English author Savile (Moonlands) sets this clichéd and grating urban fantasy in a barely recognizable 1994 London. After the death of Josh Raines’s grandfather, the aimless Josh finds out that the old man spent most of his life obsessed with a woman named Eleanor, who disappeared in 1924. Despite 70 years having passed, Josh recognizes Eleanor on the street, as young as when she vanished, identifiable from having appeared for a few minutes in a lost Hitchcock silent movie. Unfortunately for both Eleanor and the reader, her disappearance has to do with an estranged branch of Josh’s family, specifically his grandfather’s brother, Seth, a two-dimensional mobster and murderous sociopath who took Eleanor and a part of London itself with him out of time and space. Seth is evil for the sake of being evil, Josh has no actual characterization, and Eleanor serves mainly as an unattainable ideal off in the distance. Lacking strong leads, the novel is forced to rely on its sense of place, which is so poorly wielded that London could be replaced with Chicago by changing the names of the streets and the mobsters. The lost Hitchcock movie is by far the most intriguing element of the book, but Savile mostly ignores it. This effort is a poor introduction of Savile to a U.S. audience. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 10/16/2017 Release date: 12/05/2017 Genre: Fiction
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