46. ‘Parallel Lines’ by W Scott Beaven

Last year I reviewed Riccarton Junction by W Scott Beaven, the first in a trilogy following Kikarin, a beautiful and compelling British-Japanese woman living in the UK. Recently the author got in touch with me again and asked me to review the third and final book in the series, Parallel Lines. Through my business I also gave some editorial feedback and advice about the book, so I’ve read it cover to cover twice and know it quite well by now!

parallel lines

In this book Kikarin (aka Kiri) is now in her forties. She has had many relationships and several marriages, including one to an older man who died, and another to a man who treated her terribly and, in this novel, seems to be out for revenge because she crippled him during their last encounter. As the book opens Kiri is struggling to balance a new relationship and the joint purchase of a holiday home in Italy, a new job at the Courtauld Gallery in London, and a branch of her family in Canada who are plotting a terrorist act.

Kiri’s voice dominates throughout the novel, and you can certainly see that the years and woes have left her jaded. She comes across as always a little emotionally disconnected from everything, including the people she is close to and the more extreme things she goes through. This makes her genuine enthusiasm – particularly about her work at the gallery, or the Italian ‘priest’s house’ – even more pronounced. Kiri seems to be someone who is struggling to recover from old wounds, and she is certainly holding herself back from the risk of making new ones.

Beaven does a good line in contrasting the more mundane aspects of everyday life (angry neighbours, the practicalities of taking holiday from work) with sequences of really rip-roaring action. The story flows quite realistically – insofar as it seems a little random, a little chaotic, not always completely in Kiri’s control – and then suddenly huge, life-changing events will appear and really throw Kiri a curveball. As well as the terrorism subplot, there is also the general threat of Kiri’s past coming back to haunt her, and a very surprising and page-turning chapter set in Italy.

This is a well-written, often surprising book that weaves together realism and action really well, and will certainly keep you gripped right to the final page.

“Most people see the world through themselves; we go in and out of each other’s minds.”

Have you read this book? I’d love to know your thoughts!

Want to read this? You can buy the book here.

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