Friday, April 21, 2017

The Lost Children by Helen Phifer

An exciting thriller featuring an interesting pairing of detectives in Lucy Harwin and Mattie Jackson, set in the fictional coastal town of Brooklyn Bay, and dealing with the consequences of historic treatment of  child patients in the local psychiatric asylum.  It's an interesting angle and well handled.  There are twists, surprises, threats and dire danger, making for compulsive, gripping reading.

He said/She said by Erin Kelly

A riveting story, a psychological thriller with an unusual element: solar eclipses.  When Laura and Kit cross paths with Beth at an eclipse festival in Cornwall, nothing will ever be the same again. Who can we trust, is honesty always the best policy or should we protect those we love by keeping them in ignorance?  Integrity and reputation are central to the plot, and each individual's perception of an event will be different.  I've just finished reading this compelling story, and found the twists and turns in the characters' fortunes, their challenges and tragedies believable and the writing excellent.  It's hard to review without giving away too much, but this is an accomplished, enjoyable, intelligent and original novel which is well worth immersing oneself in.  It's a jolly good read.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Sleep Tight by Caroline Mitchell

DS Ruby Preston has another murderer to find: this one is extremely creepy and the case is turning out to have leads that come very close to home.  Ruby grew up in the East End and went to school in the area.  She is pursuing a career with the Shoreditch police, while some of her class mates are from the families of local crime lords (including her estranged sweetheart, Nathan Crosby and his brother Lenny).  A girl is found, murdered, in a local park, but then another body, this time staged in an adjacent cemetery to look like Snow White, and crucial evidence is found in the home of someone she cares about.   Ruby continues to go her own way rather than follow procedure. and puts herself at risk rather than let more victims fall to this sinister killer.  There's plenty of suspense and surprises in this compulsive read of a book, and it leaves me wondering where Ruby's cases will next take her.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan

This book is an absolute delight to read: an unusual story (with stories within), mystery, love, friendship, kindnesses and ghosts.  Superbly crafted and beautifully written, it transports the reader into its world and is one of those you can't wait to finish but don't want to end.  A total pleasure, deserves to be widely read and would be an interesting book club choice.

If Ever I Fall by S.D. Robertson

Such a good story, a sort of psychological thriller but with a difference.  It is very much about love and loss, there is suspense and I found it immensely moving.  Well worth reading.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

How to be Human by Paula Cocozza

Spellbinding and unusual, Mary's story is one of loneliness, isolation and possible madness.  Living alone in the house she once shared with her ex-partner, financially tied to her unfulfilling administrative job, she values the urban woodland wilderness caught between roads that her garden backs onto.  The part its wildlife plays in her life is something she values, but her neighbours don't seem to feel the same way.  It seems that there is more than one way to be human, in the end - and no (wo)man is an island.  Beautifully written, this is a lovely book.

Born Bad by Marnie Riches

Not a Georgina McKenzie-series book, but a gritty and compelling stand-alone about gangsters in Manchester and how a butterfly-effect type event can unleash an out-and-out war between rival groups.  Both amusing and horrific, it kept me happily entertained and was well worth reading.

Last Breath by Robert Bryndza

Another excellent crime thriller by Robert Bryndza, centred around DCI Erika Foster and her colleagues.  Despite having been assigned away from the Murder Investigation Team, Erika finds a way to attend the crime scene when a body is found in a dumpster in a car park.  Very much led by instinct and intuition, she cannot let it go and begins to look deeper, managing to get herself, eventually, reassigned to the investigation.  This is a compelling and thrilling read, cleverly crafted and plotted, with intriguing and believable characters who are beginning to feel like old friends. Good one, Robert!

Dead in the Water by Matthew Costello and Neil Richards

A detective thriller with an undercurrent of romance and set in the Cotwolds, Dead in the Water makes for pleasurable reading.  Suspend disbelief at the way the local bobby co-operates with private detective and web designer Sarah Edwards when a teacher at her children's school is found dead in the river after the school prom, and that the head teacher calls her in to investigate with no financial discussion - and we know how tight public service budgets are these days.  But, putting these niggles aside, it's a good yarn.  Was the death the result of foul play or a symptom of how far drugs have become a part of school life?  And why has Jack Brennan, with whom Sarah has investigated a case in the past, returned from the States without letting her know?  There is suspense, there is danger and there is a satisfying solution.  Worth spending time with.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Everything but the Truth by Gillian McAllister

A compelling psychological thriller about love, trust and guilty secrets.  Rachel used to be a doctor but gave up medicine and has been working in an office.  She meets journalist Jack and they fall head over heels in love.  However, Rachel has experienced a series of traumatic losses which left her with trust issues: these begin to impinge on their relationship, and Jack seems evasive.  The complication is that Rachel and Jack have made a baby.

Just how well can we ever know another person?  Are any of us truly innocent?  And should the quest for truth take precedence over trust?    These are some of the themes explored in this very enjoyable story which begs to be a book club choice because there are so many issues raised and points to ponder and discuss. 

Monday, February 06, 2017

Adventures in Modern Marriage by William Nicholson

An intelligent, enjoyable, and tenderly humorous tale of love, lust, identity and midlife crisis in a world where life and marriage can last way beyond the child rearing years.  Almost a comedy of manners, the characters negotiate their way through a maze of responsibility, morality, excitement, loss, disappointment and fulfilment in a way which will resonate with the contemporary reader.  Adventures in Modern Marriage is a pleasure to read.

I Liked My Life by Abby Fabiaschi

An unusual story about love, life after death and mourning someone whose manner of death seems totally alien to the person you knew.    Madeline has dedicated her life to caring for her daughter, sixteen year old Eve, and beloved husband Brady - until she takes a fatal fall from the roof of the library where she volunteers.  Eve and Brady have to reconsider everything they thought they knew about her as a result of her suicide, and Madeline wants to help them cope with moving on into life without her, before she lets them go.  It is an engrossing story, moving and gently humorous and an enjoyable read.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Everything You Told Me by Lucy Dawson

I experienced some problems reading this tale, because there was a disconnect between what I know and what was being said in it - but this was somewhat explained in the way it all turned out, and I'll say no more, because I wish to remain spoiler-free!  Aside from this difficulty, I thought this a very interesting and unusual story and I could easily identify with poor, frazzled and exhausted Sally, as two of my three children believed that sleep was a waste of their lives.  However, thankfully I never found myself, like Sally, waking alone in the back of a taxi at the far end of the country in pyjamas and a raincoat, and with just enough cash to cover the fare.  This is a pacey and complex story which contains plenty to keep the reader guessing as a nightmarish series of events unfolds and a family's safety and happiness is jeopardised..