Written by: James Keen
“It always helps to know what you’re getting into.”- ‘The Safe Man’.
One of the shining lights in modern crime-fiction has turned his hand to writing something with a supernatural flavor and while it’s an intriguing break from his usual fictional output, it’s one that unfortunately produces only fair-to-middling results.
Connelly introduces us to thirty-nine year old Brian Holloway in ‘ The Safe Man’, a character with some talent as a safe-cracker, a man with money worries and a wife eight months pregnant. Holloway takes a tricky job on; that of attempting to open a rather unique safe located in the floor of a mansion currently home to a rather arrogant novelist.
As the author takes us onward through his plot, he drops hints as to where we could be headed and, of course, some of these literary threads are deliberately misleading. This is, at times, a refreshing change of pace for Connelly and while the tale’s denouement is not particularly unique, it is, taken as a whole, related in an extremely effective manner, with Connelly displaying the usual economic verve with his choice of diction.
To say more would be to do a disservice to what is, essentially, a lengthy short story. Fans of Connelly’s fiction might find this, as this reviewer did, an appealing proposition, though just don’t expect this combination of story elements to crack open and reveal anything you haven’t already come across before.