The Bullet that Missed by Richard Osman is the latest in the very popular ‘Thursday Murder Club’ series, featuring the elderly residents of Coopers Chase. It’s tremendously good fun. Mostly cosy crime with a few mobsters and murders thrown in. This latest is probably a little more far-fetched than its predecessors, but the series is pure escapism so I try not to think too much about the feasibility of 70 or 80-somethings gadding about after armed and well-connected criminals.
Like several other books I’ve read recently Denizen by James McKenzie Watson was an award-winner before it was even published, winning the 2021 Penguin Literary Prize
I only belatedly requested a review copy after seeing others rave about it following its July 2022 release. And it’s certainly a brilliantly-written book. A confronting and challenging read in some ways and the second I’ve read in a row that tackles mental illness and self-harm.
I’ve read all three of Megan Goldin’s previous books and commented in past reviews that she gives us something different in each outing and I wonder if it’s the varied nature of Goldin’s journalistic background that has her moving between thrillers and domestic noir, dipping into the world of podcasts, cold crimes, rape trials and… escape rooms.
In her latest release, Stay Awake, she explores the world of amnesia, trauma and lost memories. It’s akin to Drew Barrymore’s condition in the popular movie, 50 First Dates… although here it’s brought on my psychological trauma rather than brain damage. Which of course means those memories could reappear at any time…
I hadn’t realised new release The Family Remains by Lisa Jewell was a sequel to the popular The Family Upstairs, published in 2019.
I’ve not read all of Jewell’s books but had read that one and one of our narrators was offering a bit of a recap and I thought, “That sounds familiar…” before going onto Goodreads to discover this was – in fact – a follow-up. I think – in all honesty – it works better having read the original. I didn’t remember the details but (reading my old review and some others on Goodreads) helped remind me of the backstory.
Stone Town by Margaret Hickey is the second in the series featuring small town cop Mark Ariti. I re-read my review of Hickey’s debut novel, Cutters End, before starting the novel but it really wouldn’t matter if you hadn’t read the first in the series. In fact, this works quite well as a standalone if you were to come in fresh. References to Mark’s former wife and old colleagues are easily shared and understood.
I actually liked this more than Cutters End. I think it’s a stronger ‘mystery’ – less convoluted but still complex if that makes sense. Again Hickey cleverly employs snippets of plot elements – two cases blending into one, but in a feasible and not – ultimately – overly coincidental way.
I don’t read much satire. I like humorous books, but usually tend to gravitate to those written in first person by someone who’s self-deprecating or where the narrative voice is snarky or sarcastic. Here Goes Nothing by Steve Tolz was a different kind of read for me. If pressed I’d describe the humour as ‘arch’ rather than funny, though note others have found it hilarious.
In fact… I’m not sure I enjoyed it. (As such.) But I must concede it’s good nonetheless. (And yes, I do think it’s possible to know/think a book is good without liking it.) It’s exceedingly clever and confronting. In terms of social commentary it reminded me of some of my recent reads by Inga Simpson, Sarah Foster and Mitch Albom.
In naming his third novel Everyone In My Family Has Killed Someone, I think Benjamin Stevenson might have been attempting to rival Adrian McKinty’s Police at the Station and They Don’t Look Friendly. When it comes to book title length I mean!
I’ve very much enjoyed Stevenson’s previous novels, Greenlight and Either Side of Midnight. They both featured a crime documentary-maker and were set in TV land. The lengthily named Everyone In My Family Has Killed Someone is a departure, but almost certainly my favourite (of his) to date and I can’t imagine it not being one of my favourite books of the year. And that’s all because of its telling.
The Match by Harlan Coben is billed as Wilde #2. I was a smidge confused by this as I could not recall a ‘Wilde’ #1. I then realised I’d missed The Boy From the Woods so came into this without any backstory. And it didn’t matter at all.
Initially I thought it was going to be reminiscent of Linwood Barclay’s Find You First, which featured someone picking off family members with related DNA (discovered through an ancestry match type place). Happily however the DNA matches aren’t really the tipping point here, rather what brings Wilde into the mix.
I ADORED The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman, released in 2020. I loved the comfort and familiarity of his characters and writing.
The Man Who Died Twice is the second in the series but it doesn’t matter if you’ve not read the first. Other than having met the characters before, there’s no backstory really required to pick things up with the residents of Coopers Chase community known as the Thursday Murder Club… a quartet that revisits cold cases from the comfort of the restaurant of their retirement village, usually with a few bottles of wine to lubricate their minds.