I was a latecomer to the DI Tom Thorne (and more recently Nicola Tanner) series but mentioned in earlier reviews that I disliked Tom’s previous love interest so was glad when they split. I’d forgotten he had a new partner here… and think it’s because Billingham took a break from the series last year to write the (very brilliant) Rabbit Hole.
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One of the Girls opens with a prologue and Lucy Clarke tells us then that someone dies on a hen’s* weekend before introducing us to the six – quite disparate – women who’ve journeyed to a remote luxurious villa on a Greek island.
We learn all of the women have secrets and some have hidden agendas… and though I expected this to be predictable in how it plays out, it’s actually far from that.
I bought and read UK-dwelling New Zealander Craig Sisterson’s Southern Cross Crime a few years ago. It’s not a book I’d typically choose given it’s non-fiction… (I do not ‘do’ non-fiction), however, I was actually studying my Masters of Arts at the time and writing an assignment on Australian crime fiction. I can’t now recall the gist of my assignment but Sisterson’s book provided a wealth of background on the history of antipodean crime fiction.
I realise I’ve been living under a rock… or at least far too ensconced in my little house on the outskirts of town, but I’ve only just discovered potato bread.
We first met about three years ago when my mother was having her (latest) hip replacement. I was waiting at the cafe of the private hospital and ordered a gluten-free ham & cheese toasted sandwich from the canteen. The staff member explained it’d be a while as they didn’t have GF bread there, but would get it from the hospital kitchen. “No worries,” said I. Cos I’m zen like that. (Well, I’m not but whatevs.)
I’ve only read one of Eliza Henry-Jones’s previous novels, Ache, and I loved it. It was beautifully written. Her latest Salt and Skin is no different. Her way with words is exquisite. Her prose stunningly eloquent. I already know I’ll have trouble writing this review, uncertain I can do her talent justice.
I must confess this book delved into a realm in which I’m less enamoured, as I usually avoid books featuring the mystical or mythical – selkies, witches, faeries, magic and the like. Of course I realise that in the past (and in the present) people are often labelled or written-off just because they’re different. Because they’re unique. Or special. The unknown is something that frightens many.
I’m not entirely sure why I’m reticent to delve into the whimsical. I suspect I’m too logic loving and pragmatic. So while I am very sure there are things in this world that cannot be explained, I also don’t necessarily want to divert my already-overthinking-mind to them. If that makes sense.
The Unbelieved by Vikki Petraitis won the inaugural Allen & Unwin Crime Fiction prize last year and it’s certainly well-deserved. I note Petraitis has written a number of true crime books and I’m not surprised as her story-telling ability is strong and attention to detail, impressive. This book and the events within felt real, as if we readers are privy to real life pain, anger and guilt.
Linwood Barclay opens Look Both Ways with a foreward in which he tells us of his father’s love of cars – one he inherited. As a result, he describes his latest release as a bit of a departure from his usual style. It’s less of a ‘whodunnit’ and more of an action-packed thriller.
It didn’t entirely work for me but (then again) I’m more interested in something plot-driven rather than action-driven. I can certainly imagine this on the big or small screen however; where belief can be suspended and the fast-paced visuals drive the narrative. That said, the pacing (plot-wise) works well in the book as the action doesn’t let up from the opening to the very last page.
The It Girl by Ruth Ware is an absorbing read. It unfolds in the past and present, both via our narrator Hannah. In the past she’s starting out at Oxford University, climbing out of her public school past and and navigating the quagmire that is university life – grappling with study and new friends (which I remember as if it wasn’t 35 years ago 🙄 ). And in the present, she’s married, living in Edinburgh and working in a bookshop – never having graduated from university.
Ware doesn’t keep us guessing why as the book opens with Hannah finding the body of her best friend and room-mate April but we’re then taken back to their meeting and the weeks and months leading up to April’s murder.
I spent a couple of weekdays at my mother’s last week. I haven’t worked much from her place since starting my full-time gig as she didn’t really have reliable wifi until a few months ago. And since then I’ve mostly been there on weekends or on brief overnight visits.
But for various reasons I decided on having a couple of full days at her place. We bought a new desk for her spare room last year, so it’s not like I’m hogging her dining table or we’re in each other’s way.