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Sunday, 12 July 2015

Mind the Gap, Tim Richards

Mind the Gap

Tim Richards

Reviewed by Richard Saar

For many years I was a real creature of habit when buying books, once I’d picked an author I’d pretty much buy every book they wrote. You know how you always order the same thing at your favourite restaurant? 

Well I used to buy my books the same way; looking past most other authors on the shelves because I went with what I knew and liked. Not that there was anything wrong with the other books on the shelf, I just didn't step out of my comfort zone very often. I was basically the dream customer for publishers reliably buying whatever my favourite author published.

However, a strange thing has happened since I’ve been reviewing books, I’ve had the opportunity to read many début novels by new authors… and I like it, a lot. So much so that I now search for the new names, the new voices that can present a different take on some well-trodden genres.

So when I was asked to review Mind the Gap from new author Tim Richards, I jumped at the chance. That he was also a fellow Australian piqued my interest even further.

Mind the Gap starts in contemporary London, well below it actually, as our lead character Darius Ibrahim commutes to work on the Tube. His normally uneventful journey to his unremarkable job is interrupted by a madman with a knife on his train. Darius, like we all would, tries to look like he’s not a worthy target, but when the knife wielding man spots him, it’s as if he was actually looking for him and that can’t be right; Darius is a nobody.

So starts a frantic dash to safety that sees Darius end up hiding in a storage room, get kidnapped by a strong and very mysterious woman who may well be scarier than the knife wielding madman, and taken to the unexplored dark depths of the London Underground. Even more shocking to Darius is his sudden ability to teleport himself to other parts of the world and out of the reach of all his new friends. It’s this ability he soon discovers that is exactly why everyone wants him.

Make no mistakes here, this is a fast paced, page turning story and Richards creates an interesting take on the alternate world’s idea. There’s a good deal of ancient Egyptian mythology brought to life here in an interesting way, and I always enjoy hopping between alternative worlds, however abrupt and confusing it can sometimes be in this book.

My sense as the reader though was that just like Darius, the main protagonist; you’re always on the run to the next chase, there’s no real chance to explore the worlds presented… and that’s what was a little disappointing

Just like a good sauce needs time to develop the flavours, so too did this book needed more time and space to develop all of its facets. There’s no doubting there’s some really interesting ideas in there, enough to have kept my interest throughout, but I was left with the feeling that I wanted more.

Could the characters have had more depth, could the world’s we’re introduced to be more deeply explored, could the plot have had a few truly unexpected twists and turns?

Yes to all of those points, this is a light quick read and as much as I wish it was twice as long, ultimately it’s a pretty good effort from a new author who clearly has the imagination to create compelling stories. I’ll be looking out for his next book and hoping to get just that bit more out of it.

Source: Supplied in e-book format via Netgalley

IBR Rating: 

Recommendation: Worth the read, it’s light and quick and it won’t tax you too much, perfect for travelling with an must for fans of Egyptian Gods and Dog Soldiers.

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Item Reviewed: Mind the Gap, Tim Richards Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Richard Saar
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