Book review: Last One to Leave & Fool Me Twice by Benjamin Stevenson

Friday, May 24, 2024 Permalink

I was so excited to get this book I even made an Instagram reel. And I hate reels as even the smoothest people often look awkward and or like naff try-hards. 🙄  Anyhoo, these novellas (by the very-talented Benjamin Stevenson) came out as Audible Originals a couple of years ago and have now been paired as a double-header and the quality of both stories is excellent. I can imagine them as episodes of Black Mirror or similar. They’re suspenseful, creepy and very very clever.

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four-stars

Book review: The Fury by Alex Michaelides

Sunday, January 21, 2024 Permalink

The Fury by Alex Michaelides reminded me very much of Benjamin Stevenson’s Ernest Cunningham books, particularly Everyone on This Train is a Suspect, as our narrator is one of the main characters in the story… playing quite a central role and speaking to us (as if in second person) in a very conversational way. Although it has to be said that our host here, playwright Elliot, is more arrogant than Stevenson’s novelist Ernest.

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three-half-stars

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: 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: I’ll Leave You With This by Kylie Ladd

Tuesday, January 24, 2023 Permalink

I’ll Leave You With This by Kylie Ladd is the second book I’ve read by the Melbourne-based author and I very much enjoyed 2017’s The Way Back. Ladd brings her experience and expertise as a psychologist in the health system to the table when writing. Here she’s talking about organ donation and legacies of the very tangible kind as well as those less-so.

I sometimes struggle reading books about organ donation as it’s something my family has first-hand experience with, as my father was the recipient of a heart transplant… aged 61 in 2000. I certainly know how someone else’s* generosity benefitted my family – giving my father 11 more years. But am also aware of some of the burden it brings. The guilt, gratitude and fear that can accompany it. And of course I can only imagine the bittersweet impact it has on donors’ families. Seeing ‘part’ of their loved ones’ live on in others.

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four-stars

Book review: The One and Only Dolly Jamieson by Lisa Ireland

Tuesday, January 10, 2023 Permalink

What a delightful read The One and Only Dolly Jamieson by Lisa Ireland is! I would have read it in a sitting (in the bathtub) had I not had my mother visiting (at the time) and needed to be social and prepare dinner. I was reminded from previous books I’ve read by Ireland, she’s got the ability to create really warm and familiar characters that you feel as if you get to know – and perhaps – befriend, in the few hours you spend with them.

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four-stars

Book review: The Burning Girls by CJ Tudor

Thursday, February 18, 2021 Permalink

They were a few weeks apart but it bodes well for 2021 that I read two books that I’m rating an easy 4.5 stars – a very rare honour in my world. The first was Linwood Barclay’s new release Find You First and the second, The Burning Girls by CJ Tudor.

This is the third book I’ve read by Tudor but I don’t think it’d appeared in any new release catalogues that I recall so I sent a query after seeing her talk about the book on Twitter. I’d missed her 2020 release, The Other People, but heard great things about it. And thank god I chased for a copy because I freakin’ loved this book. There’s a fabulous twist early and they really don’t stop coming.

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four-half-stars

Book review: The Night Swim by Megan Goldin

Tuesday, August 4, 2020 Permalink

This is the third novel I’ve read by former journalist Megan Goldin. Her debut The Girl in Kellers Way was published in 2017 and The Escape Room in 2018. Interestingly all three books have felt kinda different. The first was very much domestic noir; the second a suspenseful thriller; and here there’s less of a sense of impending doom. The Night Swim is more about human nature – about people and the things we do. The things we don’t do. For me it also offered a sense of sad wistfulness, a sense of injustice.

Interestingly, though I liked our lead character Rachel, Goldin doesn’t give us a lot of information about her. This book, which I really enjoyed, is very plot driven. And we’re actually offered two mysteries: a rape trial which is the subject of Rachel’s podcast; and a death from 25 years earlier.

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four-stars