Book Review – Double Echo

by Francois Bloemhof (Penguin) ISBN: 9781485903093

Bloemhof is a decorated South African writer and this makes his 24th novel for adults. Double Echo is translated from Afrikaans which attracted me to the book because I often find a fresh use of the English language reveals itself in the translation process.

Ex-cop Paul Mullan finds himself employed as a chauffeur in the household of wealthy, wheel-chair bound wine farm owner Bernard Russell. Over four days Russell’s daughter makes naïve advances on Paul while his sceptical and protective household staff mistrust him immediately. All the while Paul fights his feelings for Russell’s much younger, cliché of an ex-waitress girlfriend as well as his cop instinct on a number of mysterious fragments of this household’s past.

I was not disappointed in the style of the writing and the well-worded descriptions for characters and scenery. The book did however fail to meet acceptable standards of a compelling thriller. It’s as though Bloemhof pressed fast-forward just when the plot itself got underway and glided over any real depth or relevance to reach an all too convenient and thoroughly unbelievable conclusion.

Justine Cullinan