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Posted February 2, 2011
Book Title: Sandman
Author: Ian Kingsley
Publisher: New Generation Publishing
Reviewed by Michele Tater for The Couch Tater Review
"Until we accept the fact that life itself is founded in mystery, we shall learn nothing." ~Henry Miller
Paul Vincent, an architect, is married to Shasa, a stunning beautiful woman, and father is their fourteen year old daughter whom thankfully took after her mom in the looks department. As their dream home is having its finishing touch done, they decide to take a much needed time off at a beach hut at Mudeford Sandbank in Dorset, England. What could be better than toes in the sand, fresh sea air to inhale and hearing the breaking of waves. As they lazily enjoy their holiday, they are not aware of trouble brewing in a nearby area.
The meeting of the "Sandman" aka Stevie Clark, and the Vincent's on the beach is anything but friendly. Stevie seems to be unable to communicate without a knife in his hand. Could he be behind the recent unbelievable violent attack on an aspiring actress, Carol Davis?
During a party hosted by the Vincent's, Paul has to come face-to-face to the realization of what his wife's constant flirting has resulted in. This momentous occurrence starts a series of events that has Paul questioning his marriage, Stevie accused of crimes that he insists he has not committed and a family forever changed.
That is just a small taste of the story line in Ian Kingsley's "Sandman". I am giving only a sampling of it so not to ruin the main courses available for the reader to savor. This book is, a no-brainier really, a day at the beach or pool side read, but I think reading it in the dead of winter can give a reader reason for warmth. You are able to relate to the Vincent family and are able to sympathize with them as well. Although you may think you have this book all figured out, trust me you don't, wait until the end.
Posted August 14, 2010
The Vincent family is set to enjoy some downtime at their Mudeford Sandbank beach hut, near Christchurch Harbour in Dorset, England. It doesn't take long for a shocking, brutal murder to disturb this tranquil setting in Sandman by author Ian Kingsley.
We meet Paul Vincent, his wife, Sasha, and their 13-year-old daughter, Leah, at a windsurfing lesson. We quickly learn how Sasha's flirting brings out the worst in Paul. Paul finds himself apologizing for a jealous outburst directed at the windsurf instructor. The point-of-view switches to actress Carol Davis recalling her horrifying rape on the beach not far from the Vincent's hut by a man wearing a balaclava. This two-pronged opening with a peaceful beach scene and a violent assault in the opening chapter hooked me instantly.
It has been said that good fiction must have conflict. Kingsley has included enough conflict here for two novels. An incident on the beach puts Paul at odds with a young disturbed loner, a man named Stevie Clarke. Clarke, known by the locals as "The Sandman" doesn't do well with confrontation. His resentment boils; he produces a large knife and aggressively warns Paul, "I'll kill you the next time you cross me." A short time after a jogger is killed, Paul informs the police that he believes Clarke is the killer. Clarke is desperate to get even with Paul for putting the police on him and he begins to stalk Leah relentlessly.
The police appear inept in their effort to catch the killer despite an obvious connection to the previous rape on the beach. Carol Davis contacts Paul and soon the pair are working together to prove to the police Stevie Clark is the killer/rapist. Leah's attempt to help with the investigation only serves to muddy her father's work when she hands over evidence that implicates Paul as the murderer to the detectives.
Sandman touches our primary emotions: jealousy, love, guilt, fear, hatred, and grief. As a father, I related to Paul's unwavering commitment to keep his family safe. I also understood his discomfort with his wife's tendency to flirt openly with men. Kingsley has written an intriguing mystery/psychological thriller with interesting, believable and well-developed characters. There are twists, turns, red herrings, and a healthy dose of hair-raising fear and suspense to keep even the most fickle reader captivated. The dialogue is authentic, and, along with the scene-painting narrative, you'll feel like you're on the beach witnessing the unfolding action.
Just when you think you have it all sorted out, the author changes directions-successfully keeping you guessing until the final pages. When you begin Sandman make sure you set aside a good bit of time, for you won't stop reading until the last page is savored. Highly recommended to readers who enjoy a great mystery!
Reviewed by William Potter for Reader's Choice Book Reviews