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by Simon Wood
Barclay, September 2002
309 pages
ISBN: 1931402302

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

For several years Josh Michaels has been dealing with his personal problems. His infant daughter, Abby, was very sick; his wife, Kate, was despondent; and he has been having an affair with his secretary during those troubled times. After having performed an act that would compromise his professional ethics, he decides to quit his racket and try to save his marriage.

As the novel begins, Josh's life has improved after many years. He has a job he loves and the relationship with his wife has improved for the better. On his way back home from a business meeting, he decides to take a leisurely drive and ignore the posted speed limits. When a car cuts him off, Josh's vehicle goes over a bridge and falls into the Sacramento River. When he pleads for help from the other driver, he receives a gladiator-type thumbs-down and is left to die. By sheer force of will, he manages to escape from the river and get medical help. What he is totally unaware of is that his past is coming back to haunt him and the killer known as The Professional is going to try again. Somebody wants Mr. Michaels dead and he needs it to look like an accident. The motives will become clearer as the book rolls along.

Simon Wood's debut novel is an interesting piece of work that shows the dark side of human nature where greed takes first place. The author explains the reason in a meticulous way and lets the reader knows that he took some creative liberties into the killer's motives. Most of the book is well written with an original plot and strong character development. The first chapter of the book is a powerful display of the written word that will leave readers breathless and exhausted after finishing it. The weakest portion of the novel is the author's use of the press and media integrated in the plot. Josh's former mistress returns with a vengeance and blackmails him. When he refuses she reveals to a reporter some of her former boss's indiscretions they publish it too quickly without a second look. It seems slightly irresponsible from the press and if the allegations were not true, Michaels could have easily sued for slander.

Accidents Waiting to Happen is a good first novel from a promising new author who knows how to design a good plot structure and give us a human story regarding an everyday family man. Despite the book's minor technicalities with the fourth estate, the novel is still a good read. Let's see what is next in store for Simon Wood. His next novel will be good.

Reviewed by Angel L. Soto, December 2002

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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