Thursday, March 16, 2017

Parallel Lines - Steven Savile

Sent to me by the Publisher in exchange for an honest review


Release Date: 14/03/17

Publisher: Titan Books

ISBN:  978-1783297917

Format: Paperback, 393pp

Genre: Crime/Thriller

Rating: 4.5/5

Summed up in a word:
Empathetic


First Impressions: I can consistently rely on Titan Books for brilliant and diverse fiction. They cover such an array of genres and the authors they bring to us are top quality. Parallel Lines is by no means a ground breaking outing. But it is enjoyable, thought provoking, exciting and at times chilling too. Steven Savile is a celebrated author and TV writer. He work really shines in this novel, making us question what we would do if we were in the characters shoes. Check out all the excellent books Titan are bringing us in 2017 at: http://titanbooks.com/

Book Synopsis: 
How far would you go to provide for your child?

Adam Shaw is dying, and knows he’ll leave his disabled son with nothing. His solution? Rob a bank. It’s no surprise that things go wrong. What is surprising is that when another customer is accidentally shot, no one in the bank is in a hurry to hand Adam over to the police. There’s the manager who’s desperate to avoid an audit, the security guard with a serious grudge against the dead man, and the woman who knows exactly how bad the victim really was...

Eight people, twelve hours, one chance to cover up a murder. But it’s not just the police they have to fool. When many lives intersect, the results can be explosive. (Official Titan Books Synopsis)

The Review - Is there a point where we can empathise with someone who has a gun to our head?
I was incredibly intrigued by the idea behind the plot for Parallel Lines. The idea of hostages coming to the robber's aid blew my mind and I was eager to get involved and see what Steven Savile had instore for me. I am in that stage of reading where I am need of a challenge, fiction that makes me think and consider key issues in modern life. Parallel Lines achieves this perfectly and my opinions/ideals were challenged a lot. I usually hate book plots that rely on so many elements being in the right place at the right time. I agreed with myself, for the sake of plot design, that the events in the book could realistically happen all at once. (which was hard as I am usually overly analytical)

After deciding that it is plausible, I was able to have an enjoyable time with Parallel Lines and analyse all the more interesting aspects of this bank heist novel. Savile is smart writer, crafting an array of drastically different characters and giving them depth in such a short period of time. The narrative is shared across everyone present at the time of the robbery, so the reader gets full immersion in the experience of the trauma and emotional distress involved with being held at gun point by an unhinged, twitchy and nervous criminal is in need of an obscene amount of money. 

The main focus of the novel is on Adam and his need of money to secure his son's future after he dies, but there are so many sub-plots snaking themselves around the main story that Parallel Lines has plenty to offer the reader. The atmosphere is tense for about 90% of this novel in several ways. I really enjoyed the way that the plot naturally evolved over time and didn't get overly complicated or unbelievable. I was constantly wondering how a man can achieve empathy and understanding within a group of hostages that he has a gun pointed at... and I was both surprised and satisfied with the tactics that Savile chose to include.

Parallel Lines is very lacking in any tension relieving humour, the narrative is pretty on-the-edge-of-your-seat at all times. Each of the characters have their own reasons for helping or fighting Adam and the overall sense of unity (though a brittle one) was achieved without out cliche moments or eye-rolling absurdities, which is always appreciated. It was frustrating at first to enjoy a main plot that relied on several major events all occurring together. I spent time going over the probabilities in my head (which is totally Adam's fault as he is a risk analyser) but after much deliberation I decided that it could happen. 

Other than the slightly far-fetched moments, I don't have much else negative to say about Parallel Lines. I was invested in the story as I wanted Adam to get his money while managing to get out of the bank in one piece. The development and pace is nicely even and the stubborn, emotionally unstable hostages kept events interesting. I don't want to spoil to much and all my favourite parts of the novel are towards the end so I can just reassure you that events take a turn for the very interesting. Themes like unity, instability, violence, organised crime and death constantly change the tone of the narrative so it stay interesting. 

I have given Parallel Lines 4.5/5 stars as it was an intriguing puzzle of thrills, emotional instability and escape planning. Each individual characters kept changing the outcome of the plot and I found my self on edge waiting for the conclusion of this high stakes scenario.

Pick up a copy of Parallel Lines here: Titan Books/Amazon UK/Goodreads

About the Author (Official Bio):  Steven Savile has written for Doctor Who, Torchwood, Primeval, Stargate, Warhammer, Slaine, Fireborn, Pathfinder, Arkham Horror, Risen, and other popular game and comic worlds.  His novels have been published in eight languages to date, including the Italian bestseller L'eridita. He won the International Media Association of Tie-In Writers award for his Primeval novel, SHADOW OF THE JAGUAR, published by Titan, in 2010, and The inaugural Lifeboat to the Stars award for TAU CETI (co-authored with Kevin J. Anderson). 

SILVER, his debut thriller reached #2 in the Amazon UK e-charts in the summer of 2011. It was among the UK's top 30 bestselling novels of 2011 according to The Bookseller.  The series continues in Solomon's Seal, WarGod, and Lucifer's Machine, and is available in a variety of languages. His latest books include HNIC (along with the legendary Hip Hop artist Prodigy, of Mobb Deep) which was Library Journal's Pick of the Month, the Lovecraftian horror, The Sign of Glaaki, co-written with Steve Lockley, and has recently started writing the popular Rogue Angel novels as Alex Archer. The first of which, Grendel's Curse, is out in May.
 He has lived in Sweden for the last 17 years. For more information visit: http://www.stevensavile.com/

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