The Half Brother by Christine Keighery is a bit like a car crash. Not in the sense it’s bad. More in the sense that you can see what’s coming but are powerless to stop it. Keighery puts us in the heads of sisters Hannah and Stef – dissimilar but close when we first meet them – and their half-brother Alex… who we learn from the outset has quite a dastardly agenda which means Keighery is able to create a sense of menace that oscillates throughout the novel.
Book review: Dark Mode by Ashley Kalagian Blunt
For reasons unknown I initially thought Dark Mode by Ashley Kalagian Blunt fell into the ‘horror’ genre but then I read the publicity blurb and realised it was right down (or do I mean up?) my reading alley…. a thriller featuring a series of murders, inspired by a real-life serial killer! I must admit Ultimo Press has really hit the ground running. Though just over two years old TWO of my favourite three books last were published by the newish kid on the block, and this book by Kalagian Blunt is another stellar offering.
Book review: The Summer Party by Rebecca Heath
Fun fact: I’m rethinking the way I review books and decided I’d switch to instagram predominantly. The Summer Party by Rebecca Heath was to be my first attempt. So I jotted down some thoughts. I did pretty well initially with this…
Quick take: fascinating characters – some more twisted than others, long-kept secrets, dual timelines that intersect perfectly, well-paced with a series of twists that would not make Ben Shapiro* happy because author Rebecca Heath has kept secrets from us! Egad!
Book review: The Personal Assistant by Kimberly Belle
The Personal Assistant by Kimberly Belle crosses the new wave of ‘influencers’ with the not-so-new world of mommy bloggers with a blast from the past… the Single White Female-trope.
I was a smidge worried when we opened with the mummy blogger theme, thinking we’d been there and done that over a decade ago. What else was there to say? But Belle manages to blend that world with today’s influencers (albeit via Instagram rather than TikTok) and this decades toxic propensity for doxxing, serious trolling and bullying and and the dreaded curse of being cancelled. I mean… I was blogging over a decade ago when the mummy/parenting bloggers were a big thing and the side-chat was snide and bitchy but rarely encouraged violence or involved threats.
Book review: My Darling Daughter by JP Delaney
My Darling Daughter is the fifth book written by Tony Strong under the pseudonym of JP Delaney and I’ve (now) read and enjoyed all five. They lean strongly to domestic noir, featuring secrets kept between partners or husbands and wives and challenging relationships to breaking point. They’re also consistently clever and offer a number of twists and surprises so readers generally need to be prepared to strap themselves in.
Book review: The Blame Game by Sandie Jones
Even the blurb for The Blame Game by Sandie Jones is quite clever. Two voices. Two truths. Or one truth seen two ways perhaps? Either way… Jones offers up quite a few twists and a myriad of ethical dilemmas. I wonder if this should be used (for example) as a text book for psychology / counselling students as a warning about what happens when you cross the therapist / client boundary!!! Like a ‘what not to do’.
Book review: Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney
I must begin my review of Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney by saying how much her writing blew me away. I was only 9 pages in and realised I’d flagged quotes I’d like to use – either beautifully written prose or casually delivered poignant insights – and almost filled a page of the notebook I keep beside the bath (where I read).
I sometimes assume the writing in plot-driven books should hover in the background. Unnoticed so as not to distract readers from the unfolding action, but the seemingly effortless eloquence (I very much noticed here) did not detract at all from the plot.
Book review – White Noise by Mercedes Mercier
A publishing friend of mine (who knows of my penchant for crime fiction) suggested I’d like debut novel, White Noise by Mercedes Mercier. And they certainly weren’t wrong. I had the opportunity to read an early copy back in February, but decided to wait for the final before posting my review. Of course an unexpected trip away meant I wasn’t here when the final copy arrived, but now I’m back home I’ve been able to re-read Mercier’s debut novel and again very much enjoyed meeting prison psychologist Lauren.
Book review: Into the Dark by Fiona Cummins
Into the Dark by Fiona Cummins is the fourth book I’ve read by the English author and she certainly does domestic noir brilliantly. I was fooled here for much of the novel and quite surprised by the direction it takes. I note in my review of When I Was Ten I commented on her adding in a few twists when we assumed we had all of the answers and she does the same thing here. It takes a clever writer to keep secrets from her readers when her narrators are seemingly telling us everything we need to know.