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Sunday, October 14, 2018

What Came Before He Shot Her by Elizabeth George

Certainly not my favorite George mystery novel, in fact if this is her  new adjusted genre/style, although it was published in 2006 and was on my shelf,  I will not be reading any more by this author.  I slogged all through the 548 pages, and actually read another book along with this as  I found this very tiresome reading.  What did I dislike, many things, beginning with the ghetto dialect of the characters, the plot, the drama.  It is not at all up to her writing which I usually enjoy.  It does tie back to Inspector Lynley but not until the end of the tale.  Meantime this drama about the other side, the seedy part of London, North Kensington, inhabited by immigrants,  other races, mixed races , infested with crime, drugs, etc.  It centers on the three mixed race orphaned Campbell children, Ness a troubled adolescent girl, as the story  nears completion we learn she has been abused sexually from a very young age by the step grandfather and his cronies.  Tess is troubled, promiscuous and falls easily into bad company until placed on probation and put to work for an immigrant Majidah who successfully delivers tough love.  The brothers, Joel, the 11 year old who is central character and ongoing  caretaker for Toby the youngest brother about 6,  who has mental disorders and challenges, autism or who knows what.  Their maternal  grandmother , Glory, who had been caring for them sort of ,as their mother is institutionalized, abandons them to their aunt Kendra,  to go to  Jamaica with her ne'er do well husband, not their grandfather. Abandons them on Kendra's door steps without warning nor notifying to Kendra who has her own struggles but is trying to pull a life together for herself while managing a thrift store for a non profit charity and attempting to establish herself as a personal masseuse. Lots of trials and life dramas consume the story and pages.   

The ghetto  type dialect, that pervades, "i'n't it',  meaning isn't it, and 'summick' meaning something takes  real getting used to and does not enhance the story.  

George can pull descriptives together and does so through out this novel although I was so annoyed with the  story itself that I did not appreciate the  writing.  As on pg 48, " of those moments in which things get glossed over, things get addressed or things get altogether ignored."     Or page 380 about anxiety and its effect, "..Anxiety prevents you from working, but the only way to relieve the anxiety is by doing what it prevents you from doing: working........Others avoid, seeking  an external relief for the anxiety, which tempers it only moderately....."
Back flap
Front flap
As the book ends, Joel has become affiliated with a drug dealer, seeking help he cannot  get elsewhere or so he perceives.  He  is accused of shooting a woman, and  taken into custody.  The woman is a cop's wife,  we learn that is Inspector Thomas  Lyneley's wife and that is the only link this tiresome novel has to the other  interesting works of the author. 

I give this a meager 2 stars, I should not have bothered to read the entire novel but I did.  

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