Book review: Anna O by Matthew Blake

Sunday, February 4, 2024 Permalink

Anna O by Matthew Blake borrows its title from the pseudonym of a patient who inspired (or at least influenced) Freud’s origins of psychoanalysis. Of course the character in this book is referenced thus as she either has resignation syndrome (a withdrawal from life – which IS a real thing), or is faking it to avoid murder charges. Also… her name is Anna (Ogilvy).

This book has been pretty hyped so my expectations were heightened. I received an early copy while at the Theakston Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate last July. I’d expected big things as a result so held off reading it until just before the Australian publication date in early February 2024. And it has to be said my thoughts on it changed many times over the course of its 440-ish pages.

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four-stars

Book review: Day One by Abigail Dean

Wednesday, August 2, 2023 Permalink

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.

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four-stars

Book review: Marple – Twelve New Mysteries

Wednesday, September 21, 2022 Permalink

It’s no secret that I’m a massive fan of Agatha Christie – in particular all-things-Miss Marple who is my favourite Christie crime-solver (followed by Poirot and very distantly by the Beresfords). I’ve written before also about my favourite Miss Marple actress who (despite my usual lack of visual-ness) I ‘picture’ when I think of Miss Marple.

Anyhoo, like everything it seems… everything old is new again and several well-known authors have contributed to an anthology featuring my very favourite female detective.

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Book review: Em & Me by Beth Morrey

Friday, February 11, 2022 Permalink

Em & Me by Beth Morrey was a delightful surprise. Not because I didn’t think I’d enjoy it. I certainly loved Morrey’s debut novel, Saving Missy… but my thrall here was because my reading of it came at exactly the right time. It was the feel-good book I didn’t know I needed. If that makes sense.

Before I started it I’d wondered if the blurb gave away too much and the book itself would have nothing left to proffer, but it wasn’t the case. Because though we do kinda know where this is going, I was very happy to travel along with Delphine and her daughter Emily and the assortment of family and friends they’ve gathered along the way.

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four-stars

Book review: Girl A by Abigail Dean

Friday, January 15, 2021 Permalink

There’s been a bit of buzz around Girl A by Abigail Dean. That can be both a good and bad thing. I read it earlier than planned as I was excited about it, but at the same time I probably had heightened expectations as a result.

For much of this book I wasn’t sure if I was reading about a cult, or about kidnapped children. Dean keeps it pretty vague for a while and readers are on edge, recognising that we don’t have the full story. Waiting for more.

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three-half-stars

Book review: Contacts by Mark Watson

Wednesday, December 16, 2020 Permalink

Contacts by Mark Watson is going to be hard to review because though I enjoyed it – to an extent – my main issue with it is the content (underlining premise) itself. I can’t decide whether I think it’s ill-conceived, irresponsible and totally inappropriate or perhaps cathartic or helpful.

Either way it needs a big trigger warning as the entire book is about someone planning to suicide and how they got to that point.

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three-stars

Book review: The Killings at Kingfisher Hill by Sophie Hannah

Thursday, August 20, 2020 Permalink

I’ve talked before about discovering Agatha Christie in my teens. I snapped up faded copies of her books from second hand stores when home from University and devoured them. They’re books I’ve kept and—when I had hour-long* baths—were the perfect bath-reading fodder as I could easily read the exploits of Miss Marple or Hercule Poirot in a sitting.

I was excited when it was announced that Sophie Hannah would be reviving Poirot. The Killings at Kingfisher Hill is the fourth book following Poirot’s resurrection. I commented in my review of Closed Casket that Hannah has a different style to Christie… the books are much longer, the crimes more complex and Poirot feels more verbose but it’s wonderful to be reunited.

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three-half-stars

Book review: The Silent Wife by Karin Slaughter

Wednesday, July 1, 2020 Permalink

The Silent Wife by Karin Slaughter is the tenth in the series featuring Will Trent, and though I’d say I’m a Slaughter devotee I somehow missed the last one or two.

Interestingly, for long term fans… this could almost be badged as a Grant County book as Jeffrey Tolliver, the (former) Chief of Grant County Police and headliner of that series (along with Sara Linton) features prominently. Which could be perplexing if you’ve read all of those books.

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four-stars

Book review: Dead to Her by Sarah Pinborough

Saturday, February 29, 2020 Permalink

Every so often a book comes along in which you hate ALL of the characters and don’t really care if they live or die.

Dead to Her by Sarah Pinborough was that book for me.

Don’t get me wrong. The story itself is kinda interesting, and the characters complex. But they weren’t likeable. At all.

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three-stars