Book review: Everyone On This Train Is A Suspect by Benjamin Stevenson

Wednesday, October 25, 2023 Permalink

Everyone On This Train Is A Suspect by Benjamin Stevenson is a sequel to the equally lengthily-named Everyone in my Family has Killed Someone (EIMFHKS) – a book I absolutely loved. In fact I’ve really enjoyed all of Stevenson’s books but the narration in EIMFHKS was outstanding. Written conversationally and very VERY cleverly in first person – sometimes second – the narrative is delivered via the droll, witty, exceedingly forthright writer-turned accidental detective (turned novelist) Ernest Cunningham.

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four-half-stars

Book review: Bright Young Women by Jessica Knoll

Wednesday, October 4, 2023 Permalink

I hadn’t read the blurb for Bright Young Women by Jessica Knoll until after I finished reading it so didn’t know it was inspired by a true story (and even then I just assumed it was someone with whom I wasn’t familiar, not realising it was based on Ted Bundy’s last murders). It explains why Knoll tells us almost nothing about the killer. Including his name. She calls him The Defendant. And I very much appreciated that this book is about his victims and those left behind rather than the killer.

I read Knoll’s Luckiest Girl Alive when it came out in 2015 and more recently watched the Netflix movie based on the book. I also read and reviewed her second book, The Favourite Sister. She writes unlikeable characters well. Almost too well perhaps. Though here her disdain lies with some of the male characters introduced rather than her female leads.

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four-stars

Book review: Lie by the Pool by Susan Walter

Sunday, September 17, 2023 Permalink

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.

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four-stars

Book review: A Bird in Winter by Louise Doughty

Monday, September 4, 2023 Permalink

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.

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four-half-stars

Book review: Anatomy of a Killer by Romy Hausmann

Sunday, August 27, 2023 Permalink

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.

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four-stars

Book review: Dark Corners by Megan Goldin

Sunday, August 20, 2023 Permalink

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.

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four-stars

Book review: The Spy Coast by Tess Gerritsen

Thursday, August 17, 2023 Permalink

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.

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four-stars

Book review: Everyone Who Can Forgive Me Is Dead by Jenny Hollander

Tuesday, August 8, 2023 Permalink

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.

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three-half-stars