Sunday, 9 February 2014

Book Review: The Cry of the Loon - Christopher Morris

Synopsis - Jack Clark is a man who needs a break.  A failed relationship and mounting pressure at work in his TV production job means he needs to get away.

Escaping to a cabin in the woods near Manitoulin, a small Laurentian town north of Montreal.  Jack hopes to find peace and maybe a new start.

What he finds is a small town gripped with rumour, murder and child abduction.  Unfortunately for him, he is drawn to the centre of the case by Annie Hoffman and the loon Jack rescues from a cold northern lake.

Review -  I was asked to review this book by the author Christopher Morris.

Christopher Morris is a former drama teacher and actor who has been writing poems, plays and songs for several years.  He has written six plays for teenagers and a monologue for a single actor. The Cry of the Loon is his first novel and he is currently working on his next book Embers.

I enjoyed this novel but had to work a little to get into the book.  Great scene setting and well rounded characters but what I found difficult was that we seemed to jump from character to character, particularly in the first half of the book.  I think this was mainly to do with the formatting as much as anything.  There are twenty one chapters, although a well packed book it is not difficult to get through.  The paragraphs are more widely spaced than usual.  I would have liked a marker, for example a line to indicate that there was a scene change but there was nothing different to show this.  Therefore I would be reading about Jack Clarke in one paragraph and then find in the next I had moved onto something completely different.  I had to be completely on the ball to keep up, having been caught out a couple of times and having to re-read a page or so back to understand what was going on.  In some ways these sudden scene changes felt better suited to screen play writing and I think the story could easily be adapted to a play or film.

I loved the bleak setting of the cabin, the feel of the cold winter and the remoteness of the small town Manitoulin with its small minded inhabitants.  I liked the characterisations, the way Jack was described and the reader could understand his loneliness and need for change.  Both the good and the not so nice characters were all believable.  Apart from the odd typographical error and the unusual formatting, I did enjoy this book.  A very good début novel.  4*

Published by
ISBN 9781460913581
Kindle edition: ASIN: B007LNURKM

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