22 March 2010

Review: THE DEVIL'S FEATHER, Minette Walters

My contribution this week to the is a book that I read some time ago but have never reviewed on this blog.

Published in 2005.

When five women are brutally murdered in Sierra Leone, Reuters journalist Connie Burns comes to believe that the culprit is a foreigner whom she recognises: someone she met, under a different name, in Kinshasa.

Two years later she recognises the same man in Iraq, again living under a different name. Voicing her suspicions to colleagues results in Connie being kidnapped for 3 days.
When she is released apparently unharmed, she refuses to speak about her ordeal and returns to England. The reader is never told explicitly what happened to her but we are left to deduce it from snippets. Seemingly small things now leave Connie subject to panic attacks.  She lives as a recluse in Devon but decides to keep investigating the man, and he comes after her.

I found this a difficult read. The story is told through emails and accounts given to others in interviews. As the reader I never felt included in direct disclosures and the events were never really narrated for my benefit.  There are two major stories intertwined and by the end I was impatient for it to finish. I felt as my brain had been exercised enough.

[ the "devil's feather" is a woman who stirs a man's interest without realizing it; the unwitting cause of sexual arousal. Connie's captor calls her 'feather'. Connie decides to use this to lure him to England and eliminate him. This puts all her friends and family in danger]

My rating was 4.4

Other books by Minette Walters
The Ice House (1991)
The Sculptress (1993)
The Scold's Bridle (1994)
The Dark Room (1995)
The Echo (1997)
The Breaker (1998)
Acid Row (2001)
The Shape of Snakes (2001)
Fox Evil (2002)
Disordered Minds (2003)
The Devil's Feather (2005)
The Chameleon's Shadow (2007)


Anonymous said...

Kerrie - Thanks for this review. I've liked the Walters I have read, but I haven't read this one. I know what you mean about wanting narration; I like to feel directly addressd, too. I like Walters, but I might wait on this one...

BooksPlease said...

I've read other books where emails are used and I've found them difficult to read. Odd, really because I have no difficulty with novels written in the form of letters.

Kerrie said...

Reginald Hill used emails in A CURE FOR ALL DISEASES doesn't he?
So does Aravind Atiga in THE WHITE TIGER.

Bernadette said...

I must admit I have never warmed to Minette Walters, I've tried several of her books but never really found them to my liking though I can't think of a single reason right at this minute.

Deb said...

Minette Walters is hit-or-miss for me. Some of her books I've found fascinating and hard-to-put-down (THE SCULPTRESS comes to mind), but others--like this one--left me cold. I especially didn't like the email format--that just sunk it for me.

Speaking of which, I was very disappointed with Reginald Hill's THE PRICE OF BUTCHER'S MEAT which used the same narrative device of emails (with misspellings and grammatical errors included). Hill is one of my favorite writers and Dalziel & Pascoe are two of my favorite fictional detectives, but I couldn't make it through the book. Nothing had happened by page 150--just long exposition via emails (and Dalziel's voice recordings)--and I just had to give up.

gautami tripathy said...

I like the cover!

Crime Fiction Alphabet: W

Dorte H said...

Like Deb, I have been really impressed by some of Minette Walters´ books while others, e.g. The Devil´s Feather, did not really appeal to me. The Ice House is still my favourite.


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