A warehouse in Japan used as an emergency shelter in the aftermath of the 2011 Tsunami. A distraught, young Japanese woman in dishevelled clothes sits on a box, holding her infant daughter. Ben, a US rescue volunteer, kneels in front of her offering comfort. They hug, the baby between them. The moment turns into an hour as the woman sobs into his shoulder; mourning the loss of her husband, her home, the life she knew. A picture is taken, capturing the moment. It becomes a symbol; of help freely given and of the hope of the survivors. The faces in the picture cannot be recognised, and that is how Ben likes it. No celebrity, thanks not required.
But others believe that being identified as the person in the picture is their path to fame and fortune. Ben stands, unknowingly, in their way, but nothing a contract killing cannot fix.
Many thanks to the Publisher Undertow, the writer Roger Bray and blog tour organiser Rachel Gilbey for the ARC in return for an honest review.
I loved Roger Brays Psychosis and I absolutely adored The Picture. His writing style is smooth and the attention he pays to the development of his characters is first class. This doesn’t mean that the sense of pervading tension you expect in a thriller is lost, because it’s not, it builds up as the novel progresses and t is all the better, because it catches you off guard. You’re sat there getting to know Ben, his daughter, Paul, Maggie and the villain of the piece and then you start to feel a bit anxious, a bit nervous, the tension subtly building in your shoulders and chest. You have become fond of the characters and went them to survive, but all of a sudden you’re e not sure, because Roger Bray has fooled you into thinking all is going to be okay. But is it? It is the act of a writer who is confident enough to let the writing snare you into the narrative, without allowing events to overpower the story.
The story itself is perfectly set out. The two storylines run parallel to each other as we get to know the background behind Ben’s connection to the photograph and then on the flip side the ‘others’ who see it as a means to make their fortune. I loved how it flowed together and how you never knew, or I certainly never guessed the final outcome.
I look forward to his next book and would recommend The Picture to anyone looking for a great character driven thriller.
The Picture can be purchased from Amazon.
About the author
I have always loved writing; putting words onto a page and bringing characters to life. I can almost feel myself becoming immersed into their lives, living with their fears and triumphs. Thus, my writing process becomes an endless series of questions. What would she or he do, how would they react, is this in keeping with their character? Strange as it sounds, I don’t like leaving characters in cliffhanging situations without giving them an ending, whichever way it develops. My life to date is what compels me to seek a just outcome, the good will overcome and the bad will be punished. More though, I tend to see my characters as everyday people in extraordinary circumstances, but in which we may all find our selves if the planets align wrongly or for whatever reason you might consider. Of course, most novels are autobiographical in some way. You must draw on your own experiences of life and from events you have experienced to get the inspiration. My life has been an endless adventure. Serving in the Navy, fighting in wars, serving as a Police officer and the experiences each one of those have brought have all drawn me to this point, but it was a downside to my police service that was the catalyst for my writing. Medically retired after being seriously injured while protecting a woman in a domestic violence situation I then experienced the other side of life. Depression and rejection. Giving truth to the oft said saying that when one door closes another opens I pulled myself up and enrolled in college gaining bachelor and master degrees, for my own development rather than any professional need. The process of learning, of getting words down onto the page again relit my passion for writing in a way that I hadn’t felt since high school. So here we are, two books published and another on track. Where it will take me I have no idea but I am going to enjoy getting there and if my writing can bring some small pleasure into people’s lives along the way, then I consider that I will have succeeded in life.