Book review: The Bluffs by Kyle Perry

Thursday, July 9, 2020 Permalink

The Bluffs is the debut novel by Kyle Perry and a lot of reviewers I know have loved this book. So… my thoughts deviate a little from the norm.

Don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed the book. I read it in a sitting and (eventually) turned the pages quickly, keen to learn more.

But it took me a while to get to that point. In fact I almost put it aside (to read later) a few times in the first few chapters.

The structure confused me as did the obvious reference to Picnic at Hanging Rock. I adored Joan Lindsay’s novel but HATED the posthumous final chapter that leapt into the supernatural. So, talk of portals and other realms here almost had me running for the… (ahem) bluffs.

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three-half-stars

Book review: The Patient by Jasper DeWitt

Tuesday, July 7, 2020 Permalink

It’s been a while between books set in psychiatric facilities. There seemed to be a spate of them for a while. Books about current or former ‘institutions’ featuring some of horrific practices of the past and those remaining today (well, at least in the more sordid settings popping up in crime fiction and thrillers).

The Patient by Jasper DeWitt is written as if a first-hand account (via online forum) by a Ivy League graduate who—for various reasons—accepts a posting at an old and obscure mental health facility in Connecticut.

Our lead Parker uses initials and pseudonyms to talk about a patient and colleagues he comes across at the facility. He’s arrogant and he’s open about—what he believes to be—his superior intelligence and insight. It could make him unlikeable but he also acknowledges this arrogance and is honest in revealing his misjudgements and failings.

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three-stars

Book review: The Last Wife by Karen Hamilton

Friday, July 3, 2020 Permalink

The Perfect Girlfriend by Karen Hamilton, released in 2018, came as a bit of surprise and I enjoyed it far more than I expected. I comment in that review that it offered something a bit new. Something fresh.

Hamilton’s new novel, The Last Wife is similarly twisty. Again she gives us an unreliable narrator (who we grow to like, or at least understand), a support cast who have their own secrets and adds in a few twists when we think we’re on the home stretch.

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four-stars

Book review: The Half Sister by Sandie Jones

Wednesday, June 24, 2020 Permalink

I’ve read a few twisty books lately and The Half Sister by Sandie Jones is yet another. It’s probably a little (well, very) deceiving as several times I thought I knew what was happening. In fact, I often felt a sense of frustration as it felt far too obvious and predictable.

But of course I was wrong on those occasions and Jones takes readers in another direction entirely.

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four-stars

Book review: The Other Passenger by Louise Candlish

Monday, June 22, 2020 Permalink

The Other Passenger by Louise Candlish is the type of book that throws in an extra twist, just as you think you have things worked out.

In many ways it felt as if the narrative was ‘finished’ a number of times before it was. I kept looking at how many more pages remained wondering how on earth Candlish would eke the book out further. But… it’s because she takes the story in several directions we don’t expect… though wonder later how we didn’t predict their occurrence.

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four-stars

Book review: The Broken Ones by Ren Richards

Sunday, June 7, 2020 Permalink

I enjoyed The Broken Ones by Ren Richards, best known for her YA and middle-grade books (writing as Lauren DeStefano). I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but Richards blends two mysteries into this novel seamlessly, giving both equal levels of intrigue.

I really liked some of the relationships on offer as well, particularly the bond between sisters and the extent to which we go to protect and preserve ‘family’.

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three-half-stars

Book review: Hideaway by Nora Roberts

Friday, June 5, 2020 Permalink

I really enjoy Nora Roberts’ romantic suspense novels. She generally offers a great balance between the two genres. Her latest, Hideaway, is no different. She also gives us some delightful characters. Some less-delightful as well obviously. And the novel unfolds over a couple of decades so we get to know some of the players well by the end.

This was a little longer than I probably would have liked, but it certainly hooks readers from the opening pages.

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three-half-stars

Book review: The Hunted by Gabriel Bergmoser

Thursday, May 28, 2020 Permalink

This book is garnering a lot of praise and it’s deserved. It’s bloody exciting. Heart-in-mouth pacing. The action does not stop.

I recently watched the new Chris Hemsworth movie, Extraction on Netflix. At the time I commented that it felt like one long action sequence. I’m someone who normally fast-forwards car chases and fight scenes… waiting for the dialogue to recommence. That didn’t mean I didn’t enjoy the movie. I did, but it was what it was.

I felt the same about The Hunted by Gabriel Bergmoser. It is almost one long action-packed scene. It wasn’t until later I discovered the author is also a scriptwriter and a film based on the book is already under development. The Hunted is certainly a very visceral experience. So perhaps he visualised the entire thing, as if an action-sequence.

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three-half-stars