The Nearest FarAway Place - Reader Reviews


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Sue Laver, Gauteng, South Africa - 28 November 2001

"He suddenly felt foolish and, as Mike had predicted, scared. Foolish: because he was clinging to a past life, which he could probably never revisit. Scared: because for the first time in ten years, he had no way of controlling the outcome of his endeavours. What would really be achieved from seeing Sarah again? Their parting had been final as far as Sarah was concerned. She could be anywhere. If he did find her she could be infirm, happily married or even dead. And if none of these, would he merely open old wounds and bleed to death as he had done when she spurned him? He could cope without Sarah’s love but his driving force was to discover the reason for the sudden rejection. Surely, it was best to exorcise the bad times and to remember the affection and loving he had experienced. On the contrary, he was shortly to become a free man. No money worries, no responsibilities, no commitments but also no future, no focus, no contentment. If he did not try to find Sarah, then it would plague him for the rest of his life. Besides it would give him some sense of ambition, treat it as an adventure, Adventure: that was the way he had described it to Mike and that was the way he was going to deal with it."

Carl Denham is about to embark upon a journey with purpose. Building his business has been his all-consuming passion for the past ten years but now Carl, a software developer, and Mike, his partner, have recently sold out to a rival development company. Financially, they are both very well off and Carl can now pursue the other love of his life, Sarah Zurek. The unsolved mystery of Sarah’ s sudden ending of their relationship and subsequent disappearance remains etched in his brain. Now he is free to pursue the albeit painful memories and endeavour to find closure on that particular section of his life. Because he is in the computer business his first line of search is the Internet. Without much difficulty, he locates a Sarah Zurek but is she his Sarah Zurek? As the story unfolds the reader joins Carl in his relentless pursuit but the mystery deepens ... illegal immigrants, a possible suicide, long-held secrets and a venomous, schizophrenic ex-wife bent on revenge mix together to make this story not to be interrupted until the last page. Set against the backdrop of East Anglia but centered around Bradwell, on the coast, the reader is transported into the beauty and isolation of the countryside in this corner of England. Is there a happy ending? Does Carl find the girl of his dreams and what part does the mysterious Susan play in the story? Read the story, enter the world of mystery and mayhem and enjoy.

Derek Charmer, Portsmouth, UK - 03 November 2001

I came across this book by chance during a random browsing of the Internet. I was intrigued by the cover and then by the blurb, but I am a cautious person at heart and decided to visit the author's web site before making a purchase. There I found the first chapter and having read it, I wanted more.

We find that the protagonist, Carl Denham, has done very little in the last ten years but involve himself up in founding and running a successful business. When a competitor makes an unexpected generous offer to buy his company, he accepts without hesitation, since he wants to use the freedom to exorcise the reason for his workaholic years. Relating the story to his business partner, it emerges that Sarah Zurek - Carl's girlfriend of eleven years ago, had had a nervous breakdown and mysteriously rejected him. Carl is still in love with Sarah, and sets out to discover what really happened to her.

At this point, you might assume The Nearest FarAway Place is just a love story, but don't be fooled; Carl's search for Sarah uncovers plots and sub-plots, which take on murderous proportions. After the slowish start, you will rapidly turning pages eager to get to the thrilling climax of this author's first novel.

The book has an easy flowing style and just the right quantity of well-characterised goodies and baddies that you can associate with. This large-format paperback is quite long, but you will soon finish it and want more...

Robin Hernaman, Cambridge, UK - 26 October 2001

Who hasn't dreamed of what they would do with 2 million pounds in their pocket; the just reward for working long hours whilst losing years, friends and maybe much more?

The Nearest FarAway Place is a mystery adventure which starts with this premise and moves on to a methodical search for the lost past; a process which unearths dangerous characters who would rather not be found and reveals conspiracies extending well beyond the search for 'simply' the missed opportunities of a workaholic lifestyle.

The primary character is an unlikely candidate for the star role in this fast paced murder mystery; Carl Denham is the software expert in a business partnership which ultimately puts the 2 million pounds and freedom in his pocket following a takeover. But this particular 'nerd' combines his IT skills with a strength of character sufficient to unravel a 10 year old mystery to find out just why his first and only real love had ended their relationship so abruptly. Along the way he needs to survive the extremes of false accusation of murder and attempts on his own life; quite some programmer!

"I couldn't put it down" is a hackneyed phrase but is genuinely true for me in this case. The present day story graphically revolves around Silicon Fen (Cambridge, UK), East London and Southern England making it very accessible but also reaches out to the Eastern Bloc at the time of the cold war, adding brilliantly to the aura of mystery. The intriguing title of The Nearest FarAway place admirably sets the scene for the twists and turns the reader will encounter in this novel and the ever accelerating pace will leave you sleepless as you promise "just one more chapter" before lights out! I read this book in two days (and nights) flat, almost without pause. Read it yourself and I'm sure that like me you'll be scanning the shelves for Ray Crowther's next title just as soon as you turn the last page.