A Weird and Wonderful Tapestry BOOK REVIEW – NEXT of SIN

REVIEW for NEXT OF SIN A Psychological thriller.

I have looked out for Lisa Gordon’s books since I read her debut novel A Sealed Fate because I felt then she had a gift for quirky but credible plots and I wondered how that would develop. Next of Sin is her second offering in a similar genre, which I would place really as a fusion of the crime (serial murder) novel, the thriller / adventure novel with a fair bit of Chick-lit interest also thrown in. Once again she doesn’t disappoint with the quirky plot. It’s another serial murder plot with a twist; there are echoes of Enderby in that it’s not so much a whodunnit as a case of the lead character (Gaby) having the dilemma of how does she expose the murderer to an incredulous world before he gets to her first?

Gaby is a great heroine but there again I like Gordon’s heroines. I loved Valda in her first book and I love Gaby in this one. They are probably chalk and cheese. Valda is the tough cookie with the soft centre and Gaby is soft on the outside but with a quartzite core, which comes out in her determination. She is also very spiritual, which isn’t a surprise with Gordon novels as she likes to introduce an element of astrology or the occult. Gaby would be a candidate for the examination room marked Canonization except you are willing her to go through the door of the next one. This, by the way, is marked Carnalization. She’s a bit of both but shouldn’t all nice girls have that in their locker? You will be only too willing to kneel down to prayers with her, if that’s what she wants, but you can’t but hope that the missionary position will figure somewhere.

It’s a fast-paced symphony: there’s the first movement where it hits you in the solar plexus to start with as the villain gets off on a rampage; and then the slower movement where the author brings you back into the world of weddings and honeymoons and girls with top jobs thinking about their own empowerment and only secondarily about their men. The blokes are certainly not at the centre of their universe; they are satellites there for their interest and sporadic devotion. It is the kind of role-reversal you would expect from a woman writer who knows her own mind and prizes her own individuality above all other things and looks on men in the fond but slightly dismissive way that men have traditionally looked upon women. Then there’s the third movement, an endgame, a race against time, particularly from the moment that the villain begins to understand that Gaby and others are on the case. They are eliminated one by one.

You will know what I mean by quirky when you discover Gaby’s family are actually rooting for the villain. A weird and wonderful tapestry of human emotions, which definitely gets my vote and I can see how her writing has developed too. She has a much more assured touch now as if she has found her voice.
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