Book review: A Calamity of Souls by David Baldacci

Sunday, March 24, 2024 Permalink

It’s a terrible thing to admit but I’ve little interest in history (or real life in general – hence my hatred of non-fiction), so avoid books set… anytime before the 1960s basically. A Calamity of Souls by David Baldacci is however set in the late 1960s. Around the time I was born in fact. Thankfully I enjoyed the ‘mystery’ on offer (not to mention the unfolding plot) because as a non-American I know very little of the time and events referenced here. It didn’t impinge of my enjoyment of the book, but I’m fairly sure I skimmed bits about politics and legislation that would be known by, or of interest to, Americans.*

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four-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: Long Shadows by David Baldacci

Thursday, October 20, 2022 Permalink

I say it every time I review one of the books in this series by David Baldacci, but I love Amos Decker. Possibly not as much as I did when we first met him and I suspect that’s because his superpower (hyperthymesia) seems to be diminishing, or at least less obvious, along with his anti-social quirks. That’s not to say we’re getting a diluted ‘Memory Man’ now, but perhaps a more realistic one, more fallible and more reliant on his detecting skills than his perfect-recall.

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four-stars

Book review: The Blame Game by Sandie Jones

Friday, September 2, 2022 Permalink

Even the blurb for The Blame Game by Sandie Jones is quite clever. Two voices. Two truths. Or one truth seen two ways perhaps? Either way… Jones offers up quite a few twists and a myriad of ethical dilemmas. I wonder if this should be used (for example) as a text book for psychology / counselling students as a warning about what happens when you cross the therapist / client boundary!!! Like a ‘what not to do’.

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four-stars

Book review: Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney

Sunday, August 28, 2022 Permalink

I must begin my review of Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney by saying how much her writing blew me away. I was only 9 pages in and realised I’d flagged quotes I’d like to use – either beautifully written prose or casually delivered poignant insights – and almost filled a page of the notebook I keep beside the bath (where I read).

I sometimes assume the writing in plot-driven books should hover in the background. Unnoticed so as not to distract readers from the unfolding action, but the seemingly effortless eloquence (I very much noticed here) did not detract at all from the plot.

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four-stars

Book review: The 6:20 Man by David Baldacci

Wednesday, July 13, 2022 Permalink

It’s no secret that I love David Baldacci’s novels – particularly his more recent work including the Amos Decker, Atlee Pine and Aloysius Archer series. I notice his latest book, The 6:20 Man is listed a standalone on the inside cover of the book, but wouldn’t be surprised if it becomes a series and the door is certainly open for it to do so.

And given that I zoomed through it (unplanned) in an evening, having an almost-midnight bedtime on a ‘school’ night, I expect other readers will (also) have the appetite for more… given the likeable lead we’re proffered via Travis Devine.

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four-stars

Book review: Into the Dark by Fiona Cummins

Thursday, April 7, 2022 Permalink

Into the Dark by Fiona Cummins is the fourth book I’ve read by the English author and she certainly does domestic noir brilliantly. I was fooled here for much of the novel and quite surprised by the direction it takes. I note in my review of When I Was Ten I commented on her adding in a few twists when we assumed we had all of the answers and she does the same thing here. It takes a clever writer to keep secrets from her readers when her narrators are seemingly telling us everything we need to know.

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four-stars