Janice Hallett

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Retreat [2011 Film] (2011) — Writer — 6 exemplar


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London, England, UK
magazine editor



This is not your usual who-dun-it with buildup, murder, and fierce interviews. Instead, the reader reads the documents in the case, along with the investigators, who are commissioned to discover the real murderer after a person has been convicted. So we are in the same position as the investigators, complete with text messages between them and the appeals attorney (barrister? I forget), nudges to go back and read parts of the evidence, extra information as it arises, and some amazing characters. No 'live' dialog, no suspects in the same room, none of that, and yet completely captivating. The end is satisfying and then chilling. Highly recommended.… (mer)
1 rösta
ffortsa | 43 andra recensioner | May 15, 2024 |
Like Hallett's other books, this one took the form of emails, transcripts and WhatsApp messages etc. Journalist Amanda and her colleague/enemy Oliver investigate the historic case of the Alperton Angels - a (very small) cult, whose leader was imprisoned after the murder of a waiter, the rescue of a baby and two teenagers, and the suicide of the other adults.

I enjoyed this to start with, but it was far too long, there were too many characters, the whole thing was over-the-top and the inclusion of the Wessexes was unnecessary and distasteful. It felt as if the author couldn't quite decide how to end things. As a plus I thought the portrayal of Amanda's determination to use anyone and anything to get her story was well done.… (mer)
pgchuis | 19 andra recensioner | May 12, 2024 |
Like her previous novel, The Appeal, this book is a triumph, and highly entertaining. It is presented as a series of documents, featuring emails, WhatsApp exchanges and SMS messages from a number of characters, all of whom have been involved in the events surrounding the production of a community pantomime by the amateur dramatic society in the small town of Lockwood.

As with the earlier book, a bundle of papers is delivered to two young paralegals in a firm of solicitors, and they are invited to study them with no prior knowledge of the case or its context, and see what conclusions they come to.

The plot revolves around the actions and jealousies found among the members of the Lockwood Amateur Dramatic Society. The correspondence is cleverly presented – we don’t always see both sides of an exchange, and all sorts of sub stories emerge.

The characterisation is great, too. All in all, this works wonderfully – far more effectively than my clumsy synopsis might suggest - , and all sorts of subplots and strained relationships emerge. When I first encountered the book, I had my doubts about the format, wondering whether it might simply be gimmicky. That could not be further from the truth. The drip feed of information, like an old fashioned epistolatory novel, works excellently.

Janice Hallett manages the plot adeptly, too, and I lost count of the unexpected twists and turns, all of them entirely plausible.
… (mer)
Eyejaybee | 17 andra recensioner | May 9, 2024 |
I had a lot of fun with this whodunnit, told exclusively through emails, text messages, transcripts, and other documents. Hallett does a great job developing her characters and giving the reader a real sense of them without relying on standard descriptions and interactions.

The story is slightly convoluted and I had a bit of an issue in the beginning keeping track of who was who, but it didn't take long to get it all sorted in my head. The novel focuses on a community theater group in a small English village; the leader of the group has a granddaughter recently diagnosed with cancer, and the community rallies around to raise money for a life-saving treatment. But something isn't right... And then one of the actors is killed... dun dun DUN! I won't say more because you deserve to experience the fun for yourself.

4 stars
… (mer)
1 rösta
katiekrug | 43 andra recensioner | Apr 29, 2024 |



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