All Fall Down - Tom Bale

Genre: Thriller
Synopsis:  It should have been an idyllic day for the Turner family – until a dying man, beaten beyond all recognition, arrives at their home, uttering the words, HELP ME.  Rob and Wendy Turner and their children try to explain away the horrific scene as being in the wrong place at the wrong time, but in the days that follow their lives are threatened in ways they could never imagine. The family is unaware that they are being watched by someone with their own terrifying agenda, who will stop at nothing to fulfil their own twisted desires. But when hidden secrets come rushing to the surface, it’s clear not everything is as it seems in this happy family.


Review: Due to tons of great reviews I had high hopes for this book. My bad! It's really not very good. It was easy to read, though I'm not going to say it was well written because the quality of the writing didn't really strike me one way or another, other than that maybe some of Rob's thought processes were a bit meandering and repetitive. The premise is great, and it starts off really intriguing. Told mostly from the perspective of Tom, we see him trying to avoid incrimination from the very beginning, as though he has something to hide. This was probably the second biggest downfall of the book - he does have a story in his past, but the implication of what it might be was, for me, very misleading.

The biggest downfall for me of the novel is that the plot essentially amounted to 'some people are broken and mad'. This can be pulled off in some stories, but it's probably best not to wrap it up in the mystery of why, because when you read half a book wondering 'why?' and get 'just because', it's very disappointing. You need compelling characters, who make you feel conflicted about their motives and their actions, if you're not going to provide a solid 'why'. None of the sane characters were very fleshed out, or in my opinion behaved very normally, and the insane bad guys were completely one dimensional, unrelatable and inspired no sympathy. They weren't threatening or scary.  When you're reading a mystery thriller with no actual mystery and no real thrills, it soon becomes boring. One of the bad guys was given a motive, but I still didn't give a toss about him or his plight.

All that said, it was easy to get to the end, and I didn't *hate* reading it, so I gave it two stars. I think it's fair to say Tom Bale has potential, and even though this is his not his earliest novel, many reviewers have had similar complaints of boredom about this novel while wholeheartedly recommending his other novels, so I may give one of them a go.

Rating: 2/5 

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