4 out of 4 stars
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Like many businesses in the UK, ExTrail Riding Centre was reeling from the effects of the COVID lockdown. Then, three days after reopening, it got robbed. The criminals made away with fifteen of the leisure bike riding business's prized bikes. The owner, Simon, contacted the police, but their investigation wasn't yielding encouraging results, and his insurance company was finding creative ways to wriggle itself out of paying his insurance claims. Watching the business he had given his all failing before his eyes was more than he could bear, so he took matters into his own hands.
What pulled me into Rat Trap is its ordinariness. It's a story about ordinary people living ordinary lives and recovering from the pandemic like everyone else until an incident changed the course of their lives. From Georgia's complaints about her incessant Zoom meetings to the effect of the lockdown on Simon's business, the book has so many relatable elements that made me feel right at home within its pages.
The author told the story from Simon and Georgia's perspectives. I enjoyed getting into both characters' heads and understanding their disparate worldviews. One of the fun aspects of the narrative style is seeing how differently men and women interpret scenarios. For example, I found it amusing that Georgia thought Simon was visiting other towns for covert dalliances while his business was literally tanking. Another feature that I loved was the change in Georgia's calm and collected personality. It made the book that much more suspenseful and entertaining.
The only aspect of the book I didn't like was the tone used when Georgia narrated her experience with Boyle to Simon. I expected it to read like a person telling another person a story. Instead, it seemed like she was talking to the reader and not the person sitting next to her.
I wouldn't call the book a light read because it has some gore, not much, but enough to repulse squeamish readers. That being said, it's a good exposition of the human psyche and how far people can go when pushed to the wall.
Overall, it's a solid crime thriller with a great premise and excellent execution. For a first-time author, James Rutter did exceedingly well. Though I found some typos in it, the editing has an expert touch. Considering all these factors, I rate the book 4 out of 4 stars. Readers that enjoy crime thrillers will find the book a worthwhile read. However, prospective readers should beware that the book contains profanities and details of sexual abuse.
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