As an Amazon Prime subscriber I get the offer of ebooks to read at no additional cost and 29 Seconds was one of those.
I don’t read thrillers very often as so many are formulaic and become tedious quite quickly. That said, some titles such as Robert Harris’ Enigma and Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl are on my list of best novels I’ve ever read. There’s an excellent list here if you’re looking for your next best thriller to read.
So, I approached 29 Seconds in a spirit of I’ll give it a go but if it’s no good I won’t waste my time.
And I did almost stop reading after a few pages. University lecturer, Sarah, is being treated in a sexist, oppressive manner by her boss; her feckless husband has left her alone with their two kids and gone off with his girlfriend; her life couldn’t be more difficult. And then her path crosses that of a Russian oligarch mafia type with whom she makes a Faustian pact.
Yes, this far, this implausible.
But something kept my attention and the unlikely beginning evolved into a taut, easy-reading but exciting page-turner which had one of the best twists at the end that I’ve read in ages.
One time Daily Mail journalist, TM Logan is the author of 29 Seconds and several other best selling thrillers. And he can certainly tell a good tale.
A main theme of the book is the rampant sexism at the heart of academia. I don’t know how true to life this portrayal is but the author references Everyday Sexism by Laura Bates as his source material.
It’s fifty years since I was a college student and sexism was part of daily life both on campus and off. Feminism was embryonic but making rapid progress. Reading the free sample of Bates’ Everyday Sexism is a good indicator of how little change there’s been in relation to this issue. The Everyday Sexism Campaign she started in 2011 / 12 continues to document the daily reality of harrassment, bullying, abusive language and worse. And, of course, there’s the more recent #MeToo campaign as well. Checkout my #MeToo blogpost here. So, I suppose it’s likely that Sarah in 29 Seconds is the victim of workplace oppression on the scale described in the novel.
I think the idea of the Amazon Prime freebie is to snare you in to buy the other books. My 1950s Memories book, Cabbage and Semolina, was selected as a Prime offer for three months last year and it certainly boosted the sales of Jam for Tea.
I enjoyed reading 29 Seconds and I might try another novel by TM Logan one day but for now, I don’t really fancy any more thrillers.
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