I had planned to only read a little of this book one evening. I should know myself better as it’s rare that I can put a book down once I start, but The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell offered a really strong sense of menace. Or doom. Or maybe just suspense…. so I had to keep reading.
The blurb for this bills it as a ‘standalone’ novel. However… I’d be surprised if this doesn’t become a series – assuming it’s well-received that is.
Patterson and Fox establish an excellent cast of characters (though they also kill off a few!!!) – and it feels like we’re on the precipice of getting to know some of the mysterious guests of the inn more. And I’d certainly like to do so.
I’ve actually not read any books in Kate Atkinson’s Jackson Brodie series. Which was a little worrying cos I hate entering series part-way through… and I’ve moaned about that before, so won’t go into it again. Thankfully it wasn’t an issue here as I was able to play along at home without having missed too much context.
The cover of this book includes recommendations from authors of some of my recent faves, and the fact I knew almost all of those quoted boded well for this book… ie. it would sit firmly in my reading comfort zone.
And it certainly did. Mostly. There was a smidge of the paranormal which I’ve struggled with in one of Lisa Unger’s series, but definitely not enough to put me off. And as we’re offered great characters and an intriguing plot, I’m glad I had the chance to dive into this debut novel by Alex North.
I missed the first book in this series (Never Never) but have adored both Fifty Fifty (2017) and Liar Liar (2018). In those reviews I comment on what I think is Candice Fox’s influence or role in the creation of the lead character as I really (really) like Harriet Blue, our enigmatic but troubled lead.
Fox excels in creating amazingly complex (not to mention annoying but likeable) characters and has done the same in her Crimson Lake and Eden Archer series. Of course the short chapters and pace of the novel reflect the style for which James Patterson is known.
I hadn’t requested this book when it was first offered as I think I assumed it was a romance novel or about babies / childbirth. Both of which are kinda sore points for me much of the time.
It wasn’t until later I discovered it was about the recipient of a heart transplant and the wife of her possible donor. It’s a subject I know a little about as my father had a heart transplant (in December 2000) when he was 61, and it gave him 11 additional years with us until he passed away in late October 2011.
I’ve read and enjoyed Charlie Donlea’s first two books, The Girl Who Was Taken and Don’t Believe It and his latest is no different. In fact, I must admit if I have one gripe it would be that it was nearing its end far sooner than I wanted it to. I really did not want it to finish. (Which is rare for me nowadays as most books are longer than I’d like).
Each of Donlea’s other books has been a standalone but featuring such well-developed characters I ALWAYS find myself checking it’s not part of a series. I’m fairly sure I’d be happy to read more featuring each of the leads we’ve met, but Donlea manages to give them a story arc that – though brief – is completely fulfilling for the reader.
The backcover blurb is a bit vague so I had no idea going into this book what it was going to be about, so when we get to the…. ummm… secret quite early on, it’s a surprise.
We then cruise along for a while (giving us time to absorb what we’re reading) and towards the end – BAM! – another twist; making this a very strong debut novel by US author, Samantha Downing.
I really enjoyed this standalone by Harlan Coben. I hadn’t read much of his work until a half a dozen years ago but he’s become a favourite and with about 30 books published (as well as some television series under his belt) he’s proved he’s consistent and a reliable choice when it comes to entertaining reading fodder.