First published back in September of 2015, ‘Deceit’ formed the second full-length novel from British author Kyle Turton.

DLS Synopsis:

Ben Garrett had a good life.  He had a good job, a nice a home in their apartment block, a beautiful loving wife named Claire, and a wonderful young daughter named Grace.  He was happy.  He was content.  But unfortunately for Ben and his family, all of that would change in the blink of an eye.

Ben was at home when the knock at the door came.  As soon as he opened the door to the two police officers, he knew something terrible had happened.  There’d been an accident.  A hit and run a block away.  His wife was dead and Grace was in a critical condition.

Detective Alexander Rodgers drove Ben to the hospital.  He witnessed the distraught father tearing through the hospital and pleading for his daughter to be saved.  But it was too late. There was nothing that the surgeons could do for her.  In the course of one day, Ben Garrett had gone from being a happy family man, to being alone – mourning the tragic loss of his beloved wife and daughter.

But there were still people who cared deeply for Ben.  None more so than their friend and neighbour Amanda.  Not wanting to leave Ben on his own in his time of loss, Amanda took him into her apartment so that she could look after him.  However, unbeknown to everyone else, Ben’s dead wife had been visiting him.  At first seeing Claire again scared the hell out of Ben.  But he’d quickly got used to the visits and had come to cherish the times when she would appear in the apartment to speak with him.

However, Claire and Grace needed his help.  There was an imbalance in the world stopping them being at peace.  As such, they were trapped in purgatory .  He was told the cause of this was because there were six people in Seattle who should have died over the last year.  In order to restore the balance, Claire and Grace needed Ben to kill these six people.  Only then could they finally find peace.

The idea of killing six seemingly random people filled Ben with dread.  But he knew he had to do it.  Under the direction of his guardian angel – Ben Garrett knew he would kill whoever he had to in order to save his wife and daughter.  Over the next sixty days, Ben Garrett would become a cold-blooded killer….

DLS Review:
Author Kyle Turton’s latest offering is an interesting one; with a carefully mapped-out storyline taking the reader through a multitude of different hoops and deceitful pathways until the ‘real plot’ is eventually revealed.  Okay, so you’ll most likely see the majority of the so-called ‘twists’ coming from a veritable mile away - especially given the title of the book and the numerous glaringly obvious clues scattered about the place.  But nevertheless, the build-up and sheer momentum behind the direction of the story is enough to keep you hanging on to how it’s all unfolding and the plight of our pained anti-hero.

The story is told over the course of sixty days, with the book commencing with a brief glimpse of day sixty, before reverting back to day one.  From here, the story gradually unfolds; with each chapter almost counting down how far along the story is, with the mind-boggling events of day sixty still playing in the reader’s mind, whilst putting an eventual endgame always in sight.

However, a fair chunk of the first half of the novel suffers from feeling overly orchestrated - with early dialogue between characters coming across as painfully contrived, whilst the overall course of the tale can seem too carefully pieced together without any natural flow behind it.  In fact a great deal of the story does feel incredibly restrained – with Turton always sticking to a clear pathway throughout – with little deviation or layering of any other elements or subplots.

That said, one thing about the novel that sticks out like a sore thumb is how you can actually see Turton’s writing ability improving throughout the writing of the book.  At first the writing feels quite clumsy and incredibly tightly bound to the direction of the plot.  However, about a third of the way through the novel Turton seems to loosen up his approach and find his rhythm with the story.  The end result is a much more organically delivered and engrossing read which now quite effortlessly pulls the reader in.

Interestingly Turton has written the story from the first-person-perspective - alternating between Ben Garrett and Detective Alex Rodgers.  Garrett is given by far and away the most pages – with his side of the story the more dominant angle.  However, Rodgers’ input, as he tries to piece together who the hell it is going around murdering these seemingly random and unconnected people, adds a reasonably intriguing edge to the way the story is told.

If you’ve read Turton’s previous offering – ‘Control’ (2014) – you may be expecting another blood-drenched horror-packed read.  However, ‘Deceit’ is a decidedly different beast.  There are murders and smatterings of violence, but on the whole it’s more engaged with the concept of executing these heinous crimes, rather than getting too involved with depicting the horrific violence that’s involved.

However, one particularly noticeable aspect with ‘Deceit’ is how Turton’s ramped-up the amount of sex in the novel.  Barely a chapter goes by without some raunchy encounter taking place for either Garrett or Rodgers.  Furthermore, for some reason or another, Turton has decided to make his two main characters incredibly similar.  Their lives seem to be running at a strange parallel with each other; oddly mirrored and gradually converging.  Whether purposeful or not, it adds an intriguing angle to the story.

So all in all I’d have to say that ‘Deceit’ is the very definition of a mixed bag.  The first third of the tale is quite clumsy and constrained.  With a story built around plot-defining twists and turns, far too many of them are that little bit too predictable.  And the sheer volume of irritating typos (pretty much one on every other page) is unforgivingly off-putting.

That said, after you get past the first third, and Turton finds his feet with the writing, the story does suck you in.  Here the characterisation starts to bring the whole thing to life.  You start to form bonds with the characters - sympathising with them all as you become drawn into the escalating madness.

It’s an entertaining read.  From a rocky start the novel improves tenfold – and as such, is well worth persisting with.  And to be fair, with a good editor, a heck of a lot of the novel’s problems could be ironed out or eradicated entirely.

The novel runs for a total of 293 pages.

© DLS Reviews

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