Thursday, September 01, 2016

Local Girl Missing by Claire Douglas

A thrilling tale set in an atmospherically and realistically described out-of-season seaside town, when Sophie's historic disappearance and presumed death is brought into the present with the discovery of a foot in a trainer matching that  she had been wearing when last seen.  Her school friend, Francesca, is asked back to the town by Sophie's brother Daniel, to try to find out just what happened.  Secrets are uncovered and it is hard to know who can be trusted.  The results are surprising and shocking and make a very enjoyable, chilling story.

Oldcliffe-on-Sea is a fictional town on the Somerset coast, but to anyone living in the area, it will be immediately identifiable and that added to my pleasure, but this book does not rely on local knowledge to work well.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Lie With Me by Sabine Durrant

Such an unusual thriller, set in London where the past catches up with has-been author, Paul, and an Ionian island, where he joins a group of old friends for a reunion holiday in the sun.  Paul is something of a fantasist and freeloader, who has spent a dissolute youth and whose drink-drenched memories of ever more youthful conquests are somewhat sketchy.  He has been basking in precocious literary success for a long time, and nothing written since has found favour with his publisher.  But will the exploiter be exploited?  Or can he turn the tables once again?  And has he at last found love?  Sabine Durrant manages to create a character in Paul who is much more engaging than he should be, and has written him into a compelling, suspenseful and dramatic tale in well described settings.  A jolly good read.

Friday, August 12, 2016

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

This book is such a killer chiller thriller.  Every parent's nightmare is the disappearance of their baby, so when this happens to Anne and Marco while they are visiting their next door neighbours with the baby alarm as  their babysitter suddenly has to let them down, it is all too easy to identify with their distress, panic and pain when, on one of their half-hourly checks, little Cora has gone from her cot.  At six months old, she cannot have removed herself, so what has happened?  Clearly someone has taken her, but who, and why?  So the waiting game begins,  and so does the guilt, and so does the uncovering of secrets.  Anne is forced to consider just who would take her baby and why, and who she can trust.  The police are involved - will they solve the mystery and return the baby home?  
This tale is gripping and compulsive reading, with so many twists and turns that it keeps the reader guessing most enjoyably, right to the shocking end.  An excellent grip lit read.

Sunday, August 07, 2016

Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty

Monday, August 01, 2016

Lying in Wait by Liz Nugent,

A monster lurks within these pages, nesting in buried secrets, watching and waiting.  Who it is and what monstrous actions they will cause is cleverly woven into this tale of two Irish families and how their lives become connected across the class divide  Tense and unsettling, a story of Laurence's childhood evolves into a powerful psychological thriller as the monster claims its victims.  Grip lit at its best!

The Beauty of the End, by Debbie Howells

A moving and powerful story of Noah's relationship with Grace, from adolescence, when he, an unpopular and bullied outsider, is smitten and besotted by the goddess he perceives her to be, to an excavation of secrets in a search for the truth as a desperate situation unfolds.  What has Grace been hiding and what has been haunting her?  What is his old school friend,  Matt's, role in this?  This is a taut and intelligently crafted story, a psychological thriller to keep the reader guessing, and a compelling read.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

"Nina Is Not OK" by Shappi Khorsandi

An amazingly insightful book with a main character, Nina, who tore at my heartstrings.  Everything has gone wrong for poor Nina: her father died of alcoholic pancreatitis when she was little, her Mum has a new life with a new partner, and her beloved boyfriend Jamie has decided to take a gap year in Hong Kong before university, then dumps her long-distance when he meets someone else.  Like many young people, Nina likes a drink - or many, and it is starting to leave black holes in her memory and mess up her life.  This story depicts an avalanche of ill fortune and bad judgement but told in such a deft way that our sympathies are kept very much on Nina's side, as we learn how very badly people can behave.  Will Nina be the ultimate victim?  Or will she learn to live with herself and others, and take a different path?  I thought this story was brilliant and that it should be read by everyone.  It shows how damaging low self esteem can be and how it is possible to take a new direction in life.  With cyber-bullying and revenge porn such contemporary issues, it is highly relevant to growing up today and it is one I would want to share with my teenaged children,  It is a gem of a book.  Shappi Khorsandi has a magic muse.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

All Is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker

A somewhat difficult book to read and to review, without giving too much away.  The book is set in small town America and opens with the story of a teenager going to her first house party, invited by her crush.  Things do not work out as anyone would have hoped, and there is an account of a harrowing, brutal rape which I found hard to read and almost gave up.  However, I persevered.  The victim, Jenny is given a drug treatment to erase the memories of this horrible attack, even though it will hinder police investigation of the crime, but it does not work well and memories begin to bubble up, causing much distress.

The next section is written like a case history, as a psychiatrist/psychotherapist gives his account of his treatment of Jenny and her family, and others who have suffered various trauma.  Having  worked in psychiatric and therapeutic settings, I felt very much at home with this, until events made me begin to question the professionalism and ethics of the psychiatrist.

The book throws up all sorts of questions and, as others have mentioned, would be rich pickings for a book club discussion: power in relationships, professional boundaries, the morality of removing troublesome memories of trauma as opposed to seeking to help trauma victims come to terms with what has happened to them and deal with triggers for PTSD are just some of them.  Also,  how far would you go to protect your child?

"Physician, heal thyself" seems pertinent, as does the famous Hippocratic oath, "First,  do no harm."  It is a thought provoking and good if (at times) difficult read.  My final summation was Macchiavelli meets Lolita.  It is a good psychological thriller that will keep the reader guessing.  It is powerful stuff.  You can buy yours in any good book store, or via this link.

 Wendy Walker has worked as an attorney specialising in family law. She lives in Connecticut where she is at work on her next novel.

Want to see what other reviewers have thought?  Here are the other stops on the blog tour:-