Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Girl on the Pier by Paul Tomkins

4 Stars
“Closure means everything. Closure is the lid of a casket. Closure is a vicar’s scattering of dirt. Closure is a gravedigger’s shovel. It doesn’t mean forgiving, or forgetting. And closure is such a trite word. It just means an answer. As long as someone remains missing, the story never ends.”
Want to know how I felt while reading The Girl on the Pier? Something kinda like this . . .

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Is that blasphemous? YES! Naaaaaah.

The Girl on the Pier is Patrick Clement’s story. If you know me you’ll know I love main characters named Patrick ; )

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Patrick is a forensic sculptor who is trying to recreate the face of a murder victim from the 1970s who was discovered on an abandoned pier. The mention of said pier floods Patrick’s mind with memories of one unforgettable night he spent on that same pier in 1993 with a girl he never saw again. Those memories cause Patrick to reflect on his life as a whole – from his relationship with his mother and aunt, to what he believed to be his first love, to his failed marriage – all while working on coming closer to finalizing a recognizable face of the skull.

Here’s the deal. This book doesn’t get released for a couple more weeks, but it is already marked for “lovers of psychological thrillers and suspense novels.” I’m telling you right now, if you are a fan of the mystery/thriller, I don’t believe you’ll find the mystery in The Girl on the Pier to be particularly mysterious at all. The breadcrumbs are laid out quite nicely for readers who like to solve the puzzle quickly. However, that didn’t lessen my enjoyment of Patrick’s story at all and there was still an unexpected little twist toward the end to keep my rating high.

Now let’s talk about the writing. Ohhhhhhhhh, the writing.

“It’s such a primal part of human existence, but our awe of that burning giant – bringing light on its journey across the heavens – is no more; we simple don’t deify what we feel we understand. A phosphorescent halo at the horizon forewarns of its impending arrival: an envoy running ahead to herald the new day. Before long the sun itself is inching over the horizon. And as the world before my eyes is painted in luminescent oranges and blues to have never previously experienced this seems like a kind of gross negligence. The moment feels truly transcendental, almost spiritual. This is my mystical morning. This is my new life.”

THAT is how you write about a sunrise.

I was absolutely swimming in heavenly prose. Paul Tomkins is being compared to “Ian McEwan, Anne Tyler and John Updike” in the blurb. If you’re not a fan of their writing style or find it to be pretentious, consider yourself warned. My ARC claims The Girl on the Pier to be a 240 page novel, but the word usage is as heavy as if it were a real puppy squisher.

And while the timeline got to be a bit like this . . .

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the book is short enough, and the focus of each particular time period tight enough, that I never found myself lost.

A great story which I predict will be found on bestseller lists in the near future.

ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 
Thank you, NetGalley!

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