Review: The Distance by Helen Giltrow

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Publisher: Doubleday
Publishing Date: September 2014
ISBN: 9780385537001
Genre: Mystery
Rating: 2.0/5

Publisher Description: Charlotte Alton is an elegant socialite. But behind the locked doors of her sleek, high-security apartment in London’s Docklands, she becomes Karla. Karla’s business is information. Specifically, making it disappear. She’s the unseen figure who, for a commanding price, will cover a criminal’s tracks. A perfectionist, she’s only made one slip in her career—several years ago she revealed her face to a man named Simon Johanssen, an ex-special forces sniper turned killer-for-hire. After a mob hit went horrifically wrong, Johanssen needed to disappear, and Karla helped him. He became a regular client, and then, one day, she stepped out of the shadows for reasons unclear to even herself. Now, after a long absence, Johanssen has resurfaced with a job, and he needs Karla’s help again.

Review: Cover art sux. The side of a car and half a redhead’s face?

(zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz)…WHA? Oh yeah review time. If you read the reviews on this novel, you would think that it is up for the Nebula/PKD/Edgar/Hugo/Nobel award(s). For instance the accolades read like the author’s that pay Kirkus. “Expertly done!”. “An incredible debut!”. What was funny was one reviewer stated plainly that she didn’t like it but gave it 5 stars.

This was a really boring novel. From the story-line to the characters. So much time is spent on a dreary story-line and insipid dialogue that the characters are never fully developed. The premise that there is some hidden lockup facility is absurd and that anyone would entertain getting someone in to kill a woman that may or may not exist and then extracting said killer from an impenetrable shell is laughable. Then there is this “shadowy” organization that Charlotte works for. Really? Shadow-kee-dee-boom-boom. Why the cloak and dagger? Who gives a shjt? Charlotte needs to determine if this is a legitimate assassination as the mark may or may not exist. Wouldn’t you figure that out before you took the job? What is a legitimate assassination anyway? That’s like an having an optimal enema or a refreshing prostate exam. The scene descriptions are exhaustive. For instance Karla is going to bust into an office complex and this soon turns into a chapter on what every frickin’ office looks like. From the copiers to a glazed bookcase then back to another office. How is this suspenseful?

I feel like the red-headed step kid who gets picked last for sand lot games. While everyone in review-land raves and praises this work, I feel that maybe I should have read this with more alacrity and focused discernment on the hidden emotive climes that existed within and between the characters as they groped in an endless sea of dark, machinating and tentacled agendas…BAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

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