Death on the Pier by Jamie West is West’s debut novel set almost 90 years ago on a Brighton Pier Theatre that longer exists. During a play in which the main character is supposed to die at the end of Act 1, she is found to actually be dead when the curtain goes down – but who is the culprit and why?
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Death on the Pier was sent to me by Jamie West himself in return for an honest review. It releases on 10 October 2022.
Death on the Pier focuses on Bertie Carroll and Chief Detective Hugh Chapman and their attempt to solve the case of the death of one of Hollywood’s most famous actresses after she’s turned to the stage in her twilight acting years. It’s a good-old-fashioned Crime book with varying characters, clues, locations, interviews and a resounding finale.
Death on the Pier plot – 4.5/5
Death on the Pier doesn’t try and blow your mind with its plot. One night during the opening show of Bertie Carroll’s new play, the main star is genuinely killed during a moment in the play where she was supposed to be “pretend killed”. However, everybody who could have committed was on stage at the time. However, when old rivalries come out, secrets are uncovered and truths come to rest, it turns out anybody could be the murderer.
I absolutely adored reading this. It isn’t challenging and yet it isn’t overly simplified. Death on the Pier is written in a simple way, almost like someone new writing their first attempt at an Agatha Christie – which I imagine is what West was aiming for. However, not to put West down, it is written well and it is written in an incredibly gripping way. The plot flows, there isn’t any useless filler and every page is worth reading.
It feels, like I said, like a classic Agatha Christie book – a murder happens at the start and then 90% of the book is spent interviewing those involved and then finally, without the reader really knowing, the detective has worked it out and it all seems to come together perfectly.
Death on the Pier characters – 4.5/5
West had me gripped very early on in Death on the Pier when a character whom we instantly take a dislike to manages to sway us around with a whole chapter in which she spends her time speaking to another character about her past and why people may dislike her and even shows a glimmer of hope that she may not be as callous and cold as everyone thinks.
Throughout Death on the Pier, West has Carroll interview everybody involved on the night, sometimes revisiting each. This gives West a great opportunity to really define their backstories and their personalities. It’s a real talent to manage to incorporate so many characters into a book and yet make each of them definable by their actions, reactions and the way they speak. West does this. Of course, there are some great red herrings in the book – there are some characters who are just downright dislikable and we want to be the killer and there are those that seem almost too nice and innocent that we could be fooled into thinking is the killer too. Very well done West!
Death on the Pier by Jamie West overall rating – 5/5
Death on the Pier was an absolute delight to read. I could have sat and read this whole book in one day. It’s a clever crime book with a swash of fun characters and a genuinely likeable main character – and it’s all so easy to read too. If you’re looking for the perfect cosy read, I couldn’t recommend Death on the Pier more!