Thursday, December 31, 2015

review: a suspension of mercy by patricia highsmith

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Patricia Highsmith’s A Suspension of Mercy is quite the slow starter. The first three chapters simply introduce characters and give a bit of the setting. It takes an excruciating amount of time before the plot finally gets started with Alicia running off and Sydney, a television writer of crime fiction, being suspected of nefarious deeds related to Alicia’s disappearance. Sydney does little too dissuade anyone as his actions grow suspicious, especially while he uses his real life situation to think of ways in which a character of his actually would kill his wife. Highsmith spoils the tension and suspicion though by revealing the whereabouts of Alicia a little too quickly. From there A Suspension of Mercy is a bit farcical, but fortunately Highsmith heats up the plot again before the end. For all the slowness of the beginning, the final scenes are an excellently paced conclusion to the story.

About the audiobook: Originally published in 1965, A Suspension of Mercy by Patricia Highsmith was released on audio in October 2015 by Blackstone Audio and runs just over seven hours. Simon Vance is the reader. Although Vance’s accent would typically make him a good choice for a novel set in England, the main character in A Suspension of Mercy is American and Vance didn’t use any variance in accent or tone to set Sydney apart from the others. Sydney’s outsider status would have been better conveyed if Vance had used his voice to make Sydney different.
Review copy provided by Audiobook Jukebox.

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