Today it’s my pleasure to be taking part in the blog tour for The Girl on the Bus by N.M. Brown. I’ll have a review to share with you, but first, here is what the book is about.
The Official Book Blurb
A retired detective and a young woman are about to face their worst fears.
Vicki Reiner is emotionally isolated and craves the fleeting happiness she experienced in the years prior to her college graduation. In an attempt to recapture this, she invites her former friend and room-mate, Laurie, for a break at her deserted beachside home. However, despite booking an online bus ticket, her friend never shows up and seems to have vanished.
Unable to accept the bizarre circumstances of the disappearance, Vicki approaches the police who dismiss her concerns before enlisting the reluctant help of Leighton Jones – a newly retired detective who is haunted by the death of his teenage daughter. Despite trying to remain detached from the case, Leighton is drawn to Vicki and her search for justice.
The unlikely pair face numerous obstacles but using a combination of methods he and Vicki track the killers who are working across the dusty freeways of North America.
Soon Vicki and Leighton find themselves nervously waiting at a remote bus stop expecting the arrival of the bus.
Will they ever discover what happened to Laurie?
And can they both escape with their lives?
When I first saw the blurb for this book I’ll admit to being intrigued. I’m always up for reading a good crime novel and one with extra added mystery is always right up my street. And this book promised a lot. So, question is, did it deliver?
By and large yes it did. The Girl On The Bus really is an interesting premise. A young girl travelling alone disappears on route to visiting another friend across country. This kind of mystery always has a wealth of possibilities attached to it and I have to be honest, the way in which the author chose to take this mystery is definitely unique. I won’t go into too much detail as to why as that would spoil the surprise.
The basic premise of the tale may not be new, and the techniques used by the killer not entirely unexpected. Even with a limited technological or criminal understanding it is not hard to work out what they were doing. And to be fair, the book doesn’t attempt to bog you down in too much technical detail as that would slow the action down considerably, but it certainly helps that Vicki has a wealth of knowledge of computers and is able to uncover a lot of information which would otherwise have not been available to the retired Detective.
I kind of grew to like former Detective Leighton Jones. He seemed a straight kind of guy, pushed out of his role by a new Chief who seemed to have an axe to grind. He is haunted by the past, not unusual, but he does have a good head on his shoulders and a conscience which won’t let him leave Vicki on her own. I don’t know why he appealed to ,e, he just did. There was something there that just worked. Vicki… Well my feelings on her were split. On one hand she appeared to be a snivelling wreck over her parents relationship and then on the other she was strong and assertive and as brave (and foolhardy) as any heroine would be expected to be. Together there was strange chemistry between the Leighton and Vicki which made the story engaging and drew me in as a reader.
For me I didn’t really feel I had time to get to know the killer’s victims, making it hard to feel anything much more than surprise over their deaths. There was a sense of tension as you knew the victims were drawing closer to an inevitable fate, but it didn’t quite shock me as much as it perhaps could have. Maybe it’s because the deaths weren’t particularly gory, the level of violence not very graphic. And I know that sounds terrible to say but had there been a little more, I don’t know, oomph maybe, it would have escalated this story to a whole other level. Don’t get me wrong. There were still moments which took me by surprise but I think this could definitely have turned up the fear factor a couple of notches, keeping me on the edge of my seat a little more, and still have been very accessible. Of course that’s just my opinion and I know that many people will probably like it exactly because it isn’t gratuitous or overly violent in any way.
In terms of surprises though, got to be honest I wasn’t quite expecting that ending. Yes the tension did pick up here, the thrill of the chase as Leighton closes in on the killers in a bid to save Vicki, but what transpires in the end… well that’s one way to close a case for sure. And the very final chapter? Well it kind of put me in mind of the film Identity. If you read it, I think you’ll understand why.
Only because I think this could have stood for a little more gore or shock factor, I’m awarding it 4 stars.
My thanks to publishers Bloodhound Books for inviting me to take part in the tour and for providing the copy of The Girl On The Bus for review. It is available to purchase now from the following retailers:
About the Author
Norman M. Brown is an author living and working in Scotland. He attended secondary school in Stirling where he spent more time in the library or in the nearby park with a paperback, than he did in classes… Ironically, having graduated from Stirling University with a degree in English, he soon ended up back on the classroom again – where he has shared his love of fiction for two decades.
Having experimented with poetry, scripts and short stories over the years, he finally decided to write sit down and write the type of fiction he would like to read. The result was his crime thriller -The Girl on the Bus. As result, Norman was delighted to be signed to Bloodhound Books at the start of this year. The Girl in the Bus, is his first published novel. He is currently writing a second novel based on its protagonist – detective Leighton Jones.
You can follow the author at the following links:
Make sure to take in the other brilliant blogs taking part in the tour.