The Radleys: Beware – Vampires in the UK!

We chose this book because a) it had been recommended to me by my daughter, who had had it recommended to her; and b) because it was in a genre that was unfamiliar to us, but still fell vaguely within our normal reading areas – that is crime/thrillers for me, and crime/horror for my buddy.
It was also a TV Book Club Summer Read for 2011.
now the reason why we read it is out of the way, what did I think of it, and would I read more Matt Haig?
Yes, I enjoyed the first half of the book but found the plot increasingly ridiculous as it continued, and No, I wouldn’t read more Haig.
It really did seem to me that no matter what agreements the vampire community have with the Police, the number of dead bodies around the UK and the capabilities of crime technicians, coroners and medical examiners to detect ‘unusual deaths’ being what it is, someone would have noticed. the story that they usually picked people who wouldn’t be missed was thin. Very difficult to judge that without knowing everything about these people and clearly a spur of the moment killing wouldn’t cover that. throwing them all out to sea to cover their deaths – well, as it proved in the story – some come back!
I could however, imagine the clubs, but the increasing list of pop/rock/film icons who were vampires, got silly and spoilt the plot in my opinion. A very few of very outrageous or very charismatic would have been more believeable.
I liked the idea of the Abstainer’s Handbook and thought that it added a nice touch – but would not ‘blue’ steak or steak tartare set off OBT – Overwhelming Blood Lust? If not, why not recommend them them to eat it, or Black Pudding?
If you read crime novels at all then you will have guessed the plot twists early on, almost as soon as the brother appears on the scene, but I won’t spoil it for you, except to say there are some very heavy hints.
Some novelists say that they don’t know the ending until they get there – I wonder if this was the case here? We don’t really have a satisfactory ending is why I think this – unless the intention is to follow up, but I am not sure what could be offered.
Haig is a fairly straight forward writer with uncomplicated, straightforward sentences and chapters. this makes the book easy and quick to read. A great deal of it is through conversations that could easily be translated into the TV programmes ‘Human’ or ‘Eastenders’. I wonder if he therefore half-wrote it as a script? It would certainly work as a film and probably get good reviews as it would appeal to the mid to late teens audiences. but I wouldn’t go to see it.


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