Vanished by James Delargy is a difficult book to describe. I assumed it to be a thriller, but as I started reading I was worried there were going to be some supernatural forces at play and that’s not a genre I enjoy.
Falling by TJ Newman opens with a bang and does not release its readers until the very end.
In fact I must confess I skimmed far more than I meant to here, but it was only because I felt the urgent need to know what would happen. I could not turn the pages quickly enough. I’m fairly sure I held my breath on a number of occasions and steeled myself (several times) for the worst.
The Bone Code by Kathy Reichs is the 20th in the series featuring forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan. I’ve been reading the series since just after its commencement. My small paperback copy of her first novel, Deja Dead, complete with yellowed pages has my name and the year 1999 scrawled inside the cover.
Weirdly I didn’t ever really take to the TV series based on the books, Bones, but know it probably helped bring new readers into the fold a decade or so later.
I’m generally a quick reader but You Love Me by Caroline Kepnes, the latest in the series featuring the charming psychopath Joe Goldberg, took me a long time (ie. several sittings) to read.
I’m not sure if I wasn’t sufficiently engaged, or if it’s because her style of writing requires significant focus and I can’t skim as I’m wont to do.
Despite that I enjoyed this book, certainly more than the second in the series, Hidden Bodies which I found to be rather inconsistent – in terms of its plot and pacing.
I read Pip Drysdale’s The Sunday Girl when it was released in 2018 and her subsequent novel of suspense The Strangers We Know the following year. Both feature flawed but engaging narrators and relationships-gone-bad, with themes around trust and disappointment.
The Paris Affair initially had me comparing it to Netflix’s Emily in Paris, given there’s a slightly similar feel to the early pages with a confident and ambitious Harper heading off to Paris to work for an English-language French publication. When we meet her she’s keen to wow the world but struggling to find her feet professionally.
Here however, we’ve got the added bonus of a murder. So, Emily in Paris meets The Girl on the Train. Perhaps.
I was part-way through My Best Friend’s Murder by Polly Phillips when it occurred to me it might be set in Australia. What I very much liked about that thought was not that it might be set in my home country, but rather it translated into any number of locations. An excellent idea for a debut author which would make the book relevant and relatable across a number of english-speaking markets. Of course there might (also) have been references to places or landmarks I missed or didn’t recognise!
I’m not sure why I wasn’t drawn to The Miseducation of Evie Epworth earlier. I’m a sucker for a weird book title. Think, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, The Truths and Triumphs of Grace Atherton and We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves. Not to mention almost everything by Swedish writer Fredrik Backman.
One of my friends loved this debut novel by Matson Taylor but it still took me months to get to it and I am so thankful I did. In fact, although I was keen for something light… a good psychological thriller about some murderous psychopath; from the opening lines of this novel I was transported into Evie’s world. It’s written in first person from 16 year old Evie’s point of view and almost akin to stream-of-consciousness thinking. Taylor gives Evie a really delightful voice and this is a quirky and often-funny read. At the same time however, there are moments of poignancy, some of which come as a result of life experience and realising things young Evie does not.
I must admit I hadn’t requested The Mother Fault by Kate Mildenhall for review. I hadn’t read the blurb so assumed it to be another book about a mother ‘losing’ a child or a child being hurt and – very literally – the mother being blamed, or at fault.
As someone without kids I struggle a bit with all of the books about parenthood and its highs and lows. But I kept hearing amazing things about this book so finally decided to give it a try. And I am soooo glad I did because I loved it and only later realised ‘fault’ was less about blame, than a geological reference. D’oh!
House of Correction by Nicci French is the latest standalone by the married couple Nicci Gerrard and Sean French. It’s an interesting book. I initially engaged with our lead Tabitha though was a little baffled by her naiveté about her predicament (ie. in jail on remand but assuming ‘the truth will set her free’). Then we see a side of her that had me realising she was perhaps not entirely a nice person. And – though I can cope with unreliable or unlikeable narrators if they’re psychopaths or sociopaths, I wasn’t sure I’d cope with one who was just a bitch.