Book review: A Calamity of Souls by David Baldacci

Sunday, March 24, 2024 Permalink

It’s a terrible thing to admit but I’ve little interest in history (or real life in general – hence my hatred of non-fiction), so avoid books set… anytime before the 1960s basically. A Calamity of Souls by David Baldacci is however set in the late 1960s. Around the time I was born in fact. Thankfully I enjoyed the ‘mystery’ on offer (not to mention the unfolding plot) because as a non-American I know very little of the time and events referenced here. It didn’t impinge of my enjoyment of the book, but I’m fairly sure I skimmed bits about politics and legislation that would be known by, or of interest to, Americans.*

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four-stars

Book review: The Professor by Lauren Nossett

Thursday, January 4, 2024 Permalink

The Professor by Lauren Nossett is the second book I’ve read by the former professor. In my review of The Resemblance I talked about it being obvious that she was ‘writing what she knew’ which is an old adage for authors. It too was set at a university and meant that readers were privy to the innermost workings of life-on-campus (and behind closed professorial doors).

This started a little slowly for me. Dragging to the point I was tempted to put it down just after starting, which would draw its reading out and I’d feel less inclined to get back to it, ultimately resulting in a reading slump. However… the action picks up significantly about two-thirds of the way through and Nossett throws in some twists so the novel finishes on a high.

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four-stars

Book review: The Broken Wave by Matthew Ryan Davies

Tuesday, December 26, 2023 Permalink

I had an early copy of The Broken Wave by Matthew Ryan Davies and the book’s pages all curled up*, making it a tad hard to manoeuvre but it was a perfect introspective read to occupy me for a few hours on Christmas afternoon – whipping through it in one sitting.

Andrew (Drew) and Tom meet only briefly as kids but bond in the way kids can but adults struggle to. Drew in particular seems to have shut himself off, living a very isolated life‚Äďas a kid with his books and words; and as an adult as a writer (in his case, a very solitary profession). His wife Claire, a social worker, has broken through his defences, but we learn the only other person with whom he’s connected in the same way, was Tom.

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four-stars

Book review: Days of Innocence and Wonder by Lucy Treloar

Monday, November 13, 2023 Permalink

I very much enjoyed Days of Innocence and Wonder by Lucy Treloar. It was unexpected in some ways. The backcover blurb made it sound like the kind of mystery I like to read, but it was deeper and more thought-provoking than I expected. A well-told story of loss, grief and guilt and what happens if they’re left to fester.

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four-stars

Book review: Bright Young Women by Jessica Knoll

Wednesday, October 4, 2023 Permalink

I hadn’t read the blurb for Bright Young Women by Jessica Knoll until after I finished reading it so didn’t know it was inspired by a true story (and even then I just assumed it was someone with whom I wasn’t familiar, not realising it was based on Ted Bundy’s last murders). It explains why Knoll tells us almost nothing about the killer. Including his name. She calls him The Defendant. And I very much appreciated that this book is about his victims and those left behind rather than the killer.

I read Knoll’s Luckiest Girl Alive when it came out in 2015 and more recently watched the Netflix movie based on the book. I also read and reviewed her second book, The Favourite Sister. She writes unlikeable characters well. Almost too well perhaps. Though here her disdain lies with some of the male characters introduced rather than her female leads.

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four-stars

Book review: The House Next Door by MT Edvardsson

Sunday, June 18, 2023 Permalink

The House Next Door by MT Edvardsson unfolds from three points of view. As we’re introduced to them Edvardsson intersperses their narratives with police interviews as each are questioned about the deaths of a man and woman. Slowly over the course of opening chapters we meet most of the players and get a sense of where they fit into this puzzle.

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three-half-stars

Book review: Judgement Day by Mali Waugh

Monday, February 27, 2023 Permalink

Judgement Day by Mali Waugh is essentially a police procedural but we dip enough into the world of the judiciary that it equally qualifies as a legal procedural. Either way it’s an excellent debut by Waugh and gives us a twisty crime to solve and infuses just enough of the non-investigative stuff to offer up characters of substance I’d like to meet again.

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four-stars