Captured – Neil Cross

CNC Neil Cross, if not consciously on your radar, may have been entertaining you for some time as the lead writer on the last two series of Spooks.  So successful is his screen work that the BBC is delivering another series from him in 2010: Luther, 'a dark psychological crime drama' starring Idris Elba and a few other on screen favourites.  This time last year, we saw his novel Burial hit the shelves and on 7 January, we now have Captured.  Both novels may have that 'a dark psychological crime drama' tag applied and it's something in which the author excels.

Captured opens with Kenny discovering that he has brain cancer and, at best, six weeks to live.  Then he writes a short list of names, the people he feels he let down somewhere along the way, and he chooses to use his remaining time to 'put things right'.  On that list is one Callie Barton, a childhood friend.  He wants to find her to thank her for her friendship and kindness when they were at school.  However, Kenny discovers that Barton went missing some time ago and even though her husband was cleared of any involvement, he does appear to be hiding something.

As with Burial, Captured is all about the delivery of the story, told in exceedingly pared down prose that sweeps you along at bullet train pace.  Again we have a story that is disturbing, suddenly taking on a very dark form and one that has some shocking violence, exhibiting a frightening side of human nature.  Cross certainly knows how to grab a reader by the jugular and feels like an unstoppable force in the genre.

[With thanks to Simon & Schuster for the copy.]

5 thoughts on “Captured – Neil Cross

  1. Michele Emrath

    So would you say it is well-written or not? Does the great pacing outweight the “pared down prose?” I’m not familiar with the screenwriting (living across the pond), but the writing does sound more geared for the screen.
    Michele
    SouthernCityMysteries

  2. Maxine

    I enjoyed (if that is the right word) this very dark, dank little thriller. My review is submitted to Euro Crime so we can compare notes in due course!
    It’s a very televisual book, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see it, too, on screen in due course…

  3. crimeficreader

    Michele, I wasn’t being critical when talking of the ‘pared down prose’, merely noting the style. Some will like that and some will not. The pacing does not need to outweigh the prose in this case; it’s the story here that counts. Expect something very dark that explores the limits to which a human being will go to achieve a goal, on more than one count and involving some characters you’d probably prefer not to meet in real life!

  4. crimeficreader

    Also Michele, it doesn’t read like a script as it is not overwhelmed with dialogue, although it’s a very visual book to read (as Maxine notes). Descriptions are minimal but enough to allow the reader to imagine and create their own feel.
    Hope this helps!

  5. crimeficreader

    Yes Maxine, ‘enjoy’ does not seem the right word perhaps, given the content. A very hard book to put down though! I look forward to reading your comments in due course. Will keep an eye out for them!

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