Saturday, August 24, 2013

Review: The Vault

The Vault
The Vault by Huw Thomas

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Suspense
Reading Level: Adult
Recommended for: People who like an intricate tale
Trigger Warnings: murder, bullying, pedophile
Non-PCness: n-word, gay-bashing, children calling Vietnamese girl “Chinky”

My Thoughts: This book was chosen as my random read in mid-July. I also discovered that a portion of proceeds from this book go to Shelterbox. You can read more about this by following this link.

This is a very strange book. There are at least three stories going on. I can't decided if it's Middle Grade (since one of the stories features MG characters) or adult. To me the MG story seems to be the “main” story, but with so many branches... this one is hard to rate. I've gone with adult, since the overall feel of the story is not necessarily one for younger readers.

Here's the thing: this book throws out a lot of red herrings. It's really difficult to tell which branch of the story is taking place when, and that is part of the suspense. Part of the story is told in present tense, the rest in a more normal past tense. And while all the bits eventually line up, it takes a bit of patience, right up through the very end of the book, to line up all the plot threads. But really, it's all good, because despite a number of editing errors, this is a very well-told story, very engaging, and one I would definitely enjoy reading again, now that I know all the answers. I would like to see if I catch any subtle hints I might have missed the first time around.

As far as the characters, I quite liked most of them. Even the bullies were well-done. I particularly liked Adam's uncle, Stevie, who is a biker. He's a super cool character, and I would love to learn more about him. Adam and his friends seem a bit older than 12 to me, but then again, the UK educational system is much better than the one here in the US, so it might be partly due to that. Oh, I should also mention that this is written in British English, for those I know who are distracted by the differences in spelling and sentence structure. Be aware of that.

All in all, a very enjoyable story, very suspenseful, and very mysterious. If you like solving puzzles, be sure to check this one out. It's a corker!

Disclosure: I picked up this book free on Amazon. As far as I'm aware, I've never interacted with this author. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: Adam Strong has two main problems in life: how to keep the gang from the local council estate out of the woods where he has his den and how to get the new girl at school to notice that he exists.

But the ancient woods next to Compton Fosse contain more dangers than just the risk of a beating from the town’s teenage psycho.

Hidden in Hobthrush Wood is the key to a mystery that weaves four disparate stories into a single web.

* The mansion: A gang of professional robbers mount a night raid on the secluded country home of a reclusive billionaire.

* The dead: Three decaying bodies, wrapped in plastic and chains, are found lying at the bottom of an ornamental lake.

* The convict: A sex offender is released from prison but breaks his parole and goes on the run after giving into temptation once again.

* The friends: Two boys stumble across an eerie secret…

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