4 out of 4 stars
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Detectives Nick and Tobe are looking for James Chen. He and his family were held at gunpoint inside their home, by what was the biggest gang in Lawrence, New Zealand. That was until an explosion came from inside the house. The gang members were dead. Somehow James' wife and their two children survived. But James himself just disappeared from inside his house. By the time the police entered the building, James was gone. He had been taken hostage by a surviving gang member. They are somewhere out in the wild. How did they escape when the house was completely surrounded by the police? There's also a snow storm coming. Will they get to James in time before he's murdered, or before he dies from exposure?
This novel is a crime, thriller and mystery. It explores themes of drug use, gangs and violence. It also addresses themes on morality and the blurry line that can exist between right and wrong. Nick discovers just how far some people will go to achieve 'an eye for an eye'. In the end, will good triumph evil? And what defines good or evil?
The book takes a few different perspectives according to the chapter title. For example, the chapter titles tend to alternate between 'Tobe and Nick', 'The Two Men in the Dark' and 'The Storm'. So the reader gets to see snippets from the hostage's point of view which helps to build tension. I love being wrong about my predictions when it comes to crime solving and mystery novels. I like to think I'm right, then have my theory turned upside down. Otherwise, the novel seems too predictable and boring. This was the case with The Easter Make Believers, by Finn Bell. After reading the first third of the book, I had a good idea of what was going to happen. Then by the end, when I realised I was completely wrong, I was pleasantly surprised. I think that those who love a good plot twist will revel in reading this, just as I did. I was left questioning what I would do in Nick's situation. I definitely questioned my own morals while reading this book.
The only part I disliked about the book is that I did not understand Sylvie's connection to the gang or the hostage situation (I cannot elaborate more without giving away spoilers). I think this aspect of the plot was not explained enough. However, this was only a minor detail of the book. Readers should be warned that there is some mild swearing, but it was used intentionally and was not excessive. Also, potential readers should not be put off from the slightly strange title; it all makes sense in the end!
I loved reading this from start to finish. The characters were believable and the plot was gripping. Therefore, I happily rate The Easter Make Believers by Finn Bell, 4 out of 4 stars. There were only a few minor typos, so I could not justify knocking off a star. I enjoyed reading this too much not to give it full marks and I look forward to reading more of Bell's books.
The Easter Make Believers
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