Book review: The Survivors by Alex Schulman

Thursday, October 14, 2021 Permalink

The Survivors is the first book I’ve read by Swedish writer Alex Schulman. I don’t read a lot of translated books (usually because I read crime fiction and find the police and judicial system in Nordic countries, as well as France and Italy to be very confusing!) but this is also Schulman’s first novel.

Although I’m prone to overthinking and overanalysing (well, at least pondering) I’m still not sure what I think of this book. Its pacing felt a little slow and drawn-out. But it’s written cleverly – we go backwards in time (in the present) which is interspersed with snippets from the past.

Some of the writing is magic and I’m not sure if that’s down to Schulman or translator Rachel Willson-Broyles and there’s a very big reveal at the end that left me speechless.

three-half-stars

Book review: Prisoner by SR White

Thursday, October 7, 2021 Permalink

SR White’s debut novel Hermit was a real sleeper for me. It lured me in and had me intrigued before throwing in some huge twists. Someone I follow on social media said his next novel Prisoner, also featuring cop Dana Russo, was their favourite book this year, so I went in with high expectations.

Which, in retrospect wasn’t entirely fair as I kept thinking I’d again be blown away by ridiculously inexplicable reveals at the end. He does…. and I suspect they are mind-blowing, but less-so when you’ve been waiting for them.

four-stars

Book review: I Shot The Devil by Ruth McIver

Monday, October 4, 2021 Permalink

The manuscript of I Shot The Devil by Ruth McIver won the coveted Richell Prize for Emerging Writers in 2018. It certainly has it all. McIver’s writing is eloquent and stylistic, we’re offered an intriguing plot as well as interesting and complex characters.

I found the pacing a little rushed as we neared the conclusion and was a tad confused about who did what, but that’s probably more about my attention span than anything else.

four-stars

Book review: Forgotten in Death by JD Robb

Wednesday, September 29, 2021 Permalink

JD Robb’s In Death series is a go-to read for me. I’ve not missed any and own most of the series. Forgotten in Death is number 53 and Nora Roberts’s creations – Lieutenant Eve Dallas and her mega-rich hubby Roarke are still going strong.

I hate the ‘guilty pleasure’ phrase as it implies there’s something wrong with what you’re enjoying but (as I’ve said before) these are akin to a comfort read. There’s a predictability – or rather reliability – about the characters and their behaviour as well as the overall story arc, but Robb / Roberts always offers readers a whodunnit that’s a bit different, though I’m not sure how she manages after so many.

three-half-stars

Book review: Rabbit Hole by Mark Billingham

Tuesday, August 17, 2021 Permalink

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’.*

four-half-stars

Book review: The Last Guests by JP Pomare

Saturday, August 14, 2021 Permalink

The Last Guests by JP Pomare is the fourth book by the NZ born, Australian dwelling writer who’s deservedly building a reputation for being one of the region’s go-to authors of thrillers and novels of suspense.

This is probably my favourite of Pomare’s novels. It starts with a bit of a surprise before settling into something a little more familiar and then suddenly takes readers somewhere we didn’t expect, casting doubt on everything that came before.

four-stars

Book review: The Devil’s Advocate by Steve Cavanagh

Saturday, July 24, 2021 Permalink

I’ve only read a couple of Steve Cavanagh’s Eddie Flynn novels in the past and always reflect on how I miss the golden days of the legal procedural.

Cavanagh manages to easily traverse the balance between the mystery / crime solving element and showcasing the (both) boring and enterprising foibles of the justice system. He’s also created very likeable characters in the ensemble cast supporting Eddie and – in some ways – I find myself drawn as much to them as I do to the former con-man turned-lawyer.

four-stars

Book review: The Others by Mark Brandi

Sunday, July 4, 2021 Permalink

If I understood the genesis of the term waxing lyrical (and wasn’t too lazy to google it) I would say I would be doing just that about The Others by Mark Brandi. Because I adored this book.

Brandi’s given us an amazing narrator in 11 year old Jacob and I do have a penchant for books written from a child’s point-of-view. It has to be done well though because their voice can very easily seem off. It can hard to capture innocence and naiveté of the young, when some – like Jacob – have good cause not to be.

five-stars

Book review: When You Are Mine by Michael Robotham

Friday, July 2, 2021 Permalink

One of Michael Robotham’s very popular standalone books The Secrets She Keeps, examines an unlikely friendship between two women. His latest release When You Are Mine is similarly themed, featuring a toxic friendship that shifts into obsession.

It occurs to me some of Robotham’s best work seem to be less about the solving of crimes and more about people; human nature – the best of it and the worst – and it’s this insight into our behaviour, that make his books addictive reads.

five-stars