Her latest, Local Woman Missing, is an intriguing read – unfolding in two timeframes. All of the bad stuff – women disappearing – happens 11 years ago, and in the present chickens come home to roost and secrets are uncovered. Or something.
The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides was released in 2019 and I very much enjoyed the British-Cypriot’s debut novel. In my review I talk about Michaelides’s background in psychology which allowed him to offer readers insight into therapeutic relationships. I also commented that I was very surprised by a twist at the end and – it has to be said – the same things are true of his new novel, The Maidens.
There’s less of a focus on psychotherapy here – though our lead character is a group counsellor – but it’s still very much a psychological thriller and I really did not pick whodunnit as Michaelides crafts a brilliantly complex web of intricate threads that could take us any number of places.
Vanished by James Delargy is a difficult book to describe. I assumed it to be a thriller, but as I started reading I was worried there were going to be some supernatural forces at play and that’s not a genre I enjoy.
I was a tad worried Legacy by Nora Roberts would be a bit saga-ish. I love her romantic suspense novels and ADORE her JD Robb series, but the blurb here sounded a bit more Barbara Taylor Bradford circa 1990ish.
Thankfully it wasn’t. We do meet our lead Adrian at various stages of her childhood then on a few occasions during her adult life but it’s less about generations of women or families and their legacies and more about Adrian herself.
It takes a little while to get to the ‘suspense’ part of this book but I liked Adrian and the fact her ambition is balanced with a sense of humanity, so was happy to be along for the ride.
Falling by TJ Newman opens with a bang and does not release its readers until the very end.
In fact I must confess I skimmed far more than I meant to here, but it was only because I felt the urgent need to know what would happen. I could not turn the pages quickly enough. I’m fairly sure I held my breath on a number of occasions and steeled myself (several times) for the worst.
Thankfully I’d read a number of reviews of The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward before I started reading it. It’s clever and well-written and some of the prose is quite magical. But I would have put it down just a few chapters in had I not known that it was worth ‘hanging in’ for.
In all honesty this book is a bit of a mind-f*ck. We know from the beginning that all is not as it seems. Our lead character Ted has (ahem) issues. Another narrator is a cat. Perhaps. It features much f*cked-upedness. But – once you get past the first few chapters it’s oddly compelling.
I apologise in advance for the superlatives but I do not know how else to adequately describe how much I loved this book. I’d requested it as it sounded interesting but had I been aware of the astounding beauty of Jacqueline Bublitz’s writing, and how compassionately and poignantly she unfurls Alice’s story I would have devoured it the moment it arrived.
I mentioned recently that books with dead narrators have become a little passé since Alice Sebold’s Lovely Bones was published in 2002. We’re no longer shocked or horrified or even that uncomfortable to be in the head of the recently deceased. Here however Bublitz manages to bring something new via the voice of a teenage girl we meet and then lose far too early. She allows us to spend time with Alice before ripping her out of her world – and though we’re left with the sense of anger, frustration and sadness that everything has been taken from her as she’s on the cusp of happiness – we’re also comforted by her continued presence.
The most intriguing thing about this book is that it opens with the death of Erin’s husband. (And I hadn’t read the blurb so that came as a surprise to me but it IS in the blurb so this isn’t a spoiler.) And then we leap forward in time and she’s on trial for murdering her husband months AFTER he (very obviously) suicided.
The options are obvious aren’t they? He faked his death for some reason… and we’re given plenty. Or Erin moves on and married someone else quickly in the interim. Jo Spain sets The Perfect Lie up really well so I didn’t expect the direction this book took. I mean, I’d considered the baddie could be the baddie but discounted it because, well… Spain convinced me otherwise.
Amy Suiter Clarke, author of Girl, 11 was born in America, studied in England but now lives in Melbourne. And everyone knows how much we Aussies like to adopt people born elsewhere as our own.
Suiter Clarke’s debut novel centres around the popular world of true crime podcasting. And like others who have offered similar books Suiter Clarke manages to balance past crimes – revealed via podcast interviews and research – with the events of the present. Indeed here it’s done particularly well as there’s a lag in revealing the podcast episodes that have aired when we first meet our characters. They’re referenced so there’s some foreshadowing of what’s to come but it’s timed perfectly to offer readers only a little insight into the fate that’s about to befall our characters.