Wednesday 13 August 2014

Review: The Way You Look Tonight by Richard Madeley

The thrilling new novel from bestselling Richard Madeley takes us into the glamorous world of the Kennedys and the steamy, sinister Florida Keys

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, psychotic extortionist, racketeer and killer. Knowing now what her father was capable of, she decides to study psychology and the criminal mind, and to further her education in America. In the spring of 1962 she flies to Boston where, being beautiful, bright and fashionably English, she becomes someone of huge fascination and on every invitation list. Then comes an invitation one summer weekend to the home of the Kennedys. Stella quickly becomes part of the inner Kennedy circle as they party through the hot summer nights. Both brothers, JFK and Bobby, make their moves on her but she firmly, charmingly, repels them.

Further south, on the Florida Keys, a killer is on the loose. The case, unsolved, begins to rock America, and with her specialist knowledge of psychopaths, Stella is co-opted by the police investigation and prepares to fly south...

Review: I was totally and utterly surprised by this novel. That doesn't mean that I didn't love it however,in really really enjoyed delving into this new world and was surprised by the writing style. I expected something a little more staid and a little more simplistically, but the writing was beautiful, had a real flow, the prose almost hypnotic! I was a little confused by the storyline to start with. I'll admit that I didn't read the blurb before starting this book and so I had no idea what to expect. From the cover I thought it would be some kind of coming of age story but Infact what I got was a crime, mystery tale set in the past. Now those of you who know my usual reading choices will know that all of these things are usually turn offs for me, but in fact because I didn't know what I was getting myself in for, I found myself sweet up in the storyline set in America during the presidency of JFK, and I literally couldn't put it down. This is one of those books that I stayed up until the small hours finishing. A club which only a handful of excellent reads belong to! 

I have to admit, I found the character of Stella pretty hard to warm to, she seemed experienced and yet was actually quite naive. She hadn't flown before and yet she seemed happy to divulge all to an air hostess who SHOULD have been serving her drinks, not sharing cigarettes with her, and she seems to jump into most things with her eyes closed, something which I found really quite annoying. Her partner on this case was a lot more likeable although he seemed pretty naive too. The psychopaths in this novel seem to be the only ones with a little common sense, although I did have a real soft spot for those Kennedy boys! 

The level of crime and murder/gore in this novel aren't too high and so don't be out off on that front. Because it is psychopaths being dealt with and not mass murdered necessarily, the crimes are more thoughtful than downright bloody and the setting of this book makes up for the occasional gory murder. I love the idea of the Florida keys as a setting and beach parties with the Kennedys sounded really quite fun. This book has a really good mix of interesting storyline, crime, mystery and a little bit of a love story thrown in, a definite classic of a summer read! 

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