Book review: Win by Harlan Coben

Friday, March 26, 2021 Permalink

I’ve mentioned before I was a latecomer to Harlan Coben’s work. I’m not sure why that was, but I’ve certainly enjoyed his most recent books, many of which have been standalone novels. It means I’m not really familiar with his popular protagonist Myron Bolitar, though I loved my brief interlude with his nephew Mickey in Found, published in 2014.

I’m assuming our lead in Coben’s latest novel, Win, was introduced in the Myron Bolitar series and as this is labelled Windsor Horne Lockwood III #1, I’m figuring it’s a spinoff.

And that excites me because I really loved this book. I adored Win. I adored Coben’s conversational style of writing. It felt like he was writing in second person, as if Win was telling ‘us’ his story. It was engaging and funny and Win, as a narrator, is unabashedly arrogant and elitist. If the plot had been a little less coincidental / contrived this might have been a five star read for me, but instead Mr Coben will have to settle for 4.5 stars.

four-half-stars

Book review: The Burning Girls by CJ Tudor

Thursday, February 18, 2021 Permalink

They were a few weeks apart but it bodes well for 2021 that I read two books that I’m rating an easy 4.5 stars – a very rare honour in my world. The first was Linwood Barclay’s new release Find You First and the second, The Burning Girls by CJ Tudor.

This is the third book I’ve read by Tudor but I don’t think it’d appeared in any new release catalogues that I recall so I sent a query after seeing her talk about the book on Twitter. I’d missed her 2020 release, The Other People, but heard great things about it. And thank god I chased for a copy because I freakin’ loved this book. There’s a fabulous twist early and they really don’t stop coming.

four-half-stars

Book review: The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

Saturday, September 5, 2020 Permalink

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman came as a huge surprise. I’d requested it thinking it sounded a bit quirky but at the same time unsure I wanted to hang with a bunch of old people talking murders.

But it’s addictive. It’s cleverly-written, extremely funny and offers up some delightful characters. It reminded me of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, Britt-Marie was Here and The Single Ladies of Jacaranda Retirement Village. With a side or two of murder thrown in for good measure.

four-half-stars

Book review: Either Side of Midnight by Benjamin Stevenson

Friday, August 28, 2020 Permalink

Benjamin Stevenson’s second book, Either Side of Midnight again features (former) true-crime documentary-maker Jack Quick which I assumed meant I needed to refamiliarise myself with his character.

Deep diving into our past (mine and Jack’s), ie. reading my review of Greenlight, reminded me I really enjoyed the book and found Jack to be a bit of an enigma. However I also discovered I’d cunningly kept spoilers out of my review. Spoilers that obviously included VITAL information about Jack and the events at the end of that book. (Well, shit!)

Thankfully, Stevenson recaps pretty quickly here and I was reminded that, in Jack, we’re offered a rare insight into a really fragile and complex male character.

four-half-stars

Book review: The Night Swim by Megan Goldin

Tuesday, August 4, 2020 Permalink

This is the third novel I’ve read by former journalist Megan Goldin. Her debut The Girl in Kellers Way was published in 2017 and The Escape Room in 2018. Interestingly all three books have felt kinda different. The first was very much domestic noir; the second a suspenseful thriller; and here there’s less of a sense of impending doom. The Night Swim is more about human nature – about people and the things we do. The things we don’t do. For me it also offered a sense of sad wistfulness, a sense of injustice.

Interestingly, though I liked our lead character Rachel, Goldin doesn’t give us a lot of information about her. This book, which I really enjoyed, is very plot driven. And we’re actually offered two mysteries: a rape trial which is the subject of Rachel’s podcast; and a death from 25 years earlier.

four-stars

Book review: The Suicide House by Charlie Donlea

Sunday, August 2, 2020 Permalink

I love Charlie Donlea’s books. In fact, I gave his last, The Woman in Darkness, 4.5 stars which is a rarity for me. I make the point in that book that his titles are always standalones but that I hoped to see one of the characters introduced there (Rory), again.

And, well… he was obviously listening cos, she’s back!*

Having said that, it doesn’t matter if you haven’t read The Woman in Darkness as Donlea quickly shares Rory’s quirks and the abilities her autism offers her.

four-stars

Book review: The Bluffs by Kyle Perry

Thursday, July 9, 2020 Permalink

The Bluffs is the debut novel by Kyle Perry and a lot of reviewers I know have loved this book. So… my thoughts deviate a little from the norm.

Don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed the book. I read it in a sitting and (eventually) turned the pages quickly, keen to learn more.

But it took me a while to get to that point. In fact I almost put it aside (to read later) a few times in the first few chapters.

The structure confused me as did the obvious reference to Picnic at Hanging Rock. I adored Joan Lindsay’s novel but HATED the posthumous final chapter that leapt into the supernatural. So, talk of portals and other realms here almost had me running for the… (ahem) bluffs.

three-half-stars

Book review: The Spill by Imbi Neeme

Sunday, June 7, 2020 Permalink

The blurb of The Spill by Imbi Neeme talks about the relationship between two sisters who remember their childhoods quite differently.

I was intrigued by that as I often have very specific memories of events from my childhood or teenage years which my mother debunks. They feel real or true to me and yet mum is like… “That didn’t happen.” It’s weird, to misremember things. I ponder how those memories were planted in my head. Were they things I wanted or thought at the time, or have they replaced the real events with the advantage of hindsight or wistfulness years later.

three-half-stars

Book review: Sticks and Stones by Katherine Firkin

Tuesday, May 26, 2020 Permalink

I suspect Sticks and Stones by Katherine Firkin will eventually become Detective Emmett Corban #1, but as this is Firkin’s debut novel it’ll probably be updated once the next book in the series comes along. And—in case you’re wondering—I believe there will be another book as Emmett is eminently likeable and Firkin creates an engaging support ensemble to assist in the series’ longevity.

I read Sticks and Stones before Buried by Lynda La Plante and in that review I commented on the fact that our lead detective (Jack) was kinda ungrateful for the opportunity he’d been given in the Serious Crimes Squad. I said that with Emmett in mind… as he’d been keen for a place in the Homicide or Cold Case Squad after a promotion… instead finding himself heading up the Missing Persons’ Unit which he ‘finds’ (#sorrynotsorry) less-than-exciting.

four-stars