Reviewer Lois C. Henderson: Lois is a freelance academic editor and back-of-book indexer, who spends most of her free time compiling word search puzzles for tourism and educative purposes. Her puzzles are available HERE and HERE Her Twitter account (@LoisCHenderson) mainly focusses on the toponymy of British place names. Please feel welcome to contact her with any feedback at LoisCourtenayHenderson@gmail.com.
Author: Hayes, Joseph
Publisher: Synergy Books
What happens when the two
worlds of law enforcement and politics collide? Naturally, a messy
business, just as messy as the scenario that forms the opening scenes
of When No One Is Watching. Two friends drive home together high on
life, the one joy-riding his friend’s Porsche, the other passed out
cold in the passenger’s seat. When a crash occurs and another man
is killed, guess who is made to take the blame? Naturally, the
latter, who remembers blow all about the incident, apart from having
to come to his senses and face the consequences. In a matter of
minutes, isn’t it just plain ironical how one of your closest
buddies can turn into one of your worst nightmares?
When No One Is Watching might appear at first to be a straightforward detective story, but, in fact, has far deeper and more lasting implications. The dramatic irony of the plot, in terms of which we, as readers, know who, in fact, has perpetrated the crime, means that we can view the police investigation of the crime from an omniscient standpoint. The focus, accordingly, is on the interplay between the different characters involved and on the multidimensionality of their psyches rather than on the unraveling of the plot as such. Not that the book is not exciting—it most definitely is, and deeply intriguing, too. The pace of the writing is fluid and fast, engaging the reader from start to finish. The work is also so well written that one can read it in a single sitting—many readers will no doubt feel like sitting up all night reading the novel, so take care when you choose to read it (a weekend would be the best!).
All of the characters, including a child who suffers from Down’s Syndrome, are portrayed with empathy and understanding. The compelling tale of how political aspirations can lead to the betrayal of close friendships leads one to question the nature of crime and morality, so that one is left long afterwards thinking about different aspects of the book. When No One Is Watching should also lead one to consider the phenomenon of drunk driving and the impact that it can have on others, especially on innocent bystanders. The novel works on so many levels that all I can say is—read it, you most definitely won’t be wasting your time!
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