• Book review: The Others by Mark Brandi

    Sunday, July 4, 2021 Permalink

    If I understood the genesis of the term waxing lyrical (and wasn’t too lazy to google it) I would say I would be doing just that about The Others by Mark Brandi. Because I adored this book.

    Brandi’s given us an amazing narrator in 11 year old Jacob and I do have a penchant for books written from a child’s point-of-view. It has to be done well though because their voice can very easily seem off. It can hard to capture innocence and naiveté of the young, when some – like Jacob – have good cause not to be.

    five-stars
  • Book review: When You Are Mine by Michael Robotham

    Friday, July 2, 2021 Permalink

    One of Michael Robotham’s very popular standalone books The Secrets She Keeps, examines an unlikely friendship between two women. His latest release When You Are Mine is similarly themed, featuring a toxic friendship that shifts into obsession.

    It occurs to me some of Robotham’s best work seem to be less about the solving of crimes and more about people; human nature – the best of it and the worst – and it’s this insight into our behaviour, that make his books addictive reads.

    five-stars
  • Book review: Hostage by Clare Mackintosh

    Sunday, June 27, 2021 Permalink

    It’s very weird to read two similar books in close succession. Obviously it’s not the fault of either author, both of whom have invested significant time and energy in their story ideas.

    Falling by TJ Newman is an excellent thriller featuring a pilot whose family (back home) is held hostage; the captors threatening to kill them if he doesn’t purposely crash his plane, killing everyone onboard.

    Clare Mackintosh’s latest book Hostage is similarly themed, though focussed on a flight attendant whose young daughter is threatened unless she (the mother, not the 5 year old!) takes down the plane.

    four-stars
  • Book review: Dream Girl by Laura Lippman

    Friday, June 25, 2021 Permalink

    In her latest novel, Dream Girl, Laura Lippman is able to draw on her knowledge and experience of writing and the publishing industry to offer up a fairly blunt insight into the life of an author.

    Through her lead character Gerry, she also offers some commentary on ‘cancel culture’. I couldn’t quite decide if she was supportive of society’s current penchant for calling out bad or inappropriate behaviour and prejudices, or slightly cynical about how easily some to use (the notion of) ‘cancel culture’ to dismiss stuff that annoys us or with which we disagree. Either way, Gerry finds himself constantly wondering if he’s able to say something or think something lest he be berated for its inappropriateness. It’s interesting because, as we gain more insight into his character and his background there’s a sense that the ‘he doth protest too much’ thing is actually rather warranted.

    three-half-stars
  • Book review: Local Woman Missing by Mary Kubica

    Wednesday, June 23, 2021 Permalink

    I’m a fan of suspense novelist Mary Kubica and though haven’t read all of her novels I very much enjoyed When the Lights Go Out and Pretty Baby.

    Her latest, Local Woman Missing, is an intriguing read – unfolding in two timeframes. All of the bad stuff – women disappearing – happens 11 years ago, and in the present chickens come home to roost and secrets are uncovered. Or something.

    four-stars
  • Book review: The Maidens by Alex Michaelides

    Saturday, June 19, 2021 Permalink

    The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides was released in 2019 and I very much enjoyed the British-Cypriot’s debut novel. In my review I talk about Michaelides’s background in psychology which allowed him to offer readers insight into therapeutic relationships. I also commented that I was very surprised by a twist at the end and – it has to be said – the same things are true of his new novel, The Maidens.

    There’s less of a focus on psychotherapy here – though our lead character is a group counsellor – but it’s still very much a psychological thriller and I really did not pick whodunnit as Michaelides crafts a brilliantly complex web of intricate threads that could take us any number of places.

    four-stars
  • Book review: Snowflake by Louise Nealon

    Thursday, June 17, 2021 Permalink

    I’d only just hopped in the bath and started to read Snowflake by Louise Nealon when I shared a picture (of the book, not me…) and commented that I didn’t think I was going to be able to put it down until I finished.

    Such is the addictive allure of 18 year old Debbie and the world in which she inhabits. Nealon opens by giving us some history into Debbie and her family – her uncle Billy and, to a lesser extent, her mother Maeve. in fact it takes Debbie a while to reflect on childhood events involving her mother and when she does it’s centred around her dreams and her mother’s belief that both she and Debbie have the ability to see other’s dreams.

    four-half-stars
  • Book review: Vanished by James Delargy

    Saturday, June 12, 2021 Permalink

    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.

    Thankfully the mystery surrounding the disappearing family is very much grounded in human actions and interactions… and they’re not swallowed by the earth or some creature hovering beneath.

    three-stars
  • Book review: Mirror Man by Fiona McIntosh

    Wednesday, June 9, 2021 Permalink

    Mirror Man by Fiona McIntosh is the third in the series featuring Scotland Yard detective Jack Hawksworth, promoted here to Detective Superintendent.

    I’ve commented in my review of the two previous books that I very much like that McIntosh presents Jack as a likeable boss and his own supervisor is also a good friend of his. It’s a nice change from the usual bastard-like guv’ners we meet in most novels featuring police personnel.

    three-half-stars