Book review: The Resemblance by Lauren Nossett

Monday, October 24, 2022 Permalink

The Resemblance is a debut novel by former professor Lauren Nossett and she certainly writes what she knows as this is set on a University campus and delves into the culture of fraternities as well as the camaraderie that goes along with those in their late teens or early twenties thrown together – often by chance… and privilege.

I enjoyed most of the novel but felt a little let-down by the end. I think it’s possible to guess what is going to happen but I expected a bit more of a twist, hoping Nossett would take the book in a different direction. It was, I think, a lost opportunity to add another layer without convoluting the why and whodunnit.

three-half-stars

Book review: Long Shadows by David Baldacci

Thursday, October 20, 2022 Permalink

I say it every time I review one of the books in this series by David Baldacci, but I love Amos Decker. Possibly not as much as I did when we first met him and I suspect that’s because his superpower (hyperthymesia) seems to be diminishing, or at least less obvious, along with his anti-social quirks. That’s not to say we’re getting a diluted ‘Memory Man’ now, but perhaps a more realistic one, more fallible and more reliant on his detecting skills than his perfect-recall.

four-stars

Book review: The Blame Game by Sandie Jones

Friday, September 2, 2022 Permalink

Even the blurb for The Blame Game by Sandie Jones is quite clever. Two voices. Two truths. Or one truth seen two ways perhaps? Either way… Jones offers up quite a few twists and a myriad of ethical dilemmas. I wonder if this should be used (for example) as a text book for psychology / counselling students as a warning about what happens when you cross the therapist / client boundary!!! Like a ‘what not to do’.

four-stars

Book review: Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney

Sunday, August 28, 2022 Permalink

I must begin my review of Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney by saying how much her writing blew me away. I was only 9 pages in and realised I’d flagged quotes I’d like to use – either beautifully written prose or casually delivered poignant insights – and almost filled a page of the notebook I keep beside the bath (where I read).

I sometimes assume the writing in plot-driven books should hover in the background. Unnoticed so as not to distract readers from the unfolding action, but the seemingly effortless eloquence (I very much noticed here) did not detract at all from the plot.

four-stars

Book review: Electric and Mad and Brave by Tom Pitts

Saturday, August 20, 2022 Permalink

There was a lot I liked about Electric and Mad and Brave by Tom Pitts. I’m tempted to say it’s a bit of a departure from my usual crime fiction and thriller reading, but in all honesty a lot of my favourite books are general or literary fiction, so I probably need to stop with the ‘I only read crime fiction’ mantra.

I very much liked our lead Matt, who’s in a mental health in-patient facility. We learn it’s his third time and as a result it probably doesn’t need to be said, but nevertheless this book comes with a big trigger warning relating to mental illness and self-harm.

three-half-stars

Book review: The 6:20 Man by David Baldacci

Wednesday, July 13, 2022 Permalink

It’s no secret that I love David Baldacci’s novels – particularly his more recent work including the Amos Decker, Atlee Pine and Aloysius Archer series. I notice his latest book, The 6:20 Man is listed a standalone on the inside cover of the book, but wouldn’t be surprised if it becomes a series and the door is certainly open for it to do so.

And given that I zoomed through it (unplanned) in an evening, having an almost-midnight bedtime on a ‘school’ night, I expect other readers will (also) have the appetite for more… given the likeable lead we’re proffered via Travis Devine.

four-stars

Book review: Dirt Town by Hayley Scrivenor

Wednesday, June 15, 2022 Permalink

Dirt Town by Hayley Scrivenor won several awards before it was even published, taking out the Kill Your Darlings (literary magazine) Unpublished Manuscript Award and being shortlisted for Penguin’s Literary Prize. And it’s certainly worthy of those accolades, in addition to the glowing reviews I’ve been seeing on social media.

Scrivenor’s writing is stunning and her character development and story arc (here) perfectly paced. She manages to offer readers both a sense of urgency – in the search for a missing girl – but also recreate that small-town (claustrophobic) laconic pace so you can feel the town, its occupants and secrets, dragging you down.

four-half-stars

Book review: Into the Dark by Fiona Cummins

Thursday, April 7, 2022 Permalink

Into the Dark by Fiona Cummins is the fourth book I’ve read by the English author and she certainly does domestic noir brilliantly. I was fooled here for much of the novel and quite surprised by the direction it takes. I note in my review of When I Was Ten I commented on her adding in a few twists when we assumed we had all of the answers and she does the same thing here. It takes a clever writer to keep secrets from her readers when her narrators are seemingly telling us everything we need to know.

four-stars

Book review: Dream Town by David Baldacci

Monday, April 4, 2022 Permalink

Dream Town by David Baldacci is the third in the Aloysius Archer series featuring former soldier, turned inmate, turned private investigator. A couple of years (in book-land, one year in real life) have passed since we last met Archer in A Gambling Man and he’s obviously been honing his detecting skills under stalwart and old-school PI Willie Dash.

We (along with Archer) are reunited with wannabe starlet Liberty Callahan here – though she’s more of a sounding board (and object of desire) than involved in Archer’s case.

four-stars