When Rob Hale wakes up in a hospital after a motorcycle crash, his first thought is for the gorgeous blonde, Lena, who was on the back of his bike. The doctors and police, however, insist that he was alone at the scene. The shock of the accident must have made him imagine Lena, especially since his description of her resembles his late sister, Laura.
And so begins one of the most average thrillers I have read for years…
It all started out well. A gripping mystery, a beautiful girl, and a setting, on the Isle of Man that I have never encountered in a novel before. Then the mystery starts to unfold, and everything just seems to fall into place too easily for our hero and his companion Rebecca (a British spy who conveniently falls onto the scene, probably so she can appear in a future novel).
Of course for anyone who reads a lot of thrillers, it often seems that a lot of the plot twists are borrowed from other novels, but in Safe House everything just feels a bit too ‘paint-by-numbers’; even the villains of the story feel like they have been stolen from one of those late 1980s action films with Bruce Willis or Geena Davis. My biggest gripe about Safe House is the mediocre ending to the novel, which left me wishing the author had taken it in a different direction.
Safe House is an average mystery/thriller that will keep you entertained on a train or a beach some place, but I am sure it will be quickly forgotten after you put it down.
- First published 2012 by Faber and Faber Ltd
- 448 pages
- ISBN 978-0-571-28222-7
What I learned from Safe House
It is always nice when you learn something from the books that you read. Even if what you learn is a silly fact from your homeland, which is exactly what I picked up from Chris Ewan’s novel.
About half way through the novel, our hero Rob Hale and his partner Rebecca get hungry and stop at an Isle of Man chip shop. Rob enters the chippy and comes out with a portion of an Isle of Man delicacy, chips (french fries to my American readers), gravy and cheese.
‘Chips, cheese and gravy‘, I told her. ‘Local speciality’.
I liked this passage from the novel because chips, cheese and gravy is a Canadian specialty, that we call poutine… And when I have travel to Canada with one of my English friends and offer them a taste of my poutine, they have had the same reaction.