Panic Room

Panic Room

Author
Robert Goddard
ARRSE Rating
5 Mushroom Heads
A PANIC ROOM, a missing room in a big mansion called Wortalleth West set in rural Cornwall owned by a rather dark character who is wanted by the US authorities for corporate crimes including bribery, who is this man? Well even though he is a shady character he also comes across as a very likeable chap, which I suppose most shady people do, his name is Jack Harkness and he is the owner and CEO of HARKNESS PHARMECUTACELS which have their HQ in Switzerland. Jack very rarely visits this mansion and in fact has signed the house over to his soon to be ex wife who he is divorcing. Jack meanwhile lives in his large very salubrious London mansion.

So we have a big mansion built by a Mr Harkness and which is empty bar the live in Housekeeper "Blake" who is a youngish 20 odd year old lady who we get to meet rather early on as she narrates her part through the the book. Poor Blake, she has come from a troubled up-bringing and has escaped her past to live in the idyllic setting of Cornwall in this beautiful house complete with indoor swimming pool, we meet Blake swimming blissfully naked all alone, well that's till Don Challenor lets himself in with keys that have been given to him by his ex wife Fran who is a solicitor working for the new owner, Mrs Harkness who wants the house sold ASAP. Don is an out of work, well freelance estate agent who has been tasked with getting full particulars along with floor plans and photos of the mansion, it should take a couple of days and for his troubles will get handsomely paid together with generous expenses. Too good to turn down? Hmm, well that would be telling.

Blake is shocked, who wouldn't be but Don and Blake quickly learn to trust each other especially when Don convinces her that he is on the level so to speak and will be out of there within a few days, maybe even the next day, without giving the game away a book lasting 372 pages wouldn't last that long if that was the case.

The author Robert Goddard has written a large number of novels one of which was turned into a TV drama starring the late John Thaw which tells you that the quality of writing is up there with the best of them. This book certainly is, and Don Channelor who is described as 50 odd years old and who drives a 1973 MGB GT really does come to life as does the vulnerable yet at the same time confident Blake.

Now other characters are introduced, which also vividly jump from the pages from unlikeable and highly undesirable Russians to a local old witch, yes a real life modern day curses and all witch.

Don sets to work measuring, he measures some more and finds a void, the measurements don't measure up, hmmm, he attempts to get the plans with no avail. He phones Fran who tells him not to worry and to get back to London ASAP, of course he doesn't. Questions come about when he talks to Blake about his concerns, these questions and the mystery of the missing plans need answering, the missing plans are not the only thing that is missing.

This book takes us to Cornwall, London, Birmingham and Switzerland, as Blake and Don attempt to find answers, it has more twists and turns than Spaghetti Junction but it is so well written that it just flows and flows and to quote a cliche it is a real page turner. If you are planning on a long flight or lazing by the pool this summer I would recommend you take this book as your companion, you won't be dissapointed, it is full of drama and in places full of laughs.

A great entertaining read with some great characters well worth five mushroom heads.

Author
Gout Man
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