4 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
The Easter Make Believers by Finn Bell is an exciting, plot and character driven crime adventure and thriller which begins with a tense police showdown and a hostage situation which all goes wrong, at a family home in a small, sleepy, unsuspecting town. The setting of Southern New Zealand might appear to be an unusual one for a crime novel, but those familiar with the author's previous work will recognise his usage of local place names, descriptions and gang history, as well as the trope of having a younger detective teamed up with an older, more experienced one. He makes it work, and the locations seem to make the whole thing more intriguing and cinematic at times.
Told mostly from the point of view of Nick, in the first person, we follow his story along with his partner Tobe, dragged dramatically along with him as they become further embroiled in the grisly world of gang crime. The two cops have been partners together for a number of years now, and have a close working relationship, as well as a friendship outside the force too. We catch a glimpse into their private lives in between all the action, in order to build up character and empathy. It's the banter and conversation between these two central characters which really adds to the believability and enjoyable nature of the story. Overall, the writing is fast paced with a focus on dialogue and action. Descriptions are kept to a minimum and only used when necessary, which keeps the story fresh and exciting, and character driven.
The pace is kept high throughout as the POV switches between the two cops and the ongoing investigation to the "two men in the dark" - one a gangster capable of murder and the other his kidnapped victim, told from perspective, fearful for his life at every moment as they make their way through an underground passageway. Flipping back and forth between these two interweaving stories helps to build the tension to a climax as the story progresses, with the reader becoming anxious for the kidnapped man's safety and even more eager for the cops to make progress. There are even a few chapters entitled "The Storm", which further add to a sense of impending doom gradually increasing throughout the story, as you read about a terrible, icy snow storm gathering in the mountains about to break and reign down nature's hell upon all the characters involved - some of which are out trapped in the elements unable to get to safety.
Initially, not all of the writing seems to be at a top standard. There are a few little chunks of handy random characters who appear to just pop up out of nowhere for some exposition, providing Nick and Tobe with either useful or interesting but useless information. However, Bell showcases his ability as an author by using these pieces of information later on in the story, and managing to weave them in, proving they aren't just random after all. I would advise the reader to pay attention to every small conversation and passage of text - as everything has a relevance and importance, all topped off with an incredible twist in the final few chapter which you most definitely won't see coming!
The criminal and human psychology explored in the book, and the interesting questions the various passages of in depth analysis and discussion raise, are fascinating, and will stay with you long after you've finished reading. You may even find yourself putting the book down a moment to ponder on the questions asked before continuing reading. There's much to think about, and more to the novel than just a simple mystery - it actually pushes you to ask questions of yourself, and of society in general.
In conclusion, I rate The Easter Make Believers an astounding 4 out of 4. I read the whole book very thoroughly and only noticed one small grammatical error, and overall, the novel is thrilling, easy to read and one of those you won't be able to put down once you start. I read the entire thing within the space of around 3 days. Highly recommended if you enjoy a good page turning thriller!
The Easter Make Believers
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon
Like becsimpson's review? Post a comment saying so!