Review: The Way You Look Tonight by Richard Madeley (5/5)

Thursday, 31 July 2014
Not until she was 16 did Stella Arnold learn the full truth about her father, how handsome, charming James turned out to be a cold-blooded extortionist, racketeer - and killer. Knowing now what he was capable of, already fascinated by the dark backwaters of the human psyche, Stella pursues a degree in psychology. A doctorate in a top American university beckons, the chance to delve further into the mind of a psychopath. And to ascertain if such tendencies can be inherited...

In the late summer of 1962 Stella is on a plane to Boston. Bright, beautiful and fashionably English, she dazzles everyone she meets. Invited to Martha's Vineyard, to a barbeque in the company of JFK and Jackie Kennedy no less, she holds her own easily in the impossibly glamorous setting. But far away, on the sweltering Florida Keys, a scene of terror is unfolding - and Stella is drawn to investigate a murderer even more ruthless than her own father...

From the author of the bestselling Some Day I'll Find You comes an utterly mesmerizing story of deadly obsession, taking us deep into the mind of a killer and of the young woman sent by the White House to help track him down...

The Richard and Judy Book Club is one of my favourites as the pair are massive book lovers so you know the books they have chosen are going to be worth your time. Can they write a book however? Well after finishing this one it is safe to say that Richard definitely can. This is one of the most enjoyable books I've read over the past few weeks and one that I'll definitely be recommending to anybody who will listen.

From the cover I'm wondering how many people will misinterpret just what this book is about. In a supermarket especially you are drawn to a book by its cover, so someone looking for a particularly gruesome crime story with a fantastic cast of characters and a thrilling and gripping plot might just pass this one by. Because you certainly get all that and more with this book.

There is a fantastic sense of place with this book, I could imagine the scenes described by Richard so vividly in my mind that it was like I was there myself rather than reading words on a page. Our main character is Stella Arnold who even from the opening pages came across as a very likeable character. A young girl off on an adventure we immediately share in both her excitement and apprehension at what is to come. Off to America to study Psychology at a prestigious university she has no idea of what awaits her. On the plane however she reads a letter from her host family who happen to be friends with the two most powerful men on the planet: the Kennedy brothers, inviting her to a party that they are hosting.

I've not read all that much fiction which features real people but found that the inclusion of the Kennedy family was brilliant. I just loved the scenes featuring them and love that Richard included some light hearted humour and a little bit of banter between the brothers. Whilst at the party Stella is recruited by the brothers to assist the FBI with an investigation they want solved and shut down immediately, a brutal serial killer is murdering beautiful young women down in Florida and it is believed that Stella's expertise could come in handy. The nervous girl on the plane immediately transforms into an intelligent and highly confident character. Studying Psychopathy it becomes apparent what her reasons for doing so are as we discover more about her past.

We have chapters featuring the serial killer allowing us to get inside his head and see what makes him tick. Definitely a warped and deranged individual these chapters were particularly... is exciting the wrong word? It was certainly a gripping read and I couldn't get enough of it. With an interest in Psychology myself and as a crime fiction addict I very much enjoyed that aspect of the story, Richard has clearly carried out some excellent research to produce this book. This is a very authentic read and Richard has captured the time period perfectly. I'm classing this as crime fiction but really it is so much more than that, there is a romantic storyline but nothing overly lovey dovey that takes away from the brutal and hard hitting story of the murders.

With a plot that keeps you glued to the book I read this in just a few sittings and was gutted when I reached the end. Who knew Richard Madeley could write a story to compete with some of the biggest and best crime authors? Certainly not me and I'm going to be seeking out his first book very soon and keeping an eye out in the future for his next one.

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