As always, Robert Goddard gives us a beautifully written and intriguing tale Fault Line begins in Cornwall, a favourite setting, amongst the china clay pits Jonathan Kellaway is on the verge of retiring form a huge international China Clay company when he is obliged to search for missing documents that appear stolen from the old records but that prove a vital link to many family secrets of the firm s founders RG is one of those story tellers whose work grips one from start to finish such a delight especially on a rainy day in the UK Some people feel RG has begun to write similiar stories but I never feel this to be the case He often writes in the first person and yes, the hero does have a similiar feel about him perhaps because of this Often a man who has strong principles but is inveigled into all kinds of strange and twisted situations despite himself But so whatthe plots are all different and we visit a great many countries in R G stories all described in amazing detail He s either got some great guide books or is a great traveller Goddard is a true master of plotting, character, suspense, and surprise by whom I ve enjoyed nearly 20 other books, after first discovering him in a 2008 Paste magazine feature with Stephen King, who made an unqualified endorsement of Goddard s books Fault Line is one of Goddard s best books Goddard s books are usually set in rural Britain with plots that also take his characters to such Mediterranean locales as Capri and Rhodes Like Ross MacDonald s Lew Archer novels, such as The Zebra Striped Hearse, which invariably chronicle multiple generations of a family and secrets that have been long buried and are excavated by private detective Archer, Goddard s books explore the complicated histories of families that have been on the land sometimes for hundreds of years, though his books don t feature a private detective or policeman Instead, there s a male narrator or protagonist who, as King says, are decent fellows out of their league who mostly but not always find a way to muddle through In Fault Line, narrator Jonathan Kellaway is a long time employee of a ceramics manufacturer whose corporate history is being written by an academic historian Like Balzac s Lost Illusions, in which we learn about paper, ink, and printing technology in 19th century France, here we learn that Cornwall is ideal for the production of household ceramics owing to the local soil that is so rich in clay Kellaway s elderly CEO details him to help the historian in her work and undertake a search for company records from a vital period of its history that have unaccountably gone missing I d agree the fate of a ceramics company doesn t sound exciting, but from ordinary saplings mighty narrative oaks may grow.I think of Goddard as a latter day John Fowles, the notable British novelist who produced such masterworks as The Magus and The French Lieutenant s Woman Here s my full blog post on Goddard s books and other writers, from a FridayReads post I published yesterday Another excellent mystery by Robert Goddard with plenty of twists and turns. This is one of Robert Goddards better books He is such a good story teller but sometimes you feel that the tale has got too tortuous for it s own good This one had just the right amount of mystery and action to keep you totally hooked right to the end I really liked it. Goddard is back on target A straight mystery thriller without the history lessons that have tended to bog down too many of his books.This one reads like a fast paced movie and not once did I pick it up and think O.M.G I ve gotta try to get back into this I have no idea why I obtained this book in the first place, having never read any of Goddard s books, even though he is a prolific author Perhaps it s because his books are not widely available in the U.S Nevertheless, I was glad I got my hands on this one It is a well written, suspenseful, novel that caught me up to the point that I finished it in 3 days The story line jumps between the late 1960s, 1984, and 2010 as the protagonist, Jonathan Kellaway narrates the history of his relationship with the Wren family and the overly ambitious Greville Lashley, his mentor and the step father of the woman he loved All is intertwined with Kellaway s career in the China Clays industry as he becomes Lashley s trouble shooter over the years Kellaway also becomes entangled in many family matters even though he s an outsider but he s also trusted by Lashley Goddard does an excellent job of drawing the characters in the story though one or two of them are a little over the top What Goddard also does is an excellent job of ratcheting up the suspense and keeping the reader guessing as to how it s all going to turn out The ending is satisfying but both Kellaway and the reader are left with unanswered questions, questions that will never be answered We are left to our own conclusions and I am fine with that.I enjoyed this book very much and highly recommend it, especially if you like contemporary British novels. This was much better than some of the authors recent books, enjoyed the twists and turns but the ending was just a little weak. Robert Goddard has a magical gifthe can paint vivid pictures with the words he writes He also uses his obvious love of history to produce another top notch novel Switching between the early sixties and the present day 2010 he has created a convoluted plot that keeps you reading just onepage and then just onechapter until you find yourself caught up in this excellent mystery with loads of twists and turns If you are a fan of Steve Berry or Brad Meltzer, you will love Robert Goddard. The New Race Against The Clock Thriller From The Master Of The Triple Cross Not All Scars Are Visible Jonathan Kellaway Needs No Reminding Of That On The Verge Of His Retirement From China Clay Conglomerate Intercontinental Kaolins The Company Has Left Its Mark In Pits And Spoil Heaps Around The World But It Has Also Left A No Less Enduring Mark On Some Of Those Who Have Worked For It, Kellaway Included Its Past, As Well As Its Future, Is A Treacherous Place So Kellaway Is Surprised When IK S Founder And Former Chairman, Greville Lashley, Sets Him A Final Task Before He Quits The Academic Hired By The Board To Write The Company S History Has Discovered A Gap Covering Several Years In The Records Of The Small Cornish China Clay Outfit Lashley Started With And Where Kellaway Also Began His Career He Is Despatched To Cornwall To Learn What Has Become Of The Missing Documents But The Search Is A Voyage Into Dangerous Waters A Dead Friend, A Lost Lover And A Clutch Of Mysteries From Kellaway S Youth In Cornwall And Italy In The Late S Come Back To Haunt Him And To Tempt Him With The Hope That He May At Last Learn The Truth About The Tragedies And Misfortunes That Blighted Those Years It Is A Truth That Has Claimed Several Victims Before If He Pursues It Hard And Long Enough, He May Only Add Himself To The List But Pursue It He Must Because The Truth, He Belatedly Realizes, Is The Secret That Has Consumed His Life This Time This Last Time He Will Not Stop Until He Has Found It I found this book a thoroughly engrossing read I took it with me when I was out of town for five days, thinking, given its 500 page length, that it would last me for the entire trip however, it engaged me so much that I finished it in two days The story begins when the president of a company that has a monopoly in the china clay industry calls on an employee who is nearing retirement to investigate a series of missing files The employee is Jonathan Kellaway, who has a long history with the president s family From there, the story moves back and forth between the present and the late sixties when the hero first met Oliver Foster, the president s teenage stepson who was trying to find the reason for his father s death As in all Goddard s books, there are many twists and turns, but in spite of the complex trail that the hero has to follow, the plot unfolds seamlessly and credibly right to the end.
In a writing career spanning than twenty years, Robert Goddard s novels have been described in many different ways mystery, thriller, crime, even historical romance He is the master of the plot twist, a compelling and engrossing storyteller and one of the best known advocates for the traditional virtues of pace, plot and narrative drive.
- 416 pages
- Fault Line
- Robert Goddard
- 15 April 2019 Robert Goddard