This crime thriller is entertaining and engrossing right from the off, at least in the first half – midway it appears to change genre and audience entirely. What began as a clever young-adult mystery, with all the usual character and plot cliches, develops in the final third, into pure, glossy pulp-fiction thriller, with all the far-fetched character development and Hollywood gloss. It initially strikes as YA for the main reason that most of the lead characters do seem to be the teen contingency, and the adults in the story are typically inept and naive. As the appealing premise (that of a family drawn into a dark mystery following their huge lottery win) starts to shape up though, Hitomi infuses a real sense of menace into the tale, which soon reveals itself as something much darker – crime fiction for an adult audience.
The author is vivid and descriptive, and there is something very satisfying about her nice, thick style of plotline. The chapters are short and punchy, which is very welcome, making the time fly, and this book incredibly easy to read – this genuinely thrilling thriller is very well-timed. However, I can’t help feeling that this book does need a fair amount of work to be the finished product. While Tomi is clearly a technically experienced professional author, with a good research ethic, I can’t help thinking that her writing is a touch basic, and a good deal of editing is required. The punctuation is not refined at all, and definitely needs a polish. Some of the penmanship does seem a touch immature; her style of continuous metaphors and descriptive examples for comparison do become irritating, and at times seem a bit of a lazy option. Much of the over-emphasis for impact is not necessary, and the book would probably be improved without it.
Still, Tomi is a good storyteller, who knows how to create suspense, and, as gripping thrillers go, there is universal appeal in her writing.
In : Book Reviews