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Monday, 11 May 2009

The Black Monastery

I was attracted by the title of The Black Monastery by Stav Sherez. Unfortunately the book did not live up to its blurb. Wooden and unconvincing characters and overdone graphic descriptions - not just of the bodies of murder victims - but also of the more unpleasant bodily functions. Saying someone turned away for a moment is sufficient for the reader to get the idea that someone is being sick without the technicolour adjectives.

In its favour was the plot - which was convoluted - though the solution was relatively simple and staring you in the face in the end. I could not believe in the character of Kitty - a best selling crime novelist - who suddenly changed from very flaky to a resourceful and sensible person without any warning. Nikos - the detective in the story seemed more three dimensional.

I felt the Greek Island setting was not seen to its advantage and the author was too keen on linking weather and surroundings to the depressing aspects of the plot. Kitty and her friend Jason were after all on holiday but they don't seem to have appreciated the hot weather, the blue sea and the beaches. The sun 'burnt', the sea dazzled unpleasantly and no one went for a swim to take their minds off what was going on.

I think this author's future books may be worth reading but I would not recommend this one - it left an unpleasant taste for me.

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