CBR10Bingo: So Shiny!
I don’t read eBooks and very rarely buy hardcovers, so I’m always a bit behind when it comes to new releases. I’ve been traveling quite a bit the last few years, though, which means I’ve had better opportunities to find new books since paperbacks tend to be released much sooner overseas. I snagged a few in Brussels last month, including one from this year’s Man Booker Prize longlist: Snap by Belinda Bauer.
Jack was 11 years old when his mother left him in charge of his two younger sisters while she left their car to walk along the motorway to an emergency phone. When she doesn’t return, Jack and his sisters leave to try to find her, but she has disappeared and is found dead a week later. Three years later, Jack’s father has abandoned the kids, leaving Jack in charge once more, struggling to keep his remaining family together, safe from harm. But when Jack stumbles upon a lead to solving his mother’s murder, he may not be able to protect himself or his home.
This being a crime novel, the less said about plot, the better. The writing was crisp and taut, making for a brisk read. And though there were some pretty glaring plot holes, it was suspenseful enough, and Jack was a protagonist I could root for. I don’t read a lot in the genre and don’t have much to compare it with, but having read The Ice Princess a few months ago, I didn’t feel like Snap broke any new ground. I was entertained, but after I finished, it didn’t really stick in my mind.
I understand that the Booker committee wanted to make a statement about being inclusive to other genres — they also longlisted a graphic novel for the first time — but I don’t know that this would have been my top choice. On the other hand, I probably wouldn’t have read anything by Belinda Bauer otherwise, and she makes that exact point this quote in The Guardian: “If it’s tokenism, I don’t care, because it does so much not only for crime writers but for readers in general, because now hopefully some of them will be open to reading a different kind of book.”