2 out of 4 stars
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Consequences: A Jack Turner Novel by Sam Boyd is a psychological thriller told from the perspective of the narrator, Jack, as he looks back on the past and tries to identify the events that led to the horrible, tragic place he now finds himself in. Jack tells of his school days, where he met his best friend, Rupert, and his first love, Anne. At the beginning of their friendship, the three have bright futures ahead of them: Rupert and Jack are heading to universities, and Anne is accepted at an accountancy firm. From there, their stories unfold as the three find themselves back on each other’s radar from time to time. Boyd tackles issues of the heart, social class, self-discovery, betrayal and honor in this thrilling novel.
From the first page, we are introduced to Jack, the narrator of the story. The first glimpse of Jack’s thoughts is foreboding and creates a plethora of questions one only hopes will be answered by the end of Jack’s story. Throughout Jack’s reminiscence, the author injects enough foreshadowing to keep one guessing about the outcomes of the main characters. The relationship between the three friends is reminiscent of those found in psychological thrillers like Tana French’s The Likeness and Donna Tart’s The Secret History. Although things appear normal as the story is told, looming over the seemingly mundane events of their lives is a very dark future.
Although there were many positive aspects of this novel, there were quite a few let downs. Most notably, the dialogue throughout the narrative is dull and unnatural. Even worse, the characters’ voices are not distinguishable from one another. The lack of variation is made more burdensome by the improper use of quotation marks; closing quotation marks are used when dialogue continues for the same speaker in the next paragraph – this made interpreting the speaker confusing at times.
Additionally, the use of foreshadowing works well within the story; however, the final scene the narrator builds up to is predictable. This absence of excitement can be attributed to the lack of tension between the characters and the large jumps in time throughout the story. Generally, the characters seem too accepting of life-altering events, and aspects like social class differences don’t have as big an impact as one would expect. Similarly, the span of time covered in this relatively short novel does not allow for proper development of the main character’s lives in between the initial meeting of the friends and the final, tragic events that occur at the end.
I had high hopes for Consequences given the eerie scene we read about when we are first introduced to Jack. Unfortunately, there were quite a few missed opportunities in this story, leading me to rate it 2 out of 4 stars. The story never reaches the level of psychological thrill like other books in its category, leaving many of the climactic moments feeling rather humdrum. However, I really enjoyed the author’s use of foreshadowing and think there is potential in this book. Fans of psychological thrillers may enjoy reading Consequences.
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