I quite enjoyed Jeffrey Archer as a teenager, so thought I should revisit this volume to see whether the writing holds up at all as an adult. It’s a collection of short stories, all of which contain a twist. While twist fiction is generally held to be a little hackneyed these days, it’s not something I mind personally. When you know there’s going to be a twist, however, it’s hard not to focus on predicting it, instead of just letting the plot unfold.
Trial and Error
Long and rambling, with unlikeable characters. The ending is slightly different from the one signposted in the story, but I actually felt like the alternative would have made for a better conclusion.
Cheap at Half the Price
Another set of unattractive characters, without the plot or the pay-off to make up for them.
Dougie Mortimer’s Right Arm
No real twist in this one, and not a lot of interest, either. Also, it has a first line that could’ve been great, but wasn’t. When you compulsively edit a story while reading it, it’s not a good sign.
Do Not Pass Go
This, like most of the stories in this collection, was supposedly based on a true story, and I’d very much like to hear that true story, because it’s quite an amazing occurrence. Although the very ending is a little pedestrian compared to the story, it’s nonetheless my favourite of the twelve.
Predictable and rather annoying. It seemed like a short gag that went on for too many pages.
I found this one enormously dull. Long-winded and not much else.
You’ll Never Live to Regret it
I felt bad for not predicting the first twist in this one! Quite a clever tale, that might have bugged me a little if it hadn’t been based on a real life event.
Never Stop on the Motorway
Very predictable from early in the piece, but the tension was built well nonetheless.
Not for Sale
Quite a standard short story, but entertaining enough.
Another one about annoying characters. There’s really not enough plot to make up for them!
An Eye for an Eye
Not a bad tale. One of the better ones in the book.
One Man’s Meat
This one has four possible endings. I personally don’t think it was an interesting enough story to warrant that, although some may enjoy the gimmick.
All up, it’s a reasonable collection of short stories, but not one that changed my world. I’m not quite the fan I was as a teenager, but I’m not appalled by my past taste, either!