Cracking a pig’s egg

This is my review of Fault Line by Robert Goddard.

I have a weakness for Robert Goddard's novels which are notable for their highly convoluted intrigues and often original themes based on some historical or topical issue, in this case the china clay industry, in decline around St Austell in Cornwall but apparently expanding in South America, which the author manages to link with dastardly deeds in Naples and the beautiful island of Capri which he of course makes you want to visit.

Although I understand why some reviewers feel that his novels produced annually have become pot boilers in danger of burning dry, it seems to me that, following on the heels of "Blood Count", "Fault Line" confirms a return to form as regards plot, although I wish that Goddard would make the effort to edit some of the triteness out of his prose.

In Jonathan Kellaway we have a likeable and convincing character who displays integrity and presence of mind, the very qualities which encourage more devious people to make use of him, asking favours which ensnare him in precarious and even dangerous sitations in the process. The plot is quite well-structured and deftly revealed. I agree that some aspects of the denouement are implausible, but isn't that often the case with this type of thriller? With a main plot perhaps a little less extraordinary than is often the case with Goddard, I worked out fairly early on what the explanation must be, but was not left disappointed at the end since there was a thought-provoking final twist I had not foreseen.

This is a page turner and an enjoyable read, relying on suspense and tension rather than sex or violence.

⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4 Stars

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