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.
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’.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Golden Couple by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen is the fourth book I’ve read by the editor/writer duo and all four books have a place on my bookshelf which is a clear indicator I’ve enjoyed them enough to decide to keep them – which I don’t often do nowadays.
Their latest is another twisty and intriguing tale that I very much enjoyed. It wasn’t quite what I expected which is a good thing. At its centre is a disgraced therapist and I was expecting someone dodgy with nefarious motivations which is not at all the case.