Review: Exit by Belinda Bauer

Today I’m revisiting a book I read earlier this year, before I’d set up the blog; Exit by Belinda Bauer.

I was really happy to get an advance copy of this book as I really rate Bauer’s writing. The first of her books that I read was Rubbernecker which was recommended on Simon Mayo’s Radio 2 show (oh the days of Simon Mayo’s drivetime, oh the days of a commute!). That was a really well plotted crime novel and this was much the same.

The Book:

IT WAS NEVER SUPPOSED TO BE MURDER …Pensioner Felix Pink is about to find out that it’s never too late … for life to go horribly wrong.

When Felix lets himself in to Number 3 Black Lane, he’s there to perform an act of kindness and charity: to keep a dying man company as he takes his final breath … But just fifteen minutes later Felix is on the run from the police – after making the biggest mistake of his life.

Now his routine world is turned upside down as he tries to discover what went wrong, while staying one step ahead of the law.

My Thoughts:

Felix Pink is a widower, pensioner and Exiteer. He, along with a fellow volunteer, attends the home of those who have chosen to die, to keep them company in their final moments. Not allowed to participate in their death, the exit were are there to provide comfort as the person escapes from whatever terminal illness plagues them. But when Felix and new recruit Amanda attend the home of Skipper Cann, things go awry and suddenly Felix is waiting for police to catch up with him.

Felix is a man with one foot in the grave. His wife and son have both died and he has his own plans for when the day comes but for now he is content with his work with the Exiteers. Felix is a great character, and the plot sees him forced out of his comfortable life. The supporting cast are great too.

The plot, as should be expected from Bauer, is brilliant. In the opening scenes when things go wrong, I both gasped and laughed at what transpired (partly because it reminded me of a sketch in a tv comedy that I won’t name for fear of spoilers). I thought I knew what was going to happen…..I didn’t. There’s a certain amount of humour in this book and I chuckled quite a few times at the predicaments that Felix found himself in or his reactions to them.

This is a standout book for me, wonderfully plotted, memorable characters and great writing; it went straight into my best of 2021 list. The age of the main character and the fact that he is trying to solve a crime will no doubt draw comparisons so The Thursday Murder Club and if those comparisons draw readers in then that’s great. But for me, whilst I thoroughly enjoyed TTMC, this is the superior book.

I have thoroughly enjoyed every book of Bauer’s that I’ve read and she has got to be one of the best crime fiction writers in the UK right now. This has prompted me to pick up the ones in her back catalogue I haven’t read yet and I’ll be looking forward to reading what she writes next. 

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