Simon Brett has written a suspenseful and thrilling book. I had read it several years ago when it first came out and wanted to read it again. Even on the second reading the book kept my interest. The central character is totally amoral and evil and his journey into greater depths of evil as the book progresses makes it impossible to put down. The movie with Michael Caine is also excellent but of course due to lack of time cannot give the insight of character that present in the book. A great book for when you have a day free to read...........if you are planning to do anything else forget it for once started you won't be able to concentrate it until you have finished the last page.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Middle Class MurderDec 17 2005
R. E. Whitlock
- Published on Amazon.com
This inverted thriller calls to mind previous British mysteries where the protagonist is a professional man first drawn to murder as a solution for mounting economic and relational problems, only to become more and more embroiled in the unforseen consequences. I am thinking of Middle Class Murder (US title Dead Reckoning) by Bruce Hamilton, the brilliant and satirical Payment Deferred by C.S. Forester, and various titles by C.E. Vulliamy (pseud. Anthony Rolls) such as The Vicar's Experiments.
In this case, the murderer is Graham Marshall, an aspiring Human Resources professional for a large oil company (and by the way, I think this is the first time I have seen a major character drawn from the world of HR). He is master of the corporate game, and has acheived worldly success: a large house, a trophy wife and two kids, expensive holidays, a responsible job with the promise of further promotion, the works. Cracks soon appear in this deceptive facade when Marshall discovers he is in danger of losing all: wife, income, and house. A solution is almost accidentally suggested: murder. And the temptation proves too great to resist.
Marshall proves himself an excellent plotter, successively ridding himself of those who stand in his way. The book is unsettling because we find ourselves alternately loathing and encouraging the man. We deplore his wholesale discounting of the value of human life, yet some of his prospective victims are in themselves so vile, we are temporarily swayed to Marshall's point of view. Brett keeps us off balance until the very last page.
Particulary well done is the over-the-top depiction of the corporate world, where little seems to depend on merit, and all on cut throat power games, an amoral environment that is a natural breeding ground for a killer. If you thought Reggie Perrin's world was bleak, just wait until you read this.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Electrifying!Aug. 26 2005
- Published on Amazon.com
Graham Marshall is a plodder who has worked his way up the ladder in the place where he works, to be assistant head of his department. Life with his shallow wife, who is becoming more like her ex-celebrity, whining mother, and his two teenaged children with whom he has never bonded, seems to be all that he may expect for the future until that horrifying day that he finds himself passed over at work, in a shake-up of employees. He has overpent on a large, old house in the expectation of a better salary as department head, so that when the job fails to materialise, his pleas that his wife curbs her spending, are totally ignored and drives Graham to a state of pure hatred for her. He now realises that he would be in a much better position financially if he could think of a believable way to kill her and to collect her large insurance policy. He works out an ingenious plan and likes the feeling of power so much that he goes on to plot another murder. It's a fascinating look into the mind of a serial killer and, as the photo on the front cover of the book shows, it was made into a movie starring Michael Caine in the leading role. I can picture, exactly, that cold, dead-pan look he portrays so well and look forward to finding a copy of the movie.