Saturday, 30 July 2016

Book Review - "Cut To The Bone" by Alex Caan.

YouTube Vlogger, Ruby, has made it.  She has millions of followers, sponsorship deals and the adoration of a whole generation of young girls.  But she has gone missing.  A video is sent to her parents which shows her pleading for her life.  Ruby is in real danger and the whole world can watch her fear.  Detective Inspector Kate Riley is called in to investigate.  Along with her newest team member, Detective Sergeant Zain Harris, they need to understand the world of vlogging before they can attempt to locate Ruby.  But is it too late?

Alex Caan's debut thriller is a modern take on the genre of police procedural.  DI Kate Riley has her own past to contend with, let alone trying to keep up with corporate coding and YouTube sensations.  DS Harris also has baggage.  Recently transferred to London's Met, he needs to hide his traumatic past and learn to trust again.  The case originally seems like a regular missing person one, but why is it getting fast-tracked after such a short time?  There are far bigger elements involved in Ruby's disappearance and the team needs to scratch more than the surface to uncover some hidden truths.

The concept of a vlogger disappearing and then re-appearing under dreadful circumstances is very clever.  The YouTube generation think nothing of spending hours upon hours watching their favourite personalities testing products, playing video games, playing pranks on unsuspecting victims and even unwrapping parcels.  There is a vlog for pretty much everything and each vlogger has their own unique touch.  Ruby's is her honesty and integrity.  But what went wrong?  A web of deceit and lies seems to lay at the core of her disappearance.  Alex Caan brings the world of the Met to the forefront as they delve further and further into Ruby's online presence.  Kate and Zain are likable characters, who work well together on the page.  Their back stories were what interested me the most.   The world of coding and online agencies were a little too tedious for me and I wanted to know more about Ruby.  Why she began her vlog, who was she really, why were her parents acting so strangely?  The former MI5 and counter terrorism links were also wasted on me.  They have a real 'man-book' feel about them (Yes, Yes. I know that is a very sexist turn of phrase, but I think you get the gist.  All Jason Bourne-ish, Die Hard, guns, helicopters etc etc) and I just wanted to get to Ruby's story.  The novel is written in short, sharp chapters (which I love) but some seemed like one longer chapter bisected in order to keep chapter length down. I devoured the first third of the book.  The ending is fast-paced, thrilling and leaves the author free to write sequels galore.  I just lost interest in the tech angle and the secret police type story line.  In fairness, I think it is my personal mental block with this kind of thing.  I reckon my husband would love Cut To The Bone and I shall pass him the kindle very soon.  

I am actually curious to see how Kate and Zain get on in the inevitable sequel.  I liked their individual personalities, their chemistry and their potential.  There are plenty of thrills contained in these pages, with London as a delightful character.  I think I would prefer more focus on the human stories and less on the tech?  (Loved the St.Lucian dealer and Kate's housekeeper, for example).  Alex Caan is a new-kid-on-the-block author, and is definitely one to watch...   

Cut To The Bone is published by Twenty7 books and is currently available in ebook format, with the PB released on 3rd Nov 2016.  You can order via amazon link below: 

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