The Final Minute by Simon Kernick is a fast paced novel with a wide range of different, interesting characters that combines action with suspense.
‘It’s night, and I’m in a strange house.
The lights are on, and and I’m standing outside a half-open door.
Feeling a terrible sense of forboding, I walk slowly inside.
And then I see her.
A woman lying sprawled across a huge double bed.
She’s dead. There’s blood everywhere.
And the most terrifying thing of all is that I think her killer might be me …’
A traumatic car-crash. A man with no memory, haunted by nightmares.
When the past comes calling in the most terrifying way imaginable, Matt Barron is forced to turn to the one person who can help.
Ex Met cop, turned private detective, Tina Boyd.
Soon they are both on the run…
The story seems to focus more on Matt Barron, the guy who has lost his memory and is being chased down by ‘questionable’ characters, than Tina Boyd who is the main detective that this new series is about.
The character development was really good; I actually didn’t feel like we really learnt much about Tina Boyd as a detective, only snippets from her past but I suppose this is setting the future books up to reveal more about her character as the series goes on. I also gather that she has appeared in previous books by Simon Kernick and so is semi-established, and therefore I imagine those who have read these novels already know a little more about her, but she now has her own series (of which this is the first book!). Tina seems like quite a maverick and continues to help Matt even though she knew his history and that he had done questionable things, and it was quite refreshing to read about a dynamic, talented female ex-detective.
Also interesting is the way the novel makes you doubt the main character Matt, who seems to have had a shady past. Kernick makes you wonder sometimes if he’s actually a good guy or not, but ultimately you are rooting for him to survive until the end of the novel, which at times seems less than certain! Kernick makes you think though about the fact that people can make mistakes but if they’ve served their time the question is whether you should just forget about their past issues?
You read the story from different perspectives which I really enjoyed; it jumps mainly between Matt and Tina’s narratives but we also see some of what the ‘baddies’ are doing which really keeps the reader on their toes throughout.
I would recommend this novel to those who already love thrillers and also to anyone wanting to get into this genre- it’s fast paced and exciting whilst also being well-written; it doesn’t veer into trashy like (in my opinion) many other books in this genre tend to do an awful lot!