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The Beauty of the End
Debbie Howells

from FictionZeal.com re: The Powder Man by Paul Youden

The Powder Man - Paul Youden

It’s November and news reporter, Peter Kingston, is stuck with brainstorming ideas for a Christmas Bazaar.  He loves journalism, but his ultimate goal is to become a Travel writer and fly to exotic locations.  All at once, his boss, Dave Edwards, sends him to the magistrate’s court.  There had been a hit and run accident and the powers that be were keeping both the driver’s and the victim’s name a secret.  The driver turned out to be Nigel Ewell, nicknamed The Powder Man of the drug underworld.  He’d even been suspected of a couple of unresolved murders.  The magistrate will hold Ewell for seven days while the investigation goes on.

Out of the blue, it would seem, Peter gets his dream come true.  He’s promoted to Travel and his assignment is to dig into where people spend their winter sports season.  Elated, Peter does some research and decides to travel by car from London to Altenmarkt, a small ski village in Austria.  His friend, soon to become his very close friend, Sue, goes with him.  She’s a photographer and the plan is she can take pictures for his article as well as pictures for her own manager.  Soon into the trip, Peter continues to spot a black limo hanging around and notices the men seem to be keeping tabs on him.  They finally deliver a message, “We know why you’re here.  We’re watching your every move.  You should watch your back carefully.”

I liked the mystery as described in the synopsis, and I liked that it had someone other than a detective investigating.  But, all that fell off the pages when he was promoted to Travel writer.  At that point, it moved away from the mystery and from The Powder Man and became more like a tour guide for the best skiing locations.  Much detail was provided of the car trip itself.  At about 44% of the way through, Nigel Ewell was on the news as having escaped from the London courthouse during transportation to a high-security prison.  Then, he quickly fell off topic again until well past half of the book.  The reader knows The Powder Man is eventually going to show up again at some point, but instead many small details continued to be highlighted.  The characters lacked sufficient depth and I couldn’t relate to nor care about Peter.  The character’s dialogue seemed too formal.  Once, the car began to follow Peter closely, the action picked back up and held to the end of the novel.  By the ending, there was little character growth and overall it just wasn’t satisfying.  Rating: 2 out of 5.