Book review: A Good Place to Hide a Body by Laura Marshall

Thursday, July 11, 2024 Permalink

A Good Place to Hide a Body by Laura Marshall starts off with a prologue and it’s a clever move by Marshall. Not the use of a prologue of course as it’s quite common, but the way she leaves us hanging at the end of it… allowing us to make certain assumptions, before moving three months into the past when a family’s lives were turned upside down.

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three-half-stars

Book review: The Truth About the Devlins by Lisa Scottoline

Monday, July 8, 2024 Permalink

The Truth About the Devlins by Lisa Scottoline seemed familiar to me. I’m unsure if I started reading it at some point earlier… I even had the same thought in response to the opening pages – an assumption the narrator was a woman (one I’d had before).

TJ (a guy!) is the black sheep in a family of lawyers, having spent time in prison as a result of alcoholism that started in his teens. He’s on track now, though working in a tokenistic investigator job in the family company. Despite changing his ways he continues to feel inferior to his brother and sister and a disappointment to his parents.

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four-stars

Book review: A Talent for Murder by Peter Swanson

Thursday, July 4, 2024 Permalink

A Talent for Murder by Peter Swanson is the third in a (loosely linked) series. I hadn’t realised that and – as I’ve read eight of Swanson’s usually-twisted books – I only discovered belatedly I’d read the previous book in the series (The Kind Worth Saving) though not remembered the series’s namesakes in any detail.

Despite knowing of his proclivity for twisty-ness I was thrown a little in the early stages of this book as Swanson puts us in the heads of several characters he then wantonly kills off. It was a little disconcerting as I’d identified with them, not realising they weren’t going to be our main narrators.

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three-half-stars

Book review: Middle of the Night by Riley Sager

Sunday, June 30, 2024 Permalink

According to Goodreads and this site Middle of the Night by Riley Sager is only the second book I’ve read by the American author since 2017 when I inhaled the popular, Final Girls. Although a couple of more recent books seem familiar, perhaps I only coveted them from afar rather than getting review copies or picking them up. Like Final Girls this is centred around an old mystery, stirred up when one of the players returns to his childhood home.

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three-half-stars

Book review: This Is Why We Lied by Karin Slaughter

Tuesday, June 18, 2024 Permalink

This Is Why We Lied by Karin Slaughter is the twelfth in the series featuring Will Trent, but also features his (new) wife Sara Linton – who of course has starred in a couple of Slaughter’s series. Here the pair have just gotten hitched and Will decided to take Sara to a remote glamping spot – one he yearned to visit as a child in a foster care group home nearby. Of course they stumble into some family drama and when there’s a murder on their first night the pair feel duty-bound to seek justice for the victim.

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four-stars

Book review: Hard Copy by Fien Veldman

Friday, June 14, 2024 Permalink

Hard Copy by Fien Veldman is a very hard book to describe. It’s been translated from Dutch by Hester Velmans and I find it difficult to critique translations… because you don’t know how much of the writing style (whether good or bad) can be attributed to the writer or translator. Here for example, some of the phrasing is exquisite and I wonder if the original is equally as mesmerising? Having said that, there’s something about this book that felt just out of reach. Was there a metaphor I was missing? Was I taking everything too literally? Was Veldman’s style – by not giving our lead character (and most others) – a name and obliquely hinting at backstories before getting into them, simply too esoteric for me?

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four-stars

Book review: The Chamber by Will Dean

Tuesday, June 11, 2024 Permalink

Holy schmoly! What a ride this book was. I’m not usually a fan of ‘action’ oriented novels and tend to skim over fight scenes and the like, even when the author obviously knows their stuff. Having said that, in the last couple of years I’ve enjoyed TJ Newman’s heart-in-mouth novels involving plane-based drama. I know one or both are being translated onto the big or small screen and I can see why. The Chamber by Will Dean blew me away for similar reasons. It’s a literal pressure cooker of a novel – centred around a saturation diving crew – in a sardine can 100m below the ocean’s surface. Their work is dangerous enough but throw in some suspicious deaths and you’ve got an extraordinary locked-room mystery.

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four-half-stars

Book review: The Midnight Feast by Lucy Foley

Friday, June 7, 2024 Permalink

The Midnight Feast by Lucy Foley is the third book I’ve read by the British author and I’ve enjoyed them all. She seemingly draws on long-kept secrets and develops intriguing and complex plots around relationships – testing family ties and friendship boundaries. Here the launch of a new luxurious wellness retreat brings together a disparate group of story tellers (in the present) and a diary-writer (in the past), the two converging in fresh tragedy as past secrets are revealed.

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four-stars