- Rhyming Rings.
- David Gemmell.
- 272 pages.
- Mystery / Crime / Thriller.
- My rating: Hell Yeah Book Review.
An ambidextrous killer is murdering women, leaving virtually no evidence behind, and struggling journalist Jeremy Miller wishes he was covering the case. Instead, he’s stuck with heart-warming local stories about paraplegic teenagers and elderly psychic ladies.
So when his stories and the murder case start to converge no one is more surprised than Jeremy.
Or, it turns out, more at risk.
I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
You know me and my blog by now and know that I stay away from spoilers or elaborate on the story of a book. With that being said, there’s really no need for me to mention the story in this review as it would just be rehashing the blurb which already gives you the overview you need. Though I will add that Rhyming Rings is in part based on Gemmell’s own experiences as a journalist.
I really liked the characterisation in Rhyming Rings, Gemmell creates well-developed characters and manages to bring them all to life making them believable and realistic.
But, as usual, I sat cursing the walls of my tower. Somewhere deep in the tangled insecurity of adolescence, I’d built it up to keep hurt from me. Unfortunately, from the outside, its walls were paper and anyone could enter. But if I tried to leave, it was granite. More a prison than a fortress.
Jeremy Miller, the main character isn’t instantly likeable, simply put at the start of the book he is a jerk with questionable opinions on a variety of subjects, socially awkward, lacking in friends and unpopular with his peers, he thinks himself better than others. As the story progresses you start to see him change, from your reaction to his first appearance you find him to be a ‘shades of grey‘ style character with more to him than initially meets the eye and you get to see his transformation from the self-centered jerk he was into a far more mature and likeable guy with redeeming qualities.
Ethel Hurst, the psychic is a great secondary character, there really isn’t much to say about her other than she is a kind and elderly old lady who is simply likeable. Mister Sutcliffe is my favourite character, a giant who in his past was capable of murder and now in his later years is a neighbour and friend of Ethel. The snippets of his backstory were my favourite part of the book as you got the chance to delve into who he used to be in his younger years and it’s a really interesting side story.
The supernatural element featured in the story is underplayed and the addition of a psychic adds an extra dimension to the hunt for the murderer.
The book does contain some violence. However, it’s not sensationalised by today’s standards and the killings that take place are more of a menacing style with a sinister undertone than visceral murder.
Rhyming Rings switches between narrative styles and while it could be confusing, it isn’t and works really well. The parts of the story focusing on the main character Jeremy Miller are told from a first person narrative and the other chapters are all written in the third person perspective.
Gemmell’s writing in Rhyming Rings is often sparse and uncluttered, he doesn’t use an overabundance of meaningless words. He manages to evoke emotion and has/had (sadly he is no longer with us) the ability to tell a fine story using the minimum wording, allowing for a fast paced style of storytelling. Gemmell also incorporates a dark gallows style of humour into the book which is fitting for the overall bleak tone.
But some things couldn’t be repaired. Especially when no one knew they were broken.
The late 1980’s setting is well realised and depicted. In Gemmell’s hands, you are transported back in time to the grim London location, the smoking, the lack of computers, the often frequent and casual racism, sexism, homophobia, politics and the attitude of the police all showcase the attitudes of the time. Bringing the period to life with a genuine authentic feel.
Rhyming Rings is a lost manuscript from Gemmell, written in the 1980’s and taking place in 1987 it is not a modern book, but to me at least it holds up well and I found it to be a thoroughly enjoyable crime/thriller read.
A good story is a good story regardless of when it was first written and I found Rhyming Rings to be a good story.
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