Book review: The Vacation by John Marrs

Sunday, January 9, 2022 Permalink

The Vacation by John Marrs is a difficult book to write about. It’s certainly an addictive read as I was desperate to see how it ended – or more accurately – how our characters all fared.

In some ways it’s a bit like a Woody Allen-esque movie featuring a series of vignettes with an array of characters, all with their own stories that come together in some unbelievably coincidental way at the end.

three-half-stars

Book review: Mercy by David Baldacci

Wednesday, October 27, 2021 Permalink

One of the first things you’ll be told as a budding writer is to ‘show’ not ‘tell’. Because apparently audiences (ie. readers) find it boring (or at least less engaging) and feel patronised. At least that’s why I’ve always assumed you don’t provide laborious detail in your prose.

David Baldacci very much breaks that rule in the beginning of his latest novel, Mercy, providing backstory on FBI Agent Atlee Pine and her sister, kidnapped three decades earlier. And I for one appreciated it because, even though I’ve read the entire series AND re-read my review of Mercy’s predecessor, Daylight, I was a bit murky on the details. So Baldacci’s summary – succinct yet informative – hit the spot.

four-stars

Book review: The Hiding Place by Jenny Quintana

Monday, April 5, 2021 Permalink

The Hiding Place is the third novel I’ve read by Jenny Quintana. Looking at my ratings and reviews, my appreciation of her books is pretty consistent. I enjoy them and usually read them in a sitting.

I notice I’ve commented before on the pacing or found their conclusions unsatisfying however, and it was the same here.

It was only when I was in bed after I’d finished reading, that certain factors played on my mind. If you’ve read the book you might also have wondered about Connie’s luggage including the letter from her lover. Why did Quintana make the current tenant of flat one so elusive and felt like an unfollowed thread? And why did Marina try to talk to everyone but Mrs Hyde?

Of course the fact I was pondering it hours after closing the book is probably also a good thing.

three-half-stars

Book review: A Gambling Man by David Baldacci

Friday, April 2, 2021 Permalink

I wasn’t a fan of David Baldacci’s Camel Club series* but have loved almost everything he’s published since. Indeed, his books take up quite a bit of real estate on my bookshelves. I particularly love his Amos Decker and Atlee Pine series but somehow I missed the first in his new historical crime fiction series featuring ex-con Aloysius Archer.

And I enjoyed this so much I’m going to be hunting down its predecessor, One Good Deed.

four-stars

Book review: Daylight by David Baldacci

Wednesday, October 28, 2020 Permalink

I’ve really been enjoying David Baldacci’s series featuring FBI agent Atlee Pine. Daylight is the third in the series and pairs her up with another of Baldacci’s regulars, Army CID officer John Puller.

Although the first two books in this series have also featured stand-alone investigations, they’ve been set against a backdrop of a mystery spanning thirty years and one driving Pine. She made some significant progress in the last book in this series A Minute to Midnight and she’s got time off to follow through here. Those who haven’t read any other books in the series need not worry however, as Baldacci recaps Pine’s backstory easily and most of this book is devoted to a new investigation.

four-stars

Book review: The Survivors by Jane Harper

Thursday, September 24, 2020 Permalink

I’ve actually just written an assignment for my Masters about Australian crime fiction and mentioned Jane Harper’s debut novel, The Dry and the rise and rise of rural or outback noir. Released in 2016 The Dry won much acclaim and a lotta love. It’s since been adapted for television and will hit our screens in 2021. And though I’m looking forward to it, I much preferred Harper’s 2019 standalone novel, The Lost Man.

Although her fourth book, The Survivors, has a different feel to Harper’s previous books, it occurred to me there’s a strong theme underpinning all of her novels (including the two Aaron Falk ‘detective-based’ books). It’s one of families, of childhood and long-past legacies, and the impact they continue to have many years later.

four-stars

Book review: The Half Sister by Sandie Jones

Wednesday, June 24, 2020 Permalink

I’ve read a few twisty books lately and The Half Sister by Sandie Jones is yet another. It’s probably a little (well, very) deceiving as several times I thought I knew what was happening. In fact, I often felt a sense of frustration as it felt far too obvious and predictable.

But of course I was wrong on those occasions and Jones takes readers in another direction entirely.

four-stars

first, we make the beast beautiful by Sarah Wilson

Monday, April 27, 2020 Permalink

I’ve mentioned it a zillion times so you may be aware I don’t read non-fiction. I had heard however, a lot of good things about first, we make the beast beautiful by Sarah Wilson. And given everything happening at the moment, it seemed like a good time to dive into the beast-infested waters.

Wilson is of course known best for her I Quit Sugar initiative, program and books. For some reason I’d thought she’d separated herself from that movement but it’s mentioned a bit here. Although this book was first released in 2017.