Friday, 13 December 2013

The View from the Tower by Charles Lambert

In Rome 2004, politician’s wife Helen is at her hotel with her lover. Less than a mile away, her husband is assassinated. Helen suddenly finds herself in a convoluted web of police investigations and public spotlight after the high profile murder.

Her lover, who was also her husband’s best friend, finds his dark past catching up with him, and Helen feels pressure from her in-laws throughout the media frenzy. 

As she begins to uncover more about her husband’s death, she thinks back on her own history and the people and politics she used to be involved. She finds she discovers more about her marriage after her husband’s death than she ever could have realized when he was still alive. 

The story starts quite boldly; Helen meets her estranged lover and the murder of her husband happen at the beginning. After that, the story slows down, with lots of flashbacks and plenty of details as the character’s secrets and pasts are unraveled. I found that the slow pace actually suited the story. I would have liked a few more shocks, but as it is, it’s still an engaging novel. 

The descriptions of Italy make a picturesque backdrop against the chaos of the politics and civil unrest of the time. The events surrounding Italy at this time were completely new to me, I’m not a huge fan of politics, but told through Helen’s eyes as an Italian citizen and with interactions with local characters; I found that element quite interesting. 

This book is very character led. As well as Helen and her lover, there are other characters involved, even minor ones who have their own back stories that link in with the main plot line, which kept things interesting. There is just the right amount of drama to keep the edge up. It’s full of betrayal and secrets which make for a gripping story. Slow burning, yet detailed, The View from the Tower is a sophisticated tale for crime fiction readers.

Published in the US/Canada/Ebook: 31st Dec 2013 - UK + RoW: 2nd Jan 2014

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