REVIEW: Boy in the Well, Douglas Lindsay

Monday, 10 June 2019

The body of a young boy is discovered at the bottom of a well that has been sealed for two hundred years. Yet the corpse is only days old... No one comes forward to identify #Boy9, and DI Ben Westphall's only suspects are the farmers on whose land the well sits. They certainly seem as though they have something to hide. But it might not be what he thinks. Soon, similarities from an old crime emerge and Westphall must look to the past to piece together the dark and twisted events taking place in the present.

When, I think of surrealist literature, my mind tends to move towards the classics; weird and wonderful pieces of mind-tangling prose that stem from underground political movements and the fringes of art scenes the world over.
I don’t think of crime novels.
And yet, this is the direction in which Douglas Lindsay’s The Boy in the Well is trying to push: towards odd conflations of mismatched scenes and characters who rant about aliens, government conspiracies and the coming of the end of the world.
It was bizarre, to say the least, but not at all in a good way.
Instead, it felt like something that came from a thinking-on-the-spot acting workshop: suggest a character, location, conversation subject, go.
But, crime novels do not work like that. 99.9% of them, anyway.
And only then if the novel is in the hands of Salvador Dali.
It almost felt like, in the attempt of making his novel stand out in the over-saturated crime market, Douglas Lindsay put the aesthetics of the novel over its heart and soul. And, we all know, especially when it comes to this genre, style over substance never ever works as well as the author thinks it is going to.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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