For a long time I was hearing that Minette Walters is THIS and THAT i.e. her books were a tour de force in the world of crime writing. Though I had 3 of her books in my to-read shelf but they were far away from where I was currently. So when the opportunity arose, where my mind was reluctant to continue with the book which was next in line, I, without any hesitation picked up the Minette Walters that was closest to my hand, Acid Row.
Frankly speaking the title was intriguing but the blurb wasn’t. The book was supposed to be about a day in the lives of the resident of a housing society graffited in to Assid Row from Bassindale Row, where an intended peaceful march against suspected paedophiles turns out into a violent mob thereby jeopardising the residents and anyone caught up in the situation. For me this kind of blurb means a boring book, where there is hardly any kind of crime, so no criminal, and so no cat and mouse chase.
Thus with heavy heart, and expecting another P.D. James phenomena, I opened the opening lines, and within first few bars I was being treated to the high tempo beat of bebop jazz, instead of a serene classical concerto which I had come to expect. The book is really an eye opener, with nothing confirming to the set standards of crime writing the book held my attention till the last page. There were scenes which made me sit right on the edge of my seat, and brutality that made me keep away the book for a minute in hope of removing the image created from my mind. Coming to brutality, Walters showed me that just like, one doesnt need to be crude to be erotic, a crime writer doesnt need to spill brains, or pluck out eyes to be brutal. The book was filled with scenes which had zero blood spills, but were brutal enough to make a man squirm. Thanks to her writing skills. The plot was neither a whodunit, nor a howcatchem. Though there is a subplot of child abduction, but the main pillar of the book never strays from the happenings on the Acid Row.
Summing up, I feel its very difficult to write a crime novel where the plot doesnt revolves around a dead body or a criminal activity in general. The book becomes tough, and readers like me get uneasy thereby resulting in unfinished tag. But, this one here, despite having the same features came out as a brilliantly plotted, fast piece of crime fiction. This book will go down as a must-read for any crime lover who is in search of speed, plot and believable characters.