Book review: The Good Teacher By Petronella McGovern

Monday, September 14, 2020 Permalink

I very much enjoyed Petronella McGovern’s Six Minutes when it was published in 2019. It’s currently up for Ned Kelly and Davitt Awards, which are well deserved. And timely… as McGovern’s second book, The Good Teacher has recently been released.

I’d misunderstood this book to be about a well-meaning teacher erroneously accused of something horrendous and having to fight to clear their name… which felt like it’d been done before. But this book is not ‘that’ and includes a range of weighty but deftly-delivered themes.

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four-stars

Book review: The Morbids by Ewa Ramsey

Thursday, September 3, 2020 Permalink

When I first saw The Morbids by Ewa Ramsey I assumed the title reflected something fairly obscure in the way literary fiction sometimes does. It didn’t occur to me it was actually named after people with morbid thoughts. I’m intrigued now, wondering if fatalistic people, or those who assume death is around the corner…. are officially called / nicknamed morbids.

I must admit I love the word morbid and use it far more than I should. I’m not hugely paranoid about death but I certainly used to get on planes or helicopters in obscure dodgy locales (in my previous life in international development) nervously flashforwarding to the ‘Lifetime movie of the week’ about our demise.

Anyway, I digress as I am prone to do. What’s important is whether I liked this book. And yes… I loved it. Really bloody loved it. It’s easily a contender for my favourite book this year.

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five-stars

Book review: The Girl from Widow Hills by Megan Miranda

Sunday, August 30, 2020 Permalink

The Girl from Widow Hills is the third book I’ve read by Megan Miranda and each has been very different though all nice and twisty.

In some ways it’s a familiar premise… a young woman running from her past gets caught up in a murder that means her secrets are uncovered. I fully expected it to be slightly cliched with our lead Olivia, becoming the police’s key suspect. Interestingly however, it’s really only Olivia who second-guesses herself.

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three-half-stars

Book review: Blunt Force by Lynda LaPlante

Tuesday, August 18, 2020 Permalink

In my review of the previous book in the (young) Jane Tennison series (The Dirty Dozen) I commented that I thought Jane was finally becoming more accepted by her male colleagues. Of course in that book she’d been appointed to the Flying Squad (the Sweeney) and very excited about it until she learned she was part of an experiment and—of course—things didn’t go as planned.

When Blunt Force opens she’s still a Detective Sergeant but posted to a small station and bored shitless. She’s there with colleague Spencer who’s also in the bad books and been sidelined. On a positive note… though she still seems to be the one fetching lunch and making tea and coffee, she and her abilities as a copper seem to be respected by her new colleagues.

Happily for Jane (and Spencer) they pick up a grisly murder case so get to escape the boring pickpockets and petty thefts.

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four-stars

Book review: Finding Eadie by Caroline Beecham

Sunday, July 5, 2020 Permalink

I realise I harp on about the fact I don’t read historical fiction. I occasionally make exceptions for books written in dual timelines (the then and now), but every so often I seem to accidentally read historical fiction and don’t hate it. In fact I quite enjoy it.

So, although mention of ‘the war’ (I or II) has me heading for the hills this is now the THIRD of Caroline Beecham’s novels I’ve read that’s been set during wartime and each time she has inexplicably lured me in with all sorts of interesting information I didn’t realise I enjoyed learning.

I’ve previously commented on her work being similar to that of Natasha Lester, in that there’s something ‘meaty’ (deep or educational) in her narratives. Beecham’s latest, Finding Eadie, brings readers yet more fascinating fodder about life during wartime. This time it’s centred around publishing, books and reading – which is akin to catnip for me. Though there’s also some insight into the less-palatable subject of ‘baby farming’ – illegal adoption / trafficking of babies.

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four-stars

Book review: The Broken Ones by Ren Richards

Sunday, June 7, 2020 Permalink

I enjoyed The Broken Ones by Ren Richards, best known for her YA and middle-grade books (writing as Lauren DeStefano). I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but Richards blends two mysteries into this novel seamlessly, giving both equal levels of intrigue.

I really liked some of the relationships on offer as well, particularly the bond between sisters and the extent to which we go to protect and preserve ‘family’.

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three-half-stars

Book review: Buried by Lynda LaPlante

Thursday, May 21, 2020 Permalink

I adore Lynda LaPlante’s Prime Suspect series, along with her ‘young’ Jane Tennison prequels (set in the 1970s) so was excited to see her new release Buried – kicking off a brand new series.

Here we’re introduced to Detective Jack Warr. He’s a bit of an unlikely lead character: he’s not really ambitious and somewhat ambivalent about his career in the Met’s Serious Crimes Squad though many would probably envy the opportunity.

His team is presented with a case however, that intrigues him a little. Even more so when it seems to have personal links to his own family history.

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three-half-stars

Book review: Fair Warning by Michael Connelly

Sunday, May 10, 2020 Permalink

We first met journalist Jack McEvoy in The Poet (published in 1996), one of the first books I read by Michael Connelly. Jack reappeared in The Scarecrow (2009) but he’s been kinda quiet ever since. (Though I know there was a crossover or two with Harry Bosch.)

I’ve actually got very vivid memories of reading The Poet (which is rare given I read a lot of books that are quite similar, AND it was a long time ago) so was keen to be reintroduced to Jack (all of these years later) in Connelly’s new release, Fair Warning.

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four-half-stars

Book review: Rules for Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson

Friday, April 10, 2020 Permalink

Peter Swanson’s latest release Rules for Perfect Murders (also released elsewhere as Eight Perfect Murders) is a very clever novel. I notice Anthony Horowitz has offered up a recommendation quote for the cover, which makes sense as it’s reminiscent of his (more traditional crime fiction) work as well.

I guess, by its nature the book is (in fact) a homage to crime fiction – particularly that by some of the greats. It’s twisty and very intelligently written. Indeed it’s very different. It could have been amazing but (though still a good read) I felt it fell slightly short of its potential.

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three-half-stars