3 out of 4 stars
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Departure by Ines Galiano is a book in the crime thriller genre. It is translated in English by Rachel Christina Hopkinson.
Alba Torres lived an ordinary life just like everyone else. She worked as a translator in a publishing house, translating novels from English and occasionally French, to Spanish. Life couldn't get any easier for her, since she loved reading and her work provided her a decent income for exactly that reason. Until one day, she ends up translating something that gets her into trouble. Alba accidentally ends up translating the wrong novel, which no one was supposed to see. There’s a secret hidden in the pages of that novel, which Alba doesn't know about, but it sends the wrong people chasing after her all the same. Her long-lost classmate, Jake, re-appears suddenly and saves her from this dangerous gang. Thus, begins the chase to find Alba and eliminate her. Will Alba find out the secret in that novel before it’s too late?
The author’s writing style is pretty straightforward and easy-to-understand. The story is written in first person, from Alba’s point of view. It is written in flashback, and completes a full circle starting and ending with Alba recounting how she ends up in her present state. In my opinion, there’s always a small chance that a text will lose some of its potency when it’s translated into a different language. I assume the same happened to this text when it was translated to English, from Spanish. This is not due to the fault of the translator but a general phenomenon with translated versions. As it is, I felt that though the story is engaging, the excitement quota is pretty low. There are some scenes which play out like a scene from a movie, such as, when Alba notices that she’s being followed or when she and Jake escape from her apartment.
Coming to the plot, I won't say that it’s something totally out-of-the box. However, the author takes a tried-and-tested plot and recycles it with some refreshing twists. The plot twists succeed in holding the reader’s interest because the story is a short read and the author keeps to the storyline, without cluttering the story with excessive details. Since the story is in first person, Alba’s emotions like her fear, confusion, distrust, and uncertainty about her future, are portrayed very well. Alba’s helplessness highlights the dark tone of the novel.
I would recommend this novel for readers who like short, fast-paced crime thrillers. I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars.
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