Books: The Face of a Stranger by Anne Perry

I met Ms. Perry at a writing conference where we were both guest authors. Can you imagine? Anyway, she's just lovely, and I felt bad for never having read any of her books; I'd always meant to, but there are so many I didn't know where to start. So I asked her, and she handed me The Face of a Stranger.

I really liked it.

It's the first in the William Monk series of books, and in this story Monk—a police detective in Victorian London—wakes up after a carriage crash and can't remember anything. Like, anything. Not even his own name. And so he must piece together his life while also trying to solve a murder and hide the fact that he kind of doesn't know what he's doing.

The book breaks a lot of rules, at least the rules that are in place for writers now; maybe when Ms. Perry was writing this those rules hadn't been set yet. For one, it begins with the protagonist waking up. Also, amnesia. And the book also jumps from one character's perspective to another, which I think nowadays is called "head hopping." But Perry is far from the only one to do this; I noticed it when re-reading Dune recently, too. So clearly it used to be no big deal.

So I will say I noticed all these "flaws" while reading. (Maybe it says something about the way we pound the "rules" into writers' heads that they can detract from reading a good book.) And there were parts that were a tad repetitive. Monk constantly thinks about who he must be, what kind of man he must have been before the accident, etc. I suppose it's realistic that he would go over the same ground a few times, but that doesn't mean the reader has to.

Still. I really enjoyed the book overall, and I'd pick up the next one.

1 comment:

Sheena-kay Graham said...

Sounds like a nice read. Yes indeed those writing rules can pull you out of a book sometimes.