• Book review: The Murder Inn by James Patterson and Candice Fox

    Saturday, February 24, 2024 Permalink

    The Murder Inn by James Patterson and Candice Fox is a sequel to the 2019 collaboration, The Inn. I really enjoyed that book and loved the characters in particular. It was slated as a standalone but I said I hoped there were more and…. ask and you shall receive. Though not always obvs.

    And I loved this sequel just as much. I literally lapped it up, having returned home from a several-day work trip, I ran a bath and dove right in. To the book, not the bath (into which I stepped carefully).

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    four-stars
  • Books featuring quirky characters

    Sunday, February 18, 2024 Permalink

    I love me some quirk. I mean… in general (*shrugs*) but also when reading. In fact it feels like it’s become more of a thing to offer up lead characters who are eccentric, have interesting foibles or idiosyncrasies or (even more specifically) fall on the autism spectrum.

    Whether it’s a physical or mental disorder or illness, something that’s the result of trauma, or ‘just’ a personality quirk, I love that increasingly authors are giving us lead characters who aren’t slick or perfect high-achievers whom we are supposed to aspire to emulate.

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  • Book review: Kind of, Sort of, Maybe, But Probably Not by Imbi Neeme

    Friday, February 16, 2024 Permalink

    I very much enjoyed Imbi Neeme’s 2020 novel, The Spill which featured two sisters and was centred around family relationships and things left to fester. But it has to be said I loved her new release Kind of, Sort of, Maybe, But Probably Not even more. It offers readers flawed but very very likeable and engaging characters, including those floating around the periphery and it features a couple of young women going through some life changing moments, negotiated as they try to uncover an old mystery.

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    four-half-stars
  • Book review: The Roadmap of Loss by Liam Murphy

    Friday, February 9, 2024 Permalink

    I must make a confession… I have absolutely no interest in visiting America. None. Zip. So I’m probably not the ideal audience for The Roadmap of Loss by Liam Murphy which is ostensibly centred around a roadtrip around the US. Although… of course however, the book is about more than roadtripping – it’s about a young man coming to terms with the loss of his mother and (belatedly) the disappearance (and loss) of his father from his life two decades earlier.

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    three-half-stars
  • Book review: Anna O by Matthew Blake

    Sunday, February 4, 2024 Permalink

    Anna O by Matthew Blake borrows its title from the pseudonym of a patient who inspired (or at least influenced) Freud’s origins of psychoanalysis. Of course the character in this book is referenced thus as she either has resignation syndrome (a withdrawal from life – which IS a real thing), or is faking it to avoid murder charges. Also… her name is Anna (Ogilvy).

    This book has been pretty hyped so my expectations were heightened. I received an early copy while at the Theakston Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate last July. I’d expected big things as a result so held off reading it until just before the Australian publication date in early February 2024. And it has to be said my thoughts on it changed many times over the course of its 440-ish pages.

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    four-stars
  • Book review: Glenrock by Lee Christine

    Friday, February 2, 2024 Permalink

    I was initially disappointed that Glenrock by Lee Christine wasn’t going to feature some of the characters from her earlier work but very much enjoyed those she introduced here and now hope to see / meet them again. She introduces a few plot linesĀ  – something that sometimes frustrates me if they ultimately connect in a very nebulous way, but that’s not the case here. She offers two or three distinct storylines that are all connected and merge in a way that isn’t contrived or coincidental. Rather there’s an obvious causal relationship that effortlessly (and tragically) plays out.

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    four-stars
  • Book review: Tipping Point by Dinuka McKenzie

    Thursday, February 1, 2024 Permalink

    Detective Kate Miles is back in Tipping Point by Dinuka McKenzie, the third book in the series featuring the likeable detective balancing her job and life with her husband, two kids and various relatives who seem to come to the attention of police far more than she’d like.

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    four-stars
  • Book review: Whenever You’re Ready by Trish Bolton

    Sunday, January 28, 2024 Permalink

    Whenever You’re Ready by Trish Bolton is a bittersweet tale of family and friendships and of love and loss. I read this as my mother’s 80th birthday neared and was a little sad that there’s even any question about older women’s worth or how much living septuagenarians might have left.

    And of course that’s the thing about age; 30, 50 or 70 seems old… until you’re there. And 10, 15, 20 seems young… unless you’re there. I recall finishing high school and looking at the year 8 students thinking we NEVER looked that young. And now I look at staff in stores and they look like they’re 12.

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    three-half-stars
  • Book review: The Fury by Alex Michaelides

    Sunday, January 21, 2024 Permalink

    The Fury by Alex Michaelides reminded me very much of Benjamin Stevenson’s Ernest Cunningham books, particularly Everyone on This Train is a Suspect, as our narrator is one of the main characters in the story… playing quite a central role and speaking to us (as if in second person) in a very conversational way. Although it has to be said that our host here, playwright Elliot, is more arrogant than Stevenson’s novelist Ernest.

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    three-half-stars