
Pace - driven. The clock is ticking down - five hours to find some answers.
We do have a twin narrative-cum-dual timeline of sorts, as events starting from seventeen years back and moving forward into the present day are interspersed into our five hour story.
Resolution - surprising - with a big F*** OFF twist, which definitely leaves its mark.
Did I see it coming? No. Should I have? Maybe, as lack of motivation for a particular character's actions troubled me throughout. Until the reveal, that is.
Overall, quite a clever book (or an ordinary book with a stupid reader), a fast read, never less than interesting, a few irritating/annoying characters - the sort of people I deal with every day at work, so nothing I couldn't handle - or more accurately ok characters who irritated at times.
Well worth the time invested in reading it. I'd be curious to hear other seasoned crime-mystery-thriller readers' reactions, to see if they caught what I missed.
4 from 5
David B. Lyons previous book Midday was enjoyed last year. Thoughts on that one here.
Read - April, 2019
Published - 2019
Page count - 305
Source - review copy from author
Format - kindle