Book review: Fifty Fifty by Steve Cavanagh

Sunday, February 16, 2020 Permalink

I came across Irish author Steve Cavanagh’s name last year when his 2019 novel Thirteen won Crime Novel of the Year at Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival (which – incidentally – I’ve fantasised about attending someday). He was also  touring with a number of other authors I knew so I kept seeing him on social media again and again.

It wasn’t until later I realised I’d actually read one of his books – The Liar in 2017 – which I really enjoyed. And of course I heard (only) fabulous things about Thirteen, and though I’ve not read it I really must. More so now I’ve read the fifth in the series featuring Eddie Flynn, Fifty Fifty.

I mention in my review of The Liar that it’s only when I read a legal procedural that I’m reminded how much I enjoy them. I’m also reminded that though once they were a dime a dozen and they’re now as rare as hen’s teeth. (Apologies for the idioms but you get what I mean….)

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Book review: Never Look Back by AL Gaylin

Saturday, July 6, 2019 Permalink

It’s increasingly common for books to reflect popular culture – true crime podcasts and the like. I’ve now read a few novels that have pursued a story either via the podcast or for the purposes of one. (As an aside, Sadie by Courtney Summers, which does exactly that was one of my favourite books for the first half of 2019.)

This is a little different in that it’s mostly about the investigation which may (or may not) result in a podcast. But I guess this book by AL Gaylin also takes the opportunity to consider 21st century journalism, news and our consumption of information. In some ways it’s a peripheral issue, but in others a reminder of how different today’s world is from that of 40yrs ago.

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Book review: The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

Tuesday, January 29, 2019 Permalink

As I started this book I was reminded of Margaret Atwood’s Alias Grace (similarly centred around a patient and therapist). Although I read that book a long time ago, I recently watched the adaptation on Netflix, so I was a tad nervous one of our lead characters here, Theo, didn’t suffer a similar fate to Grace Marks’ therapist in Atwood’s book.

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Book review: I, Witness by Niki Mackay

Tuesday, May 15, 2018 Permalink

I’ve read a few books lately about those wrongly accused (or at least claiming to be) but thankfully they’re all quite different so it’s not like I’m going into them assuming someone’s guilt OR innocence.

Interestingly I have 50,000 words of a novel I started years ago which starts a little similarly to this and I was worried my book – if I ever progress it – would be redundant if this went in a similar direction. It doesn’t, so everyone can breathe a sigh of relief that my masterpiece needn’t be shelved. (Well, more than the 6yrs it’s languished in my online drafts folder anyway!)

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Book review: Hangman by Daniel Cole

Friday, March 30, 2018 Permalink

I read Daniel Cole’s debut novel Ragdoll about a year ago. I enjoyed it and liked the lead character, Detective William Falkes (Wolf). I remembered little about his offsider Detective Emily Baxter, which was unfortunate as this book – although labelled Falkes #2 – predominantly features Baxter and the former probationer we met in the first outing (Alex Edmunds) as well as a few new faces.

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Book review: The Guilty Wife by Elle Croft

Tuesday, November 28, 2017 Permalink

Flawed leads are becoming increasingly common in fiction. I know some readers still struggle to read books featuring main characters who are less-than-likeable. The occasional quirk is usually okay, or even some arrogance or a tinge of psychopathy but it’s still often harder for many to engage and identify with a character who we might not like.

Bethany Reston might be such a character for some because she tells us outright that she’s having an affair. Indeed it’s on the backcover blurb. So we know that from the start.

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Book review: Together by Julie Cohen

Saturday, July 22, 2017 Permalink

In 2003, just over two years after his heart transplant my father caught a bus from his regional hometown to Brisbane for some tests with a neurologist. I picked him up and took him to the hospital, waited while he was in with the specialist and then took him back to the bus.

I’m not sure what happened while he was in being ‘tested’ but he came out devastated. Deflated. He talked about some of the memory tests he’d been given and couldn’t believe he’d struggled with them. Interestingly it was years before his official diagnosis of vascular dementia but perhaps we were fortunate it took a while to invade his mind and his memories.

Eighty-year old Robbie Brandon, the lead character of Julie Cohen’s Together, seems to have suffered a far quicker decline. But it takes us the whole book to understand why its full impact would be even more devastating for him, his beloved Emily and their family.

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