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Holding by Graham Norton
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Holding (edition 2016)

by Graham Norton (Author)

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382298,882 (3.58)1
Member:Scarlet-Aingeal
Title:Holding
Authors:Graham Norton (Author)
Info:Hodder & Stoughton (2016), 320 pages
Collections:Your library, Read, Read in 2016, Mystery, NetGalley
Rating:***
Tags:Mystery

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Holding by Graham Norton

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I would like to thank Hodder & Stoughton for providing me with an advanced reading copy of this book.

Holding read more as light character study, both of the village and of the people who live there, rather than a mystery story. It was an excursion into village life, an exploration of the lifestyle and mentality of a small rural community: the not so secret secrets, the gossip, the interwoven lives of the inhabitants, and the fact that everyone knows everyone else's business etc. The mystery aspect however, was rather predictable.

In the beginning, there were so many characters introduced all at once. I got a bit lost as they were all thrown at me without any depth or description to make them take shape. As the story progressed I got to know them a bit better, but they were simple characters, they didn't have enough substance or complexity to catch my interest.

The writing itself is OK, it gets overly descriptive at times and although it didn't grip me, I did enjoy it enough to keep reading. It's the kind of book that's easy to read. One that you don't have to centre all your attention on, you can pick it up and put it down easily. It's the kind of book that you are able to follow even with outside distractions and interruptions. There were no big reveals or twists, and nothing came as a surprise. It just plodded along at a steady pace.

Holding is not a heavily involved read, it's perfect for a light distraction when you're unable to give a book your complete attention. But, if you're looking for a good mystery that will keep you guessing, this is not the book you're looking for. ( )
  Scarlet-Aingeal | Dec 9, 2016 |
I’m always a bit dubious when celebrities publish novels. Is it really them or is it ghostwritten? Ghostwriters are all about technique, capturing the voice of their subject and producing a well-crafted book to order. On this basis I think we can be confident that Norton actually wrote Holding.

It’s set in a whimsical Irish village which feels like the 1950s apart from a few extraneous cultural references (like the man who’s always carrying round an iPad for no discernible reason). There’s a village guard with a housekeeper, a nosy matriarch, and long-buried family secrets. One of those is unburied, along with a pile of bones, by a group of builders on a local farm.

The guard, Sergeant PJ Collins, calls in a detective from the city, who’s probably a graduate and knows about things like forensics but it’s not really necessary. The plot, such as it is, largely consists of people telling PJ stuff. Meanwhile he finds self-realisation just through proximity to an actual crime, it appears (though his arousal at proximity to a bulky builder in his car, which might have made for a more interesting storyline, turns out to be a red herring).

Each character arrives with a trailer-load of backstory and a skip’s worth of description (it’s helpful to be given the full inventory of the local shop and to learn that it stays open long hours for people who run out of things). You could say this slows the story down but if you cut it out I’m not sure what would be left.

There is the sweet little story of PJ striving to find happiness, and some gentle small-town humour, but overall it reads like that shaky first attempt which the wise author keeps firmly locked in a drawer.
*
I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. ( )
  KateVane | Oct 6, 2016 |
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With a real affection for its flawed characters and their back stories, Holding is at times heartbreaking, at others snortingly funny.
added by Sylak | editStylist [Issue 338], Amy Adams (Oct 12, 2016)
 
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