Book Review : Lead Tin Yellow

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Image Courtesy: Amazon

Image Courtesy: Amazon

Robin was stunned! Why should his father chuck a bag of old newspapers over a bridge moments before he was shot? He was just a retired small-town engineer, so what secret was he hiding? He had lived all his life in a small Midwestern town and led a dull, gray-flannel life. The police were curious too. There was a ghastly murder on their hands. When Robin found a key with a tag in his raincoat he knew his father had deliberately secreted it for him. Now he had a clue, but where would this take him? There was something his father wanted him to know, and he had to get there before the police. It was now between him, his father, and his killers. The secret lay in Robin’s discovery of how lead and tin were combined by sixteenth-century artists to make a brilliant yellow. In his pursuit of his father’s killers, Robin puts his journalistic career on hold to enter a world of corporate thugs, unrequited love, and medieval art. He pursued his quarry, just as his quarry pursued him, from the East Coast to the Midwest to Quebec and back. His partner, a high-end fashion designer, and his quarrelsome but astute half-brother step up to fill in the blanks that help Robin get closer to his target. Events build up to a dramatic climax at which point Robin and the police have identical interests. The showdown is on the same bridge on which Robin’s father was shot. In his lifetime, Robin hardly knew his reticent father. But after his death, as he unpeeled his father’s life, he got to know of the courage and affection this man was capable of. A grave tragedy helps a near-dysfunctional family to rekindle an absent affection that should have always been there.


The book mentions an interesting factoid in the inside back cover – that the author is a renowned sociologist. Few pages into the story, and I have a glaring suspicion that his intentions in writing this book might be a sociological experiment. The premises seem to be exciting, there’s an anticipation of a taut thriller, a glaring mystery that compels anyone to pick up the book.

The story is about a journalist, Robin Miller, who is grappled with a sudden situation of his father’s death. As the blurb tells you, Robin unravels a mystery that leads him to his father’s secrets through a big maze of events. There are guns, paintings, a little war history, dysfunctional families, love affairs. It’s a mishmash of stuff the author wanted to fit into his story. The story is credible at times, but at other times, it would seem a bit loose. There’s a definite plot and thankfully not-too-many subplots to make things more complicated.

cbp1I read very few books written in the American free-style writing, for they mightily tousle the grammar. Coupled with unforgivable typos and printing mistakes, the book was a very tedious read. When you decide to abandon punctuation for the sake of god-knows-what at more than mentionable instances – it is taxing to the readers’ eyes. Trust me on that, as I am an editor too. It felt as if I had a manuscript in print waiting to be pounced upon by an editor. The narrative felt quite disjointed at times, and I wish it were written a bit differently.

Nonetheless, I liked the seed of the mystery sown in this book and hope the author will make more attempts to present such stories.

My Rating: 2.75/5

About the Author:

He is an acclaimed sociologist and taught for over three decades in a number of universities across the world. He has authored and edited 18 books on subjects as diverse as social hierarchy, ethnicity, fashion and public policy. He enjoys mystery thrillers and is an amateur bird watcher. He started the Business Ethics Division in KPMG and is currently serving on the Board of his country’s Central Bank. He now lives in India with his wife. Their son works in New York.

Book Details:

Language: English,  Genre: Fiction/Thriller

Author(s): Doug Gunnery

Publisher: Partridge Publishing, Year Published: July 2014

Binding: Paperback, Edition: First, Pages: 244

ISBN-13: 978-1482833935 , ISBN-10: 148283393X

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