Sunday, May 5, 2013

Book Review: Best Kept Secret ( Clifton Chronicles #3)

Author: Jeffrey Archer

Date of Publication: 30 April 2013

Genre: Drama, Suspense

Legacy: This is the third book from the Clifton Chronicles series. The first two from the series have been bestsellers.

Age Group: Any


So, here's another disappointing venture by Mr. Archer, a man who has previously written so many wonderful books!

This is the third book in the Clifton Chronicles series. While I loved the first one, namely 'Only Time Will Tell', the second one ('The Sins of the Father') dragged so much in the climax, it became almost impossible to complete. The third one is even worse!

It picks up from where the second book ended - with the mysterious death of Lord Harvey, and the much-too-convenient hung vote of the jury as to who would succeed Hugo Barrington as heir. After an elaborate thought process that (only) Mr. Archer thinks will interest the readers, a verdict is announced, and without much repercussions gives way to another 100 pages of description about the MP elections of the Bristol docklands, and the stupidity of Sir Giles Barrington (Read: some lady Virginia something). All this constitutes more than half of the book. It is filled with information so trivial, boring, and tediously detailed that one might as well start reading the book from somewhere in the middle.

Then the book becomes slightly interesting, as Mr. Archer sketches the roller-coaster journey of Sebastian Clifton, the son of Harry and Emma Clifton. As soon as I began to think that, okay, now we are getting to learn something new, that Mr.Archer suddenly turns his attention (and several pages) to a huge Thinker statue and the nails which keep its base fixed, and Lo! it is almost as if we are back to the first half of the book. Why, just why do you think, Mr. Archer, that we would want to read long descriptions about how a carpenter removes the nails from the base of a statue?\

As for the end, it is very much predictable, but am sure will turn out to be twisted in the next book.

Not only does the story seem uninspired, but also the characters with the exception of Sebastian and Jessica Clifton (the latter kinda' seemed to be central at one point in the book, but was totally forgotten about later)seem boring and uni-dimensional.
If Mr. Archer were writing a screenplay, I would have understood, but he most certainly is no Jane Austen who could describe even the mundane of the mundane incidents so beautifully. He should have clubbed the second and third parts of this series and made a book of 250-300 pages out of them - at least then this series would have made some sense to me.

Oh, and yes, the reason this book was named 'Best Kept Secret' is the only best kept secret in it!

The only reasons I am not giving this book 1 star are that I completed reading it, and might still want to browse through the 4th book of the series. Sigh, what a pity!

Rating: 2 on 5

Positives: A couple of faintly interesting story lines

Negatives: Sluggish pace, boring descriptions of trivial matters

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