Storey, is written by the talented, award winning British author, Keith Dixon. Paul Storey, recently resigned from the London police, has moved to Coventry to sell his father’s house. He meets an attractive woman, Araminta Smith, and becomes somewhat involved with her. Unfortunately, becoming involved with Araminta means he also has to be involved with Cliff, his gang and their plans.
Theme of the Book
Paul’s story is one of finding himself again after a traumatic shooting in London. All of the characters are struggling with their identity but only one will find the right path.
What I liked about the Story
While reading Storey, I couldn’t help imagining a movie starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. The book has the noir quality of many of those old films. None of the characters in the book is completely sympathetic. Paul Storey, the eponymous character, is complex and conflicted. Cliff and his gang present a humorous picture of bumbling yet dangerous criminality. Janice/ Araminta is yet another complex character. The hints at her backstory provide some ground for understanding her present actions but not quite enough for sympathy. This means the characters are human and not simply symbols of good and evil.
It is refreshing to read a crime novel with such interesting and complex characters.
What I didn’t like about the Story
I would have appreciated more of the backstory of both Paul and Araminta. While Mr. Dixon does, finally, tell us why Paul resigned from the police, we learn very little about Araminta. Why does she live the way she does? What in her past led her to set up elaborate cons and multiple identities? While the other characters, Cliff, his gang, David the “boyfriend” are also lacking back stories, their motivations and actions are clear. Araminta, however, as a major force in the novel, deserves more attention.
I enjoyed Storey very much and, in fact, had a hard time putting it down. Fans of crime novels who value excellent characterization over fast-paced action will find Storey a valuable addition to their libraries.