The fact that I am not an experienced reader of crime novels saw me through the first third of Snap, during which I gasped and groaned about the mediocre writing. During the multitude of cliches, frequently bad similes and irritating characters I kept on thinking that maybe I was judging too harshly because of my inexperience with the crime genre. However by about the half way mark I actually realised that I was beginning to enjoy the novel. The narrative threads began to converge nicely and I started to want to know what was going to happen. Snap has some typical crime tropes (even I know what they are...) such as a disappearance, a murder, abandoned children, burglaries, hapless provincial police and a grizzled hard-ass detective called, of all things - Marvel, looking to restart his career. The principal protagonist, fourteen year-old Jack, is a sympathetic character, who believes that he has found the knife that killed his mother and just needs to convince the police of that fact whilst avoiding being prosecuted for his multitude of petty crimes as a semi-mythical character known as 'Goldilocks'.
Snap is reasonably paced and keeps you interested enough to see it through to the denouement, which manages to be both satisfying and disappointing at the same time (the very end of the novel is just terrible!). I had to think carefully about what rating I was going to give Snap, but decided that the fact that Bauer managed to win me over in the end and on the whole it was an enjoyable read it would be rewarded with my equivalence of three stars (admirable), although really it is a two and a half star novel, if I used that rating system. Read Snap if you want something quick and entertaining to get you through the week, otherwise best to read the late Australian crime novelist Peter Temple, who had some style at least...
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