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Past Imperfect #2 Kindle Edition

4 out of 5 stars 121 customer reviews

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Kindle, November 25, 2013

Length: 640 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews


'Matthews maintains the suspense... an engrossing odyssey into the seamy side of a world that is so near, yet sometimes seems so far. Compulsive reading.' --The Times

From the Author

First of all, I have to thank Joe Konrath and Barry Eisler for the inspiration to put my past books on Amazon through Kindle. I have had enormous support and encouragement from readers in the USA over the years that books such as Past Imperfect and Ascension Day should be more widely available to a US audience.

Past Imperfect became something of a landmark bestseller in Europe, selling over 500,000 copies and in 2004 was included in a list of top ten all-time best legal thrillers in The Times (London). Notably, it was one of only two books by British authors in that list - the rest were all American. Stylistically, think in terms of John Grisham meets Stephen King - IOW, a legal/crime thriller with a difference.

I have also taken Joe Konrath's advice in pricing competitively with all my books - so this gives US readers the opportunity of reading quality crime thrillers with a rich pedigree at a fraction of the normal retail price. It also gives British readers the opportunity of reading the same works on Kindle for the first time. Enjoy.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1827 KB
  • Print Length: 640 pages
  • Publisher: E-media books (November 25, 2013)
  • Publication Date: November 25, 2013
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0050P4N26
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #293,881 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

As any Hollywood executive will tell you, there are three main acts in a film - and I suppose it could be said that my writing career has followed the same path.

The first act was two novels written in my twenties, Basikasingo and Crescents of the Moon. Published by Hutchinson/Arrow Books in London, both did well, selling 100,000 plus. But I became distracted with other publishing ventures and didn't return to writing novels for some while.

That return (Act Two, if you will), was with one of my strongest books to date, Past Imperfect. A crime thriller with a difference - think in terms of John Grisham meets Stephen King, but with an atmospheric 1960s French setting - Past Imperfect went on to sell over 500,000 copies in 8 countries. The Last Witness, The Shadow Chaser and Ascension Day followed in similar crime-thriller style. This in turn led to me penning a film treatment for Past Imperfect and also a fresh film script, 'Blind School' (Act Three).

Part of this has also involved a book in a different style, crossing the mythology-political thriller genre, which has been particularly succesful with foreign rights sales, adding Brazil, Turkey, Portugal and Bulgaria to my existing list of teritories. Putting my back-list on Kindle - which has seen the three titles so far listed all in the top-ten legal thrillers list on Amazon (again!). And finally penning a new novel in collaboration with TV producer Richard Belfield (for which we've become J.R. Mattfeld) to kick-start a crime-detective series set in 1890s New York, the first of which involves Jack the Ripper (yes, you heard right!). More on that later...

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I took this book on holiday with me because I wanted a nice chunky novel to last me for my three weeks in the sun. It was the best book I read, in fact I read it twice and I enjoyed even more the second time around!

The plot, which at first seems complex but eventually follows several simple threads, follows a tragic car accident in California in the 1990s in which a young boy is left fighting for his life, and a horrendous assault in Provence in the 1960s where a young boy eventually dies from internal injuries. What ties these two boys together seems to be a life after death experience, and the California survivor suddenly finds himself able to recall the last days of Christian Roussel, viciously attacked then murdered by the debonair and sadistic Duclos, an up and coming French Politician.

The story jumps between America, France and England as the threads of these two young lives are slowly and inevitably bought together by a dogged and emotionally scarred French Detective, Dominic Fornier whose guilt over Christian's death 30 years previously has never died.

Moving back and forth between two continents and through time itself, the story steadily heads towards its staggering climax, proving that revenge and redemption can sometimes be served up in the same dish.

This is a cracker of a novel, and has the potential to be made into a really good movie.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Past Imperfect

This was a hard book for me to rate.

The author says the book is "a crime thriller with a difference" and I think that is a great description to use. The book starts off with two separate story lines that eventually merge into one. I found the first story line and what I will call the merged story line to be excellent. I found the second story line to be slow, tedious and boring.

The writing is fantastic, the author really knows how to tell a great tale. The characters, events and locations are very well developed and believable. There is plenty of action and suspense in the first story line and merged story line to make you not want to put the book down. I found those parts to be top quality reads.

I was a tad slow to work out how the two story lines tied in and, to my great dismay, when I did there was still a lot of tying in to go. This is the part that I found slow, tedious and boring. It was a real struggle for me to read it BUT I can see where others might not mind the approach taken. A lot of copies of this book have been sold and it has a high rating so I can accept that I am in the minority here but I need to tell it how I found it. I have not described this story line in detail as I do not want to spoil it for the reader.

Would I read another book by this author? Definitely YES!, and probably in the very near future.
Comment 54 of 58 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Full Disclosure: I bought this book when Amazon was offering it for free for the kindle. The same offer seems to come around every couple of months.

The story is fine; there are two overarching plots throughout the book: the story of a young boy murdered in the 1960s and the surrounding investigation, and the modern story of another young boy experiencing psychological issues after a car wreck. The book is described as a mystery, but since the reader knows everything about the murder, the real mystery is the connection between the two stories.

This could have been a great book if it wasn't so ridiculously bloated. Nothing else about this book could possibly be called a "mystery" since the author is determined to tell us everything that has ever crossed every character's mind, ever. There is a scene from the point of view of just about every major character, including the murderer, so for me there was no real intrigue.

Matthews also never uses one word when ten will do. Here's an example: "Dominic noticed Poullain openly flinch; then his head cocked slightly, as if he hadn't heard properly, his eyes darting fleetingly across the desk top for explanations before looking up again. The surprise showed in his face."

Basically, either of those sentences could have told us that Poullain was obviously and visibly surprised, but for some reason we had to have both. It would be a minor quibble if it didn't happen multiple times on every page. The very next paragraph tells us that a character "...exhaled audibly and waved a hand to one side. A dismissive gesture, as if the whole affair was suddenly unworthy of his emotions."

One of the cardinal rules for writing fiction is: "Show, don't tell".
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1 Comment 18 of 19 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
I picked up Past Imperfect by John Matthews and couldn't put it down until I finished. The character description, plot and local knowledge is incredibly detailed. This is one of the best books I have had the pleasure of reading in quiet a long time. No cookie cutter writing here. I do not understand why John Matthews doesn't have a big following in the U.S.A. already. Can't wait to read his other books, even if I have to order them from the U.K.
A MUST READ for any serious crime/mystery fan with the wits for more involved stories.
Comment 38 of 45 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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