Tuesday 21 November 2017

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Review: Blackbird by N. D. Gomes

Blackbird by N. D. GomesNetGalleyBlackbird by N. D. Gomes (eProof) - Olivia disappeared the night the blackbird died.

It was New Years Eve the night that dead blackbirds descended, hours before fifteen year old Alex McCarthy’s sister Olivia went missing from a party.

Committed to finding out what happened to her sister, within the previously safe walls of their subarctic Orkney village, Alex knows that dishevelled, sometimes intoxicated Detective Inspector Birkens is her best shot.

Yet as they uncover the secrets behind Olivia’s last night, Alex starts to find things she may be better off never knowing...
From NetGalley.

Blackbird by N. D. Gomes sounded so interesting, and I've been in a bit of a mystery phase lately, so I was so eager to read it. However, I'm sorry to say it was a huge disappointment.

Blackbird is billed as a murder mystery, and that's true in the fact that Alex's sister Olivia is murdered, and no-one knows who did it. But when it comes to genre, this book is not a mystery. There are no twists and turns. There aren't lots of suspects and numerous theories and there is no second guessing. This book is mainly about how Alex is dealing with her grief that not only is her older sister, who she idolised, dead, but that she was murdered. There is the possibility I may have enjoyed Blackbird more had it not been billed as a murder mystery. But probably not, because Blackbird is very, very slow.

For most of the book, Alex is obsessively harassing Detective Inspector Birkens, who has the patience of a saint. The police need to get on with their job and try to find out who killed Olivia, but she turns up either at the police station or at Birkens house almost every day. I get that she feels like she needs to do something, that she can't just sit around waiting, but at the same time, she's probably holding things up. And nothing really happens. Oh, she manages to get some information here and there that is helpful to the police, but nothing that leads to major strides in the investigation. It's just slow and samey for most of the book.

And the killer was predictable. The one person - the only person - who says something a little suspicious is the one who did it. Sure, what they said could have been innocent enough, but when you know there is a killer on the loose, as a reader, you notice these things. And it was just so predictable.The police had no suspects. There wasn't anybody else who was behaving strangely, or saying weird things. Of course it was them. There was no shock whatsoever. And really, because Blackbird is so samey, I didn't really warm to Alex much. So when she found herself in danger, after working out who it was, I didn't really care. And even if I did, those moments when things are dangerous only lasts a short while, and then it's over.

Plus there are the blackbirds. The blackbirds that died, that have absolutely nothing to do with the story whatsoever. The story is set in Orkney, the blackbirds died in America. There is no link, it's just something that happened. Something that is unimportant, and has no real explanation either. And it's used as a strapline. Here's me thinking that maybe there's going to be a supernatural element to the story. Nope. The blackbirds have no part in this book. The only reason I can think that the book is called Blackbird is because of the coincidence of the birds dying when Olivia disappeared, and because Olivia wanted to escape Orkney - she felt trapped on the island, and wanted to free, like a bird. But that is it. The birds don't mean anything.

This book was such a huge disappointment. No mystery, and very, very slow.

Thank you to HQ Young Adult via NetGalley for the eProof.

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Published: 16th November 2017
Publisher: HQ Young Adult
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