Pendulum, by Adam Hamdy, is an all action crime thriller that it is easy to envisage as a movie, not surprising perhaps when the author is also a screenwriter. It is the first of a proposed series of books exploring the world of the protagonist, John Wallace, a financially successful photographer whose life is turned upside down when a masked and armoured killer gains access to his home and attempts to hang him. John’s death was to have looked like suicide and this is just what the authorities believe when unexpected events allow John to escape and he turns to them for help. John is sectioned for his own safety. Having failed in his quest the killer determines to try again.
With the help of a sceptical but thorough policeman, John discovers that there may have been other victims, assumed suicides who left behind notes or videos on the internet exposing sordid secrets. Shattered families are unwilling to accept John’s premise that their loved ones may have been murdered. John must stay under the radar of the authorities lest the killer discover his whereabouts and finishes the job.
The killings continue but, with no obvious connection between the victims, the police are at a loss as to who this phantom could be or where he may strike next. John remains on his hit list and it seems that nowhere is safe.
The tension never lets up. John suffers many injuries as he enacts daring escapes yet he somehow keeps going. The body count rises.
As the clues scattered throughout the text start to coalesce the serial killer’s identity and aims are revealed. The reader comes to understand how he selected and gained access to his victims.
This is a very modern mystery but contains all the elements of a traditional whodunnit. The writing is taut, the story compelling. The reveal at the end induces a desire for more, as may be expected with a planned series.
There is a place for reading as easy entertainment and, despite various improbabilities, this should not be trivialised for filling such a niche. On a weekend when I desired a little escapism it was just what I was looking for. An enjoyable, well constructed suspense thriller. I look forward to the next release.