Book review: What Happened to Nina by Dervla McTiernan

Sunday, February 11, 2024 Permalink

We start What Happened to Nina? by Dervla McTiernan in Nina’s head so very much hope that nothing bad happens to her. Yet it does – obviously… or there would be no book. Cos “Nothing Happened to Nina” wouldn’t be very appealing as a novel of suspense or crime fiction.

McTiernan shows us her hand quite early. I was initially disappointed because there’s so much more of the novel to go. It’s only in retrospect that I realise this book was as much about the response or fallout as it was the murder or the investigation.

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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

Book review: Tidelines by Sarah Sasson

Saturday, January 20, 2024 Permalink

Tidelines by Sarah Sasson is an eerily poignant read as it opens after a tragedy then goes back into the past, beguiling readers with the story of siblings; knowing that all does not end well, but intrigued as to how we get there.

As someone who grew up with a high-achieving older brother I could very much relate to young ‘Grub’ here. Elijah is admired and respected by his peers and adults, including their parents. He’s athletic and a talented musician – deemed for greatness. Grub lives in his shadow and conscious of that, but at the same time, not jealous or envious (rather, proud… but at the same time aware of the flaws others might not see).

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four-half-stars

Book (ARC) review: The Silence in her Eyes by Armando Lucas Correa

Wednesday, January 17, 2024 Permalink

I bookmarked the opening sentences of The Silence in her Eyes by Armando Lucas Correa.

On my eight birthday, the world came to a standstill. My mother’s face became a portrait of pain. My father’s face vanished forever.

The story is narrated by Leah, a woman with akinetopsia – or motion blindness. She explains that images stay with her, like photographs. Then she blinks and there’s a new image. It impacts on the way her story unfolds, the way Correa describes her world, what she sees and what she perceives.

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four-stars