Safe House by Chris Ewan

A review of the crime thriller novel Safe House by Chris Ewan.

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Safe House is the first stand-alone thriller by Chris Ewan. The story centres on Rob Hale, a heating engineer, who sometimes races motorbikes. Rob wakes up in hospital after a motorcycle crash. The companion who, he says, was travelling on the back of the bike is missing. The reader then discovers more about the mystery woman (where they met, the circumstances that led to the bike ride etc.). On his search for Lena, the woman he was travelling with, Rob is joined by a private investigator, Rebecca Lewis. The reader also learns that Rebecca is looking into her sister’s death. The rest of the book follows their investigation into both mysteries.

Although this sounded like a good idea for a plot, albeit one used countless times before, it wasn’t! A boring start leads onto a tedious middle and an unreadable finish, well I didn’t finish it and I’ve read Zoo by James Patterson.

I failed to care about the one dimensional characters and certainly wasn’t bothered what had happened to the missing people. There is just too much emphasis on unimportant details, for example:

A closed wooden gate blocked the entrance to the woods, beside a sign that read Arrasey Plantation. The gate was secured with a rusted metal chain and a shiny combination lock. The locked gate didn’t strike me as unusual.

Detail is good but the gate is not nearly as mysterious as it sounds (he has the combination). The following paragraph is all about him getting out of his van and unlocking the gate. The author seems to be focusing on the wrong aspect of the story: surely the events at the plantation are more important than the gate. So much of the text feels like padding.

The only thing I really liked was the dog, Rocky, a golden retriever, but even he wasn’t enough in the end. If you want to read this book then go for it, but, remember, I warned you.

Cassidy grew up in Thanet and lives here with her family.

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