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Black, Helen - Twenty Twelve
Paperback: 320 pages (Apr. 2012) Publisher: Robinson ISBN: 1849014752

While this novel was mostly well written and had a few nice twists in it, I am sorry to say that it wasn't really my type of thing. It lacked that certain icky nastiness that, for me, turns a good book into an excellent one. Having said that, it certainly wasn't a bad book, probably isn't deserving of a bad review, and if you like things to be not too black but have a little bit of a race against the clock, albeit an 'I'm sure it's going to be OK' kind of race, then this book is for you.

As the title of the book suggests, the story is about 2012 - the London Olympics in 2012 to be more precise, and a terrorist threat against the games that results in lies, panic, cover-ups and death. The first bomb explodes at the Opening of the Olympic Village, and sees the face of our heroine, Jo Connolly, splashed across every TV set in the country, as she staggers from the wreckage, saving a disabled child from certain death. Jo, an administrative assistant in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, is forced into the limelight as her boss, the Minister, is too badly injured to work and someone must continue to organize the games. Jo's father, a famous former cabinet member, has this lovely knack of making her feel less than useless. This opportunity could be a way of finally making him proud. Except things don't go as planned and she ends up placing her life on the line by joining in with the search for the terrorist cell that are blamed for the bombing.

Parts of this book are really good, for example Jo's dealings with her ailing father and her need to win his approval, along with the gutsy attitude of MI5 and their solid determination to find the bombers before it is too late. Other parts of the story don't do it for me at all - the behaviour of the cell leader, for example, is too predictable in places, and the time shift flash backs that aren't explained until the end all seem very out of place.

Overall, while this book wasn't my cup of tea, it has a certain something about it that means it is likely to become a best seller, especially in the run up to the Olympics. As for me, I need to read more by Helen Black to properly make up my mind about her books and style.

Amanda C M Gillies, Scotland
May 2012

Details of the author's other books with links to reviews can be found on the Books page.
More European crime fiction reviews can be found on the Reviews page.

last updated 20/05/2012 09:39