Book review: Anna O by Matthew Blake

Sunday, February 4, 2024 Permalink

Anna O by Matthew Blake borrows its title from the pseudonym of a patient who inspired (or at least influenced) Freud’s origins of psychoanalysis. Of course the character in this book is referenced thus as she either has resignation syndrome (a withdrawal from life – which IS a real thing), or is faking it to avoid murder charges. Also… her name is Anna (Ogilvy).

This book has been pretty hyped so my expectations were heightened. I received an early copy while at the Theakston Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate last July. I’d expected big things as a result so held off reading it until just before the Australian publication date in early February 2024. And it has to be said my thoughts on it changed many times over the course of its 440-ish pages.

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four-stars

Book review: Tidelines by Sarah Sasson

Saturday, January 20, 2024 Permalink

Tidelines by Sarah Sasson is an eerily poignant read as it opens after a tragedy then goes back into the past, beguiling readers with the story of siblings; knowing that all does not end well, but intrigued as to how we get there.

As someone who grew up with a high-achieving older brother I could very much relate to young ‘Grub’ here. Elijah is admired and respected by his peers and adults, including their parents. He’s athletic and a talented musician – deemed for greatness. Grub lives in his shadow and conscious of that, but at the same time, not jealous or envious (rather, proud… but at the same time aware of the flaws others might not see).

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four-half-stars

Book review: Vendetta by Sarah Barrie

Thursday, November 16, 2023 Permalink

Vendetta by Sarah Barrie is the third book in the enjoyable series featuring former sex worker, turned vigilante and hacker, turned cop, Lexi Winter. And here her past most certainly catches up with her. Well, several of those pasts… and it’s an unfortunate reminder that no matter how hard we might work to rebuild our lives, some people just can’t look past old labels. Although, it must be said, Lexie has her fair share of support thanks to her mentor and boss, DI Rachael Langley.

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four-stars

Book review: Lola in the Mirror by Trent Dalton

Saturday, October 7, 2023 Permalink

This is a beautiful story and reminded me of Dalton’s Boy Swallows Universe which I also loved. Dalton’s writing sings but he can also spin a yarn and this one – about a 17 year old girl with no name – is enchanting and addictive. The book opens as she’s waiting for her 18th birthday when her mother will turn herself into the police after being on the run for all of their lives, and then – only then – will she know her name.

Unfortunately things don’t work out as planned and she worries she may never know who she is.

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five-stars

Book review: Judgement Prey by John Sandford

Sunday, October 1, 2023 Permalink

I was very excited to see Judgement Prey by John Sandford pop up for review that I let it leap-frog over a heap of other books. And I’m even blessing it with a review on my much-esteemed website 😉 rather than just on Goodreads even though I only had an electronic copy. Because I freakin’ loved this book. I’m almost tempted to give it 4.5 stars except I was a smidge disappointed by the actual ‘who’ part of the whodunnit. It wasn’t left-field but let’s just say we weren’t given some of the clues we needed earlier and I do prefer an even playing field when it comes to the big reveal / finger-pointing thing.

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four-stars

Book review: Lie by the Pool by Susan Walter

Sunday, September 17, 2023 Permalink

I’d had Lie by the Pool by Susan Walter awaiting me on my iPad for a while before getting to it. I’m not sure why I requested it, but something about it leapt out and I’ve seen other Aussie bookbloggers or bookstagrammers reading it too. In some ways it’s a proverbial sleeper. We come into the story part-way through. Bree has lost everything – her husband and house – and is living out of her car. When we meet her she’s sneaking into the poolhouse of a large house in Beverley Hills. It’s obvious that it’s familiar to her for some reason but that’s all we know. And that’s all we do know until Walter very cleverly starts pulling together multiple threads.

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four-stars

Book review: The Detective Up Late by Adrian McKinty

Saturday, September 9, 2023 Permalink

The Detective Up Late by Adrian McKinty is the seventh in the Sean Duffy series. McKinty has been busy with some excellent standalones so the last time we met Duffy was in the spectacularly named Police at the Station and They Don’t Look Friendly, released in 2017.

I was thinking there’d be a very long gap between books, but on further investigation (ie. looking at Goodreads) I noticed that this book was in fact originally released in 2018 and I missed it at the time. Unfortunately in my review of book six, I cagily comment on changes being afoot for Duffy though don’t offer any spoilers. It meant I started this with absolutely no idea what had happened in the previous outing. I soon discovered however that he’s moving to Scotland with his girlfriend and their three year old daughter and transitioning to a part-time role with the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC).

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four-stars

Book review: Anatomy of a Killer by Romy Hausmann

Sunday, August 27, 2023 Permalink

This is the second book I’ve read by Romy Hausmann (her first Dear Child, was also translated by Jamie Bulloch) and I’ve enjoyed both. I’m conscious though, some might grapple with the subject matter Hausmann tends to tackle – involving complex family relationships with child-centric themes.

Here we meet 24yr old Ann, home one night for dinner with her father when the police come knocking to accuse him of being a serial child murderer – responsible for nine deaths over a spate of a dozen years.

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four-stars

Book review: Those Empty Eyes by Charlie Donlea

Monday, April 10, 2023 Permalink

A bookstagrammer I follow (Mandy) raved about Those Empty Eyes by Charlie Donlea, saying it broke a meh-ness reading drought for her. I hadn’t seen it on anyone’s Australian listings and she said she’d gotten it from the US publisher so I requested it having read (and enjoyed) Donlea’s other books.

And though I didn’t love it as much as Mandy, it’s another great twisty read. The book opens with the murder of a family; the parents obviously the targets, but their teenage son is in the wrong place at the wrong time. And unfortunately for the killer, another family member escapes. (Though given the killer was using a shotgun, it’s not exactly surprising they were warned!)

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three-half-stars