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Into The Blue (2006)

Into the Blue (2006)

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3.89 of 5 Votes: 5
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0385339194 (ISBN13: 9780385339193)

About book Into The Blue (2006)

We meet Harry Barnett sitting on a rock on the side of a Greek mountain, waiting for his companion to come back from walking up to the summit. Heather Mallender is a new acquaintance, a young woman taking a short holiday at the house in Rhodes that Harry takes care of for a rich friend. Harry is starting to get worried, as she's taking a lot longer to come back than she should. He finally decides to go look for her, but it's in vain. The only trace of her is her scarf tangled on a branch.Reporting the disappearance to the Greek police, Harry finds himself under suspicion of having murdered Heather. Turns out the reason Harry is eking out an existence in Rhodes, taking charity from his friend, is because he was unjustly fired from his job in England. And that job was in Mallender Marine, owned by Heather's family. That's enough of a motive right there for anyone concerned, and though the police indicate after a while that he's no longer a suspect, the English tabloids have a field day with him.And then Harry finds an indication that there might be something mysterious about Heather's disappearance and feels compelled to investigate. This means returning to England, a country that doesn't feel like home any longer. There Harry sets out to retrace Heather's steps before her disappearance, hoping this will help him understand what happened.This is my second Robert Goddard book. The first one I tried really didn't appeal to me at all. In Pale Battalions was was all over-the-top dysfunctional families, more soap opera than mystery, and that wasn't really my thing. Into The Blue is completely different. It's a dense, atmospheric mystery, and a genuinely intriguing one. Unfortunately, it turns out to be a bit unsatisfyingITB has a very interesting and atypical character. Harry Barnett is middle-aged and paunchy and he's a bit of a loser, really. All he's tried has failed, the garage he set up with a friend, his job at Mallender Marine. When he comes back to England all he has is his friendship with Alan Dyeshart (not sure of the spelling, as I listened to the audiobook), the rich MP whose house he was taking care of in Rhodes. Actually, the other thing Harry has is persistence, as well as a great deal of determination to find out what happened to Heather.With Alan's financial backing, Harry painstakingly follows the clues, going where Heather has gone, talking to the people she spoke to and trying to find out what was said. There are a lot of potential paths to follow, and we're never quite sure which one is the right one, or even if different ones might turn out to be connected. I enjoyed the investigation, even though it's a bit too long. It took a little while to really get going at the start, and then things developed quite slowly, as Harry went from one place to another. I didn't quite get bored, but I remember feeling even when I hit the halfway point that I'd been listening to this book forever! Still, it kept moving and with each discovery there was a feeling of progress being made, so I kept reading with interest.As the book progressed, though, I liked Harry less and less. And the problem was that I got the feeling the things that bothered me went completely unremarked by the narrative. I wasn't supposed to be bothered by things like him sleeping with a woman and then getting really angry because she'd "made him" betray her husband, who was a friend. I wasn't supposed to be bothered by the way he gets so pissed off at another woman because he feels she's made a fool of him, when it's painfully obvious that the only reason she's done so is because the consequences to her if she hadn't would have been really dire. He was a character who felt quite dated. The ending was a big problem as well. It all ends in a bit of a whimper. The big revelation was not particularly surprising, and then Harry's entire investigation turns out to be kind of pointless. He does make a big, quite impressive deduction, but then we find out that someone else has taken actions that make the whole thing a moot point. Plus, as with Harry's character, the nature of a lot of what is revealed feels very dated, and not in a good way. The perils of reading older books! MY GRADE: A C+.

Okayish. This book had a really great opening – a man is standing alone on a footpath near some cliffs in Rhodes waiting for a woman to return from her hike. He waits and waits and waits. It gets dark. She doesn’t return. He reports her disappearance to the police and gets put in jail because everyone is convinced he has murdered her. Her body is never found, he is convinced she is still alive, so once he is released from jail, he sets off to find her, following a series of photographs she took before she disappeared. They take him back to England and as there is a connection between his past and the missing woman’s – in following her past, he is forced to revisit his own. It’s at this point the book puts on screeching breaks and I went from not being able to put the book down to being very easily able to put it down every night after only reading a few pages. The locations were great and the characters interesting but there was just something missing that really disconnected me from the story. I felt like I should want to know what happened to the woman so I kept going. But it ended up taking me two weeks to get through a book that I could have finished in a weekend if I was really into it. Things did pick up again at the end, however, and the ending was satisfying. But the whole middle chunk of the book kept it from being a great read.

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I bought this book entirely because I want to go on holiday and it's not happening. So a novel set in Rhodes seemed a good choice. I've not read any Robert Goddard before. But I suspect I will read more after this. I'm really enjoying it. Good story. Shame the character has returned to the UK winter at the moment, but I'm hopeful of his return to the sunshine.More later. But a good one so far.******Excellent read! I really enjoyed this book. I had no idea about what was really going to be the outcome. A very believable read and very intelligently written. This book has the honour of making me look up the meaning of more words than I've looked up since junior school! I was forever taking advantage of Kindle's built-in dictionary to check meanings of words. It's nice to read a writer who has used language fully and easily. English is a beautiful, if baffling, language and I'm sick of how dumbed down it is getting in the mass market.Well done Robert Goddard. I see you have an extensive back catalogue which I am now planning on working my way through. But you never did take Harry back to Lindos, so for now I'm going to read a summery romance set on Sardinia, just for the holiday ambience. I will, however, be back.

Well, he did it again! Robert Goddard, that is. I am working my way through his books in chronological order, and this is the fourth one I've read so far. In every book, he sucks me into the plot in short order, and I have to finish the book. Goddard is a master of the plot twist (each book seems to have a surprise at the end which I, at least, didn't predict). In this book (and perhaps in all of those I've read so far), the identity of the 'bad guy' (the who) is less important than the why, and that is what you learn only at the very end. It feels like the author peels away the layers of the mystery very gradually, and entices you into continuing so you can learn more.A common theme in his books (at least the ones I've read so far) is that the male protagonist is always a weak individual who often has failed in life; as the plot moves on, you sense that this character stiffens his backbone progressively, although never quite to the extent that he redeems himself completely. In this book, as in earlier ones, the main character succeeds in his goal of unraveling the mystery, which is by itself often a major achievement, but still has failings that he doesn't overcome.Again, I can't help but recommend this book, another Robert Goddard novel of rich complexity.
—Bryan Higgs

One of my favourite authors whose writing style and complex plotting sets him way above most of his contemporaries. This is the first in a series of three books about a middle-aged failed businessman called Harry Barnett who never has much luck or money but somehow gets sucked into great adventures with enough magic beans for travel and pubs, while younger better looking women constantly fall for his charms. If you can handle that then you’re in for a brilliant ride solving intriguing mysteries and avoiding danger with lots of guessing and plenty of twists and turns. Harry is living on the island of Rhodes, caretaking a villa for an old friend, who is a rising star politician in the Thatcher government in 1988. Harry befriends a young English woman who disappears whilst on a visit to the top of the local mountain. Her body is not found but Harry is arrested and suspected of foul play. When he is released he collects her photos and begins to piece together her past by following the photographs in an effort to unravel the mystery of her disappearance and to clear his name, but the deeper he digs, the more dangerous it all becomes. A very entertaining book.
—R.J. Harries

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