Friday, 9 December 2016

John Bowen

John is an author who always produces a great story. This is out today and it's no exception.

Death Stalks Kettle Street link

My review -

Greg suffers from OCD and it rules his life. He becomes involved in a strange situation in which, after people in his street die, apparently accidentally, he is send a 'clue' and receives a phone call with details of the house where the body can be found. With Beth, a local librarian with issues of her own, he tries to discover the murderer.

I enjoyed this story and felt involved in it. I had several different people in my sights but was wrong on each occasion. The plot was threaded through with the crime story Beth was working on in a novel-writing class at the library. It was an unusual idea and edged Beth into taking on the task of finding the murderer. It was great the way two people with their own difficulties managed to support one another. A really good story.

I received a review copy of this book.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Jim Webster

A book of short stories by a 'minor' character.

My review -

This is a great collection of quirky little tales which are a spin-off from a series featuring Benor Dorffingil. Tallis is his friend, landlord, drinking companion and a jobbing poet. There are some lovely phrases used in here, as you would expect from a wordsmith like Tallis, who presents us with his pragmatic take on life. It’s an example of what happens when a minor character takes the reins and gallops off on his own. A great little book.

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Jonathan Hill

A lovely, funny seasonal story.

A Christmas Outing

My review -

David is reluctantly dragged to the Christmas markets by his parents. He's invited his friend Jamie and is looking for the opportunity to tell them that Jamie is more than a friend. This story is full of humour. The parents bicker, to David's embarrassment, and the chance to tell them keeps slipping away. The boys' relationship is delightful and the ending gave me a genuine smile. A brilliant little gem of a seasonal story.

Jim Webster

Another story from Benor's youth.

A Bad Penny

My review -

This is another of the short stories from Port Naain, a place in which I can thoroughly believe. Someone's threatening, even killing, people and leaving a coin as an earnest of their intention. Benor foils one of the threats and becomes drawn in.

Lovely characterisation and a real sense of place make these stories favourites with me.

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Beverley Carter

I've read and enjoyed novellas by Beverley Carter but this new one is a full length novel. It's excellent!

The Lookout

My review -

This is a story of fascinating characters as much as anything. Three adult sisters live together, the oldest looking after them with a very firm hand. Their mother is dead and their father has gone away. They have a brittle relationship with a housekeeper. Tom is a strange man who becomes fascinated with the youngest sister then disappears. Eden Reid is asked by a friend to look for him while she's in the area on business.

I really enjoyed this 'mystery'. I use the quotation marks because the reader sees what happens and it's Eden and her friends who have to put the clues together. Deduction isn't the same as evidence, however, and much though they are convinced they know what happened, and even why, their problem is in making anyone else believe it. A great story, well told.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Jonathan Hill

A novella which packs a large punch.

Not Just a Boy

My review -

This story begins with a headlong chase. It's quite scary but we don't have a context for it until later in the book. As children we all think we're different from others. The boy in the story experiences strong feelings for one of his friends but after they change school he feels left behind. Other boys notice his preferences before he does and he's subjected to bullying, sometimes physical. Tensions rise and the chase scene slots brutally into place.

The author expresses the feelings and fears of an outsider with great skill. The climax of the story is handled sensitively and the book has a satisfying completeness about it. A very good read indeed.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Lynda Wilcox

Another excellent Verity Long story. 

My review -

Verity is helping out with a cold case – an unsolved murder from a year ago in which a teacher was found dead in a school kitchen freezer. Ostensibly undertaking a survey on behalf of the board of governors, she starts her usual snooping, finding the dead woman was not a popular person (epic understatement!). It’s not helping that her side-kick from the force, Becky, is next to useless, moping and distracted. Another puzzle for Verity to solve.

This is another mystery in which just about anyone could have done it, and Verity has to untangle the knots. All I can say is I wouldn’t like her job. I’d be an abject failure. Lynda Wilcox always manages to fool me. The humour which threads through these stories carries them onward and I often end up giggling. Another feather in Verity’s cap and another hit for the author.