I’m a fan of Mark Billingham’s Tom Thorne / Nicola Tanner series but also very much enjoyed (perhaps more!) his standalone 2021 release, Rabbit Hole. His latest novel, The Last Dance, kicks off a new series featuring Detective Declan (Dec) Miller… a witty wiseass I can soooo envisage on the big or small screen. Miller’s constant (almost compulsive) commentary is hilarious and it would translate well – if done properly with someone with great (droll) comedic timing.
Eleven Liars by Robert Gold is the second book in the series featuring journalist Ben Harper, who we met in Twelve Secrets when he was forced to revisit his own tragic past. Here Ben’s still working for his quirky boss finishing up a podcast offering newly-uncovered secrets involving his family when he literally stumbles across a new mystery.
For reasons unknown I hadn’t read 1979 by Val McDermid when its sequel, 1989 arrived. I think perhaps I was a bit put-off by any mention of the IRA or money laundering and the like, as political and/or white collar crimes don’t really interest me much. (And no… I’m not sure why.)
I’ve only read one book by Colleen Hoover – It Ends With Us – and I very much enjoyed it. Hoover has had a bit of a cult-following for years but seemingly found a new audience thanks to TikTok (BookTok) over the past year or so. Her 2018 novel Verity is a departure from her usual work but very much in my suspense and thriller-loving wheelhouse.
I’d heard good things about this book since its re-release earlier this year but hadn’t been able to find my copy until this past weekend when I finally removed an array of debris from the back seat of my car!
So I finally dove in. I would have easily read this in a sitting as it’s not long but I’d embarked on something new in the slow cooker, so put it aside at about 3/4 of the way through, though it had gotten very exciting….
Twelve Secrets by Robert Gold took me by surprise. I’d planned on allocating just a short time in the bath to read, but ended up dining on biscuits and chips because I remained in there (topping up with warm water once or twice) until I was finished.
Interestingly (or not) this is the third of fourth book I’ve read this year featuring crimes committed by juveniles…. later released and given new identities. I’m not sure if it’s suddenly topical or perhaps it’s just a sign that increased access to technology and information means that it is harder to keep things secret in the 21st century.
I tend not to buy books if I don’t get them for review because I just have too many books in my TBR pile. I’m also usually either bitterly disappointed if I’ve missed something I’ve requested; or petulant to the point I decide I’m never going to review another book again. #realmature
The blurb for Rabbit Hole by Mark Billingham leapt out at me when I saw it advertised but I was very worried I’d missed it until I had it in my fat little (well, medium-sized) hands. It certainly seemed to be offering something quite new and as soon as I started reading I fell in love with the way Billingham has written this book – from the point-of-view of Alice – who’s resplendent with quirks and a smidge of ‘crazy’.*
Nine Elms by Robert Bryndza, released a year ago, introduced Kate Marshall. I was a little wary in my review as it opens with Kate, a police officer, on the verge of breaking a major case involving a serial killer. But then it’s quickly over – she catches the baddie… who happens to be her boss and lover.
The book then flicked forward fifteen years and we again meet Kate, now lecturing in Criminology at a University. We get some backstory and learn she didn’t become a hero: rather her affair became public; she left the police force in disgrace; became an alcoholic; lost custody of her son (to the aforementioned serial killer); before regaining control over her life. In Nine Elms she gets pulled into investigating a copycat case however along with her assistant Tristan.
And here, Kate’s again playing detective after discovering the body of a college student.
I had to re-read the last third of A Knock at the Door by TW Ellis before writing this review. Ellis (aka author Tom Wood writing his first psychological thriller) throws in a twist at the end that is fabulous and exceedingly clever, but made me question a lot that came before. So… I figured I must have missed something.
I can’t say too much about the twist and its impact on everything of course, but I’m not sure Ellis has shaped the narrative sufficiently (a la Louise Candlish’s The Other Passenger, written in an interview style) to pull it off.
Debut author Elizabeth Kay works in the publishing industry so knows what works and what doesn’t.
It’s obvious our host Jane is one of the increasingly popular ‘unreliable’ narrators. She tells us that herself at the beginning. About the lies she’s told and what happens as a result. My own thoughts on Jane changed and morphed however… there’s a reluctance initially, to engage. But then we get to know her. We learn her story and it’s hard not to warm to her and like her. But then… well, then things change again. And if you’re like me you can kinda sympathise yet grimace at the same time!