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Tag: David Bell

The Request by David Bell

Life is funny sometimes.  This is what I wrote almost exactly a year ago:

I will admit to being a fickle reader these days. My life has been rather crazy at the last four months or so, more anon on that perhaps, and so my mood seems to change regularly. Sometimes I am reading serious nonfiction, sometimes literary fiction but at other times what I really need is something to entertain and distract me from the chaos seemingly surrounding me. The search for intelligent books that still manage to do this, is always going on.

To say the last four months has been crazy is something of an understatement. What with my basement flooding the first day I started working from home due to a global pandemic which meant my kids engaging in digital learning at home with nearly half the house unusable and my daughter sleeping in the living room.  Somehow 2020 topped 2019.

Which brings us to David Bell for some reason.  The quote above comes from my review of Layover.  Coincidentally, I also read a David Bell book in June this year, this time The Request:

The Request Book Cover
The Request Thriller Berkley Books Kindle 416 NetGalley

Ryan Francis has it all–great job, wonderful wife, beautiful child–and he loves posting photos of his perfect life on social media. Until the night his friend Blake asks him to break into a woman’s home to retrieve incriminating items that implicate Blake in an affair. Ryan refuses to help, but when Blake threatens to reveal Ryan’s darkest secret–which could jeopardize everything in Ryan’s life–Ryan has no choice but to honor Blake’s request.

When he arrives at the woman’s home, Ryan is shocked to find her dead–and just as shocked to realize he knows her. Then his phone chimes, revealing a Facebook friend request from the woman. With police sirens rapidly approaching, Ryan flees, wondering why his friend was setting him up for murder.

Determined to keep his life intact and to clear his name, Ryan must find the real murderer–but solving the crime may lead him closer to home than he ever could have imagined.

This is basically a fast paced summer/beach read which is perfect for when you are seeking entertainment and distraction rather than art/deep thought. As is often the case with these sort of novels, you have to kind of suspend belief a bit as the characters are not always fully developed, believable or likable.  But it has a fast pace and a good sense of suspense which is also what you are looking for when you just want an escapists type read.

As with The Layover, the hook (in this case, “sorta estranged college best friend asks for a favor which opens Pandora’s box of secrets and problems”) is what gets you interested and the pacing keeps you reading even as you start to think that most of the characters are annoying and/or stupid.

Much to my chagrin, last year I said “Layover served its purpose in giving me an entertaining distraction but it wasn’t good enough to make me want to seek out more of David Bell’s writing.” So what did I do when offered a review copy? Decided to read more David Bell.

Layover by David Bell

I will admit to being a fickle reader these days. My life has been rather crazy at the last four months or so, more anon on that perhaps, and so my mood seems to change regularly. Sometimes I am reading serious nonfiction, sometimes literary fiction but at other times what I really need is something to entertain and distract me from the chaos seemingly surrounding me. The search for intelligent books that still manage to do this, is always going on.

It was this search which led me to Layover by David Bell. I have not read any of his previous works, but I was intrigued by the hook for Layover when I got an email from a publicist about a blog tour. What hook, you ask? Essentially, constantly traveling businessman meets beautiful stranger in an airport and decides his life is not what he wants it to be and so reckless chases after her. Trouble follows. No seriously, he ends up in a hospital trying to put his scrambled memory back together. The rest of the book is his confession of what happened.

I will confess this is not the type of thriller I typically read. If I read thrillers it is usually the espionage or international intrigue type. And Layover got off to a slow start. But once I got into I actually stayed up into the wee hours of the morning to finish it.

There are two issues/problems as I see it. One is plausibility. Many readers might question whether the seemingly sane lead character, Joshua Fields, would really make the type of asinine decisions he does. And the second, is that the secondary character, Kimberly Givens, is given a lot of time when it didn’t seem to add a great deal to the story. She is a divorced single-mom trying to win a promotion, etc. But how exactly her personal life adds to the overall story I am not sure. Her detective work didn’t really add an element of suspense it just was a vehicle to add details to the plot from a perspective other than Josh’s.

Layover served its purpose in giving me an entertaining distraction but it wasn’t good enough to make me what to seek out more of David Bell’s writing. As always, your mileage may vary depending on how much you enjoy this genre, style, etc.

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