Book review: The Morbids by Ewa Ramsey

Thursday, September 3, 2020 Permalink

When I first saw The Morbids by Ewa Ramsey I assumed the title reflected something fairly obscure in the way literary fiction sometimes does. It didn’t occur to me it was actually named after people with morbid thoughts. I’m intrigued now, wondering if fatalistic people, or those who assume death is around the corner…. are officially called / nicknamed morbids.

I must admit I love the word morbid and use it far more than I should. I’m not hugely paranoid about death but I certainly used to get on planes or helicopters in obscure dodgy locales (in my previous life in international development) nervously flashforwarding to the ‘Lifetime movie of the week’ about our demise.

Anyway, I digress as I am prone to do. What’s important is whether I liked this book. And yes… I loved it. Really bloody loved it. It’s easily a contender for my favourite book this year.

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five-stars

Book review: House of Correction by Nicci French

Tuesday, September 1, 2020 Permalink

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.

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three-half-stars

Book review: The Girl from Widow Hills by Megan Miranda

Sunday, August 30, 2020 Permalink

The Girl from Widow Hills is the third book I’ve read by Megan Miranda and each has been very different though all nice and twisty.

In some ways it’s a familiar premise… a young woman running from her past gets caught up in a murder that means her secrets are uncovered. I fully expected it to be slightly cliched with our lead Olivia, becoming the police’s key suspect. Interestingly however, it’s really only Olivia who second-guesses herself.

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three-half-stars

Book review: Either Side of Midnight by Benjamin Stevenson

Friday, August 28, 2020 Permalink

Benjamin Stevenson’s second book, Either Side of Midnight again features (former) true-crime documentary-maker Jack Quick which I assumed meant I needed to refamiliarise myself with his character.

Deep diving into our past (mine and Jack’s), ie. reading my review of Greenlight, reminded me I really enjoyed the book and found Jack to be a bit of an enigma. However I also discovered I’d cunningly kept spoilers out of my review. Spoilers that obviously included VITAL information about Jack and the events at the end of that book. (Well, shit!)

Thankfully, Stevenson recaps pretty quickly here and I was reminded that, in Jack, we’re offered a rare insight into a really fragile and complex male character.

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four-half-stars

Book review: Hermit by SR White

Tuesday, August 25, 2020 Permalink

Hermit by SR White is not at all what I expected. Someone else told me the same thing and I didn’t understand what they meant. Weirdly I was intrigued rather than particularly engaged for much of the book. But then things are revealed towards the end that are shocking. Like… beyond-imaginable shocking.

Some of the revelations come from left field and ultimately help us understand the quiet hermit-like man accused of the crime central to this book. There is, however, also a sense of frustration and injustice that the ending brings. And that’s complicated a little by the fact that White ultimately whets our appetite and leaves us wanting more.

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four-stars

Book review: Still Life by Val McDermid

Sunday, August 23, 2020 Permalink

It’s great to see DCI Karen Pirie and her cold case underling DC Jason Murray back again in Still Life, the sixth in the series by Val McDermid.

Here Pirie’s Historic Case Unit team (of two) is paired with an inexperienced crime squad in Fife when a new murder has ties to a past crime.

I particularly enjoyed the introduction of DS Daisy Mortimer from the crime squad. She’s keen to learn and I appreciated the honest ‘we’re-in-over-our-heads-and-happy-for-help’ approach with which McDermid portrays her and her boss Charlie. Rather than any petty rivalry cos that bastard-ry and competitiveness between cops can get a bit old.

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four-stars

Book review: The Killings at Kingfisher Hill by Sophie Hannah

Thursday, August 20, 2020 Permalink

I’ve talked before about discovering Agatha Christie in my teens. I snapped up faded copies of her books from second hand stores when home from University and devoured them. They’re books I’ve kept and—when I had hour-long* baths—were the perfect bath-reading fodder as I could easily read the exploits of Miss Marple or Hercule Poirot in a sitting.

I was excited when it was announced that Sophie Hannah would be reviving Poirot. The Killings at Kingfisher Hill is the fourth book following Poirot’s resurrection. I commented in my review of Closed Casket that Hannah has a different style to Christie… the books are much longer, the crimes more complex and Poirot feels more verbose but it’s wonderful to be reunited.

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three-half-stars

Book review: Blunt Force by Lynda LaPlante

Tuesday, August 18, 2020 Permalink

In my review of the previous book in the (young) Jane Tennison series (The Dirty Dozen) I commented that I thought Jane was finally becoming more accepted by her male colleagues. Of course in that book she’d been appointed to the Flying Squad (the Sweeney) and very excited about it until she learned she was part of an experiment and—of course—things didn’t go as planned.

When Blunt Force opens she’s still a Detective Sergeant but posted to a small station and bored shitless. She’s there with colleague Spencer who’s also in the bad books and been sidelined. On a positive note… though she still seems to be the one fetching lunch and making tea and coffee, she and her abilities as a copper seem to be respected by her new colleagues.

Happily for Jane (and Spencer) they pick up a grisly murder case so get to escape the boring pickpockets and petty thefts.

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four-stars

Book review: The Girl in the Mirror by Rose Carlyle

Sunday, August 16, 2020 Permalink

I didn’t get The Girl in the Mirror by Rose Carlyle for review but was hearing a lot about it so borrowed it from a friend. Everyone seemed to find it twisty and had a desire to talk about it after they finished. That’s usually a good sign as it might mean you think you know how it ended but are not quite sure. Of course it’s hard for authors to achieve that balance between…. “WTF just happened?” leaving readers confused with too many unanswered questions; and tying everything up neatly with a bow.

This debut novel by New Zealand author Carlyle was probably a tad more predictable than I had anticipated (given the hype). You know what’s ultimately coming but not how, but it’s certainly enjoyable nonetheless.

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four-stars