“We are in terrible trouble as a society if we assume that any man’s life is so worthless that the manner of his death is the only interesting thing about him.” (Ch.21, 330)
The Echo is my second Minette Walters book after The Scold’s Bridle but this book is way more convoluted. A harmless man, Billy Blake, dies of starvation in the garage of a wealthy architect, Amanda Powell, with whom seems to have no connection. But a series of connections manifest as the sinuous plot winds on upon the probing of a journalist named Michael Deacon.
As the investigation thickens, so does the mystery of Billy Blake and the unusual asset of Amanda Powell, formerly Amanda Streeter, whose husband allegedly defrauded the bank and vanished. Billy Blake has a morality that is in conflict with social and legal definitions to right and wrong. His life echoes that of poet William Blake, who was obsessed with God. Blake has lived a life of self-purging, and has mutilated himself to evade identification. What has he done in the past that he has to erase all his traces?
The plot of the book only gets even more complicated, and Amanda is not what she seems. Her in-laws claim she has an affair with another man and together they conspire to defraud the bank and made a scapegoat of her husband by murdering him.
The book can be confusing at certain parts since some characters that are relevant to the plot are not fleshed out. But careful reading would pull you through. The consequence of these “unseen” characters is a sudden drop in dramatic immediacy. The themes of repentance and betrayal are written all over the pages but the course the story takes could stretch credibility.
351 pp. Jove Books. Pocket Paper. [Read|Skim|Toss] [Buy|Borrow]