Sunday, February 6, 2011

Sleeping Cruelty

Book Review: Looking for some quick wins in the reading world, I picked this up from a girlfriends shelf - she's got 3 full shelves of female authors of crime fiction... always a good stop over. I've been away in Hobart this week for work, and it's always good to have a book that you know you will enjoy - nothing worse than carrying a book you don't want to read. Anyway, Sleeping Cruelty was just what I was after.

Lynda La Plante is well known for her crime novels and TV shows - most famously, Prime Suspect. She typically tells the story of a strong female character, usually a detective or police office, and intertwines the themes of gender discrimination & disadvantage, work place politics, and links the story with some element of current affairs or reality.

This story however, appears to have taken a different twist. Her lead character is a typical wealthy tycoon who decides to take revenge on the media who tried to bring him undone, associating him with the death of a well known gay politician who committed suicide as a result of lost love.

Sir William Benedict is enjoying all the glittering prizes that his wealth and position have granted him. Relishing his reputation as a self-made man (with his own island in the Caribbean), he is particularly keen that his political protégé Andrew Maynard should succeed, and he has been bankrolling Maynard's campaign heavily. But Maynard, who was gay, commits suicide, and Benedict soon finds his reputation falling apart as swiftly as his ordered world......

In such books as The Legacy, Bella Mafia and Cold Blood, La Plante demonstrated a sure grasp in her delineation of larger-than-life characters. But she has replaced her powerful female protagonists with a richly drawn anti-hero in Benedict. The details of his lifestyle and the cold-blooded betrayals by his nearest and dearest are handled in the usual confident fashion, but it's the characterisation of Benedict that really grips the attention. Initial fears that that he may be a broadly-drawn, one-dimensional creation are quickly allayed, and the reader is cast adrift when La Plante pulls off her principal coup: thoroughly involving us in Benedict's highly dubious activities. --Barry Forshaw..... [good read review]

I really enjoyed this - But a word of warning - when I found myself sitting between a 12 year old boy and my 59 yr conservative male colleague on a plane - I realised this novel contains some sexually explicit material. Of course I didn't mind that, but I was nervous about my travel companions eyes wandering..

1 comment:

Jeanie said...

Sounds like my kind of book -- I enjoy Lynda LaPlante's other work!