Book review: The Point of No Return, by Neil Broadfoot
Connor Fraser’s latest adventure sees him charged with looking after a controversial venture capitalist turned life coach
In Neil Broadfoot’s sequel to the well-received No Man’s Land, he builds on the hypermasculine persona of Connor Fraser and his bloodhound-like instincts for solving crime. Fraser cannot escape his violent past, nor the infamous "Fraser temper," and here he links up with familiar faces in reporter Donna Blake and DCI Ford, as they attempt to get to the bottom of a spate of bizarre deaths and gruesome murders.
Stirling and the surrounding area are once again the setting, and Broadfoot does not shy away from the gory murder scenes that saw him nominated for the Dundee International Prize and the prestigious Deanston Scottish Crime Book of the Year Award. Fans of the preceding book can look forward to turning pages with sweaty palms once again as they follow a story that never stops twisting and turning.
The author’s past experience of working in journalism (including for The Scotsman and Scotland on Sunday) and then in PR for various Scottish emergency services has allowed him to transfer that knowledge into building believable scenes and storylines. However, his characters can seem a little caricature-like at times, with Donna now a high flying Sky reporter coming across as a relatively transparent, career-obsessed journalist, and Connor’s hard man persona belonging more to a time when the Sabini gangs patrolled the streets of London.
Nonetheless, the action flows thick and fast, with Connor overseeing a major event as a protection and security specialist and looking after Blair Charleston, a controversial venture capitalist who has reinvented himself as a personal and business guru after attempting to take his own life following a series of very peculiar events. High profile clients travel to a luxurious setting at Alloa House expecting a weekend of self discovery and lessons on "becoming their own god", but unfortunately for them the weekend is more likely to be about deadly ends than new beginnings.
Broadfoot, has been hailed as one of Scotland's most exciting up-and-coming crime writers and has even been described as having "one hand on Ian Rankin's crown as the king of Scottish crime" - Rankin himself has called the author "a true rising star of crime fiction." His characters may lack depth, but at least here we gain a greater understanding of what makes Connor tick through his new-found romantic relationship with Donna, who is again met with an unpleasant reality that leaves her wondering if she is somehow cursed. Broadfoot spins a captivating story, and does well to keep the reader interested at every turn by inserting just enough intrigue into each of his short chapters.
The Point of No Return, by Neil Broadfoot, Constable, £19.99
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