I’d had Lie by the Pool by Susan Walter awaiting me on my iPad for a while before getting to it. I’m not sure why I requested it, but something about it leapt out and I’ve seen other Aussie bookbloggers or bookstagrammers reading it too. In some ways it’s a proverbial sleeper. We come into the story part-way through. Bree has lost everything – her husband and house – and is living out of her car. When we meet her she’s sneaking into the poolhouse of a large house in Beverley Hills. It’s obvious that it’s familiar to her for some reason but that’s all we know. And that’s all we do know until Walter very cleverly starts pulling together multiple threads.
A Bird in Winter by Louise Doughty is a difficult book to describe. Ostensibly it’s a slow burning thriller – about a woman who goes on the run, slowly sharing with us the ‘why’. What elevated it for me was the (almost) syncopated way in which Doughty doles out details, as well as her beautiful writing. Sentences and phrases leapt out at me. It’s also most definitely not the book I was expecting it to be, and it unfolds in a way that’s weirdly unsettling.
This is the second book I’ve read by Romy Hausmann (her first Dear Child, was also translated by Jamie Bulloch) and I’ve enjoyed both. I’m conscious though, some might grapple with the subject matter Hausmann tends to tackle – involving complex family relationships with child-centric themes.
Here we meet 24yr old Ann, home one night for dinner with her father when the police come knocking to accuse him of being a serial child murderer – responsible for nine deaths over a spate of a dozen years.
Dark Corners by Megan Goldin features a podcaster. I’ve noticed it’s increasingly common for books to feature podcasters, or true crime web/streaming series and the like, and being able to switch up the narrative with scripts or other text is a useful device for keeping readers’ attention. (Interestingly I wonder how they’ll age. If in 20 years it’ll be the equivalent of us reading about telegrams sent a century ago or radio plays.) Anyhoo, it took me a while to realise this also felt familiar as it is the second in the series featuring Rachel Krall. It doesn’t matter if you’ve not read The Night Swim, as I’d certainly not put the pieces together for much of the novel.
Part-way through The Spy Coast by Tess Gerritsen I thought, ‘She’s done such a great job with these characters this will have to become a series.’ And sure enough, after I’d finished reading I went to add it to Goodreads and noticed it’s called The Martini Club #1.
It’s very reminiscent of Richard Osman’s Thursday Murder Club series – though given our lead cast are all ex-CIA agents – they’re like the residents of the Coopers Chase Luxury Retirement Village, but on speed.
Everyone Who Can Forgive Me Is Dead by Jenny Hollander was another freebie in my goody bag at Harrogate’s Theakston Crime Writing Festival in July. Given the state (ie. heaviness) of my luggage, I made a concerted effort to read some of the ARCs while overseas and leave them behind for others to find and enjoy.
Weirdly I’d just read another book about a ‘survivor’ and their guilt (or lies) so this book seemed most apt… although it’s actually quite different and is less about someone lying than about a survivor who’s pushed away memories of a tragic event from a decade earlier.
It took me some time to realise Day One by Abigail Dean was named after a particular school day, rather than a countdown of days (like Ruth Ware’s recent release), or referring to the first day AFTER an event.
I didn’t enjoy Dean’s popular debut novel Girl A as much as others, and I wondered if it’d been over-hyped, though I mention in my review that as Dean kept readers guessing for some time, I’d not engaged in the plot as much as I would have liked cos I was kinda confused about what I was reading. Day One similarly keeps secrets from readers, though we most certainly know there are some as Dean foreshadows the events of the present / past and future so – though we know we’re not learning about the events in linear fashion – we kinda know where we end up.
Very weirdly I read The Guest Room by Tasha Sylva while staying at an AirBnB in England and had to leave it there as I’d accumulated some extra books at the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival. I realised the owners and other visitors might be slightly perturbed because of its content (involving a host snooping through her guest’s belongings), but also hoped someone else happily whiles away their time with it while travelling.
Kill for Me, Kill for You by Steve Cavanagh arrived when I was away for work recently and I allowed it to leap over others on my TBR list because I was about to head to Harrogate (in England) to the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival and he was to be there.
I wasn’t planning on taking the book for him to sign as I’m not really into autographs, though do like chatting to authors… but I certainly wanted to have read it beforehand. However… there was an unfortunate bath-related incident in which the book threw itself into my bath (where I was reading) days before my departure.* Not one to be deterred, I dried it out in the winter air and gave it a day to two lest the pages tear as I turn them, before diving back in because though I was only about one-third of the way through, I was engrossed.