Review: The Final Minute by Simon Kernick

Monday 12 January 2015
Title: The Final Minute
Author: Simon Kernick
Publisher: Century
Publication Date: 15th January 2015
Pages: 400
Source: NetGalley Review Copy
Rating: 4/5
Purchase: Amazon
Featuring Simon Kernick's maverick detective, TINA BOYD, this is the gripping new race-against-time thriller by the best-selling author of Relentless, The Last 10 Seconds and Stay Alive.

‘It’s night, and I’m in a strange house.

The lights are on, and and I’m standing outside a half-open door.

Feeling a terrible sense of forboding, I walk slowly inside.

And then I see her.

A woman lying sprawled across a huge double bed.

She’s dead. There’s blood everywhere.

And the most terrifying thing of all is that I think her killer might be me …’

A traumatic car-crash. A man with no memory, haunted by nightmares.

When the past comes calling in the most terrifying way imaginable, Matt Barron is forced to turn to the one person who can help, Ex Met cop, turned private detective, Tina Boyd.

Soon they are both on the run...

As a blogger I feel incredibly lucky to read books weeks before they are released but never more so than when the book is written by one of my favourite authors. I remember the first time I borrowed a Simon Kernick book from the library, I was blown away and had to get my hands on his other books as soon as I'd finished it, bear in mind this was before I had a Kindle and was able to get books instantly, so I was travelling around Liverpool's libraries hunting his books down. He fast became one of my favourite authors, and his yearly release is always one of my most anticipated, so to be reading his 2015 book in 2014 is really exciting.

The most difficult thing about reviewing a thriller is how much of the plot to give away. Some of it? None of it? I'll try and keep it brief. Our main character is Matt Barron and our introduction to him is of a man recuperating after a car crash and suffering from amnesia, with the help of his sister and doctor he is attempting to piece his whole life back together, including trying to understand a recurring dream, and get his head around why something about his sister just doesn't feel right... The first chapter ends putting us straight into the mystery, and straightaway my brain was ticking trying to make sense of what was going on. I imagine Kernick has a lot of fun writing his books, knowing exactly what is going on but writing in a way that confuses the reader, yet in the absolute best way possible. It isn't long before Matt is running for his life, with some nasty individuals breathing down his neck. He is soon forced into turning to the only person that can help him. That person is none other than Tina Boyd, one of Kernick's best and most popular creations and I for one was thrilled to have her back. Can't say any more!

As always the book moves at a relentless pace, barely giving you time to breathe I could almost hear my heart thumping in my chest. For some reason I like to read Kernick's books in the dead of night, there's something about reading them in the day that feels strange. As the book is written in the first person I feel this really puts you into Matt's shoes, looking at the story through his eyes rather than feeling like an outsider. I only ever trust the main character and nobody else, there's characters in the book that know more than you as the reader, and more than Matt knows as he attempts to put his life back together. As snippets come back, and bigger pictures start to form the book becomes really exciting, and really hard to put down. You know when you're reading a book and you have to stop, either to eat, wash or work and you hate whatever it is that made you stop reading? That's this book! I really wish I could have read it in one sitting.

I could sit here and praise this book all night but rather than sounding like a broken record, the best thing I can say is buy it and read it. I can almost guarantee you won't be disappointed. Kernick is well into double figures with his books now, and it's very exciting that the standard does not seem to be decreasing, if anything his books are getting better. I only wish he could write quicker. 2014 saw the release of Stay Alive but also a three-part serialisation which I very much enjoyed, I'd love to see something like that again as a yearly wait in between books is nothing short of torture. Anyway I'm off to nurse my book hangover, I am currently looking at my staggering TBR with no idea what to start next after finishing this.


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