by Richard Prescott
Reviewed by Pilar Domenech (15 years old. Eccleston School, Argentina)
“Officially dead” is a great story about robberies and alibis. I have chosen it because I love suspense novels and when I read the back of the book, I knew it would suit me perfectly. I also knew the story was about an alibi and that the characters were going to get a lot of money but I did not know how, so that made it much more interesting.
The story is about two men that looked exactly the same. One of them, Colin Fenton, had a software company; and the other, John Bentley, worked in a jeweller’s after being released from prison. Linda Bentley, John Bentley’s wife, made a plan to rob a jeweller’s where they worked. As these two men looked very similar, Colin was going to book a room in a hotel as John Bentley but he had an accident and died.
This accident was the best alibi they could have because everybody thought that John was dead. One day they finally robbed the jeweller’s and disappeared for seven years until they were charged with robbery.
I liked how the story was narrated and how the plot was kept during the whole story. This is because, since the two men met and until the police found the Bentleys guilty, the story was always exciting. My favourite part was when John robbed the jeweller’s because, as it was a place he knew thoroughly, he knew how to mislead into believing it was somebody else. My least favourite part was when Linda met the man who bought all the jewels they had stolen. I did not like it because it was boring.
The characters were believable and they made me feel part of the story too. The story line was also very good because of the same reason as the characters; it made me feel part of it and I wanted to go on reading, despite the fact that this book had been assigned as a school task.
The book, as I said before, attracted me a lot and that was because of the plot and how it developed. However, the end was not the best part, because Linda and John Bentley were caught seven years after and I think it did not make any sense. That was on the one hand, but on the other hand it made me think and realise that endings are not always happy or solved as I would have liked.
Richard Prescott is a very good author. He made clear points when he wanted to and also gave the story a bit of suspense when it was needed. The only thing I would change is the end of the book. I would have finished it when John was making the robbery and the police would have caught him red-handed.
I liked this book very much because of the reasons I have already explained, and I would recommend every teacher of bilingual schools to include it in the syllabus. Of course, it is a very good novel for teenagers and for everybody that likes suspense stories. The author’s style is also excellent because he made each paragraph more and more interesting.