Who knew that Raffles Hotel in Singapore offered a residency program? Well, it does and New Zealand-born Vicki Virtue spent her Writer-in-Residence stint there on The Raffles Affair, featuring ex-MI6 agent Victoria West, now working independently for governments-in-need. Here however, Victoria is attending her close friend’s wedding in Singapore and called upon to do some old school sleuthing.
The Road Trip didn’t seem to arrive with the fanfare of its predecessors but is still an enjoyable read. It unfolds in in two timelines. The present (which involves the very long and fraught road trip) and a period of a year or two in the recent past.
Such a Quiet Place is the fourth of US author, Megan Miranda’s novels I’ve read. It’s about the aftermath of murder in a (kinda) gated community, setting up an intriguing locked room-type mystery. Almost. To the relief of the locals someone was arrested and convicted of the crime. But there’s now the question of whether they were actually guilty.
I’ve seen The Curlew’s Eye by Karen Manton billed as a crime thriller or a gothic mystery. In reality it’s less about a mystery to be solved or any present threat, and more about secrets and pasts that need to be faced up to.
The Five Year Plan is the second book I’ve read by Jodi Gibson, who I know virtually through our shared love of reading and writing. Although this and her previous novel The Memories We Hide, veer a little more towards romance than my usual reading fodder I enjoyed both. They’re quintessential summer reads. They’re comforting…. offering some reassurance that all will be well in/with the world.
In some ways you can predict how things will ultimately end up but it’s the getting-there that I very much enjoyed here, particularly as Gibson predominantly sets this in Bari, in Italy’s Puglia region. I’ve never been but (very) coincidentally was in Italy this time three years ago.
I hated my freckles as a kid. I used to joke about joining them together, like a dot-to-dot drawing. Unfortunately I didn’t have a cute smattering across my nose, rather they were clumped together in splotches. Of course in retrospect I realise I was far more conscious of them than anyone else around me.
The lead character of Cecilia Ahern’s latest novel is given the nickname Freckles for obvious reasons. Allegra doesn’t mind though. She loves her freckles and as a teenager drew links from one to another, mapping constellations.
Sarah Bailey is one of my favourite Australian novelists. I’m a fan of her Gemma Woodstock series which may – or may not – have ended after the third instalment last year. She seems to also be a generous person and happily answered questions for a piece I was writing for my Masters last year (about how / when crime writers decide to end a series).
At the time she was focussed on a new novel, The Housemate, released today in Australia. Again she offers up a likeable but flawed female lead and bounces her off several strong personalities that bring out the best, and worst, in her. I know the whole journey analogy is wanky but I very much liked the journey (well, personal development arc!) Bailey takes our lead, Olive (Oli), on here and the way it complements the unfolding mystery.
Zimbabwean-born, London-dwelling author Paula Hawkins is best-known for her debut novel, The Girl on the Train, a book which seemingly paved the way for a slew of unreliable narrators in popular fiction.
A Slow Fire Burning is her third novel and again she offers us strong, flawed and sometimes-unlikeable female characters. In fact there are several on offer here as – like Hawkins’s second book, Into the Water – this unfolds from multiple points of view all offering very different voices, personalities and views on life.
Unholy Murder is the seventh in the (young) Jane Tennison series. It wasn’t until I started writing this review that I reflected on how Jane’s changed over the course of the books (ie. her career to date). I’m actually quite sure how LaPlante is pacing these but we’re in the 1980s now and obviously getting closer to the original Prime Suspect books and series time-wise.
This series is also a bit of a study in culture and society as – unlike the earliest books – Jane seems to be readily accepted as a police officer now. Definitely respected by her contemporaries and not viewed as an anomaly by the public.