Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Sibel Hodge

A very enjoyable read.

Duplicity

Amazon.com link

My review -

Alissa is beautiful, much loved and newly-married to the rich and successful Max. He’s then murdered in his home and she flees to a neighbour after climbing from her bathroom window. DS Carter is part of the team looking into the murder and his superior is convinced that Alissa is innocent and her ex-boyfriend is the killer. Carter, with his own baggage to carry, thinks she’s hiding something.

Part way through this book we realise a truth and this colours everything else. It hinges on a massive co-incidence which I’m happy to swallow in the circumstances. Once Carter gets too close to the truth, he is taken off the case by his superiors for interfering when it’s all solved. They don’t realise that there’s still danger to one of the team. The ending is revelatory and exciting. I really enjoyed this story.


I received a review copy from THE Book Club on Facebook.

Friday, 23 December 2016

Katherine Roberts

A very short read, this, but so different. I finished it and said 'Wow!' and that doesn't often happen!


Empire of the Hare

Amazon.com link

M y review -

This story is short but it socks you between the eyes. Forget what you know of Boudicca, the brave woman defending her people from the might of Rome. This is Fantasy colliding with the Dark Ages and producing something stirring and memorable. Sometimes you read something that makes you really think. This, for me, is one of those stories.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Lynda Wilcox

Another Verity Long mystery is a reason to rejoice. I love the character and this is no exception.


Long Deathly Christmas

Amazon.com link

My review -

Verity and her new husband Jerry are invited to spend Christmas with his siblings and their spouses, at his brother-in-law’s palatial mansion, Thornley Park. She meets her new nephew and niece, Thornley and Cecilia. Verity asks Thornley if she can call him Thor, which delights him as his own name is a real mouthful. During the festivities, the Tremayne Treasure, a miniature painting, goes missing. Verity’s investigative juices spill over and she gets her teeth into another mystery.


I loved all the characters here, and especially the eight year-old Thor. I’d love to think he’ll appear in future stories. He brings out aspects of Verity’s character she didn’t know were there. I had a slight problem with the timeline of one of the characters, but it didn’t impact my enjoyment of this tale. As usual, some of Verity’s thoughts made me laugh aloud. A great story.

Caroline Mitchell

A breathtaking ride here from an author who can really ramp up the tension.



Witness

Amazon.com link

My review - 

Rebecca has been snared into what becomes a very dark, psychologically and physically abusive, relationship with Solomon, who seems heaven-sent when he befriends her as her mother is dying. He isn’t all he seems, though, and she is a witness at his trial for murder. When, ten years later, he is released, she thinks she is safe with her husband and child in Wales. She isn’t. Solomon, an IT expert, finds ways to watch her, follow her and make her witness crimes against others. ‘If you go to the police, you will die’. Worse, he makes her choose the victim.


There were times I wanted to shout at Becky not to give in to his demands. How could she let herself be manipulated like that? Yet she had fallen into the initial relationship when at her most vulnerable, and Solomon had appeared to come to save her, to look after her and be kind. By the time she found out what he was really like, she was in too deeply to escape. So many abusive relationships take this course and the resulting story is tense and very gripping. Tension mounts as we know that her closest family will be pulled into the net. The ending is surprising. Absolutely a five star read!

Friday, 16 December 2016

Darren Humphries

A sequel (long awaited by me) to An Orc Not Like Others. 


An Orc Like Balrek

Amazon.com

My review -

I absolutely loved An Orc Not Like Others, author Darren Humphries’ first Orc book, and I’m delighted to see this sequel. Balrek was created as a fighting monster – cannon fodder, you might say – but he has more about him than most humans or elves. He is married to a human woman, a spirited creature named Elynore, and together they are City-king and City-queen in a successful and prosperous kingdom. Many of their subjects are also orcs. Balrek is different from the others in that he is super-intelligent and can out-think most of his fellow city rulers – and the elves. In a botched attempt by elves to assassinate him, his beloved Elynore is struck by a dagger. It’s a superficial wound, but the blade delivered a poison. A quartet of characters embark on a classic quest for the antidote – assuming one even exists.


This book is full of humour, dark at times, and lots of great characters. Balrek himself is still fully orc and when it’s necessary to kill, he does so brutally and quickly. Although he is a superior being in many ways, he is still true to his own nature. His wife, Elynore, is brave, feisty and besottedly in love with him, as he is with her. Some of the minor characters are really well drawn too, and I loved the banter, antipathy and later mutual appreciation displayed by gambler and womaniser Dahl and the healer Adriana. Some of the other city rulers face their prejudices about the orc king and there’s plenty of plotting and fighting here. It’s a thought-provoking read. Shrek it ain’t!

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Robert Bryndza

This is my first encounter with Coco Pinchard. She's a force of nature!




My review - 

Coco wants her son to have his heart’s desire on Christmas morning. Don’t we all, but some years there’s a run on the ‘must have’ gift, and it can’t be obtained for love nor money. In the year in question, it’s Thunderbirds’ Tracy Island. I remember – and the time it was the Telly Tubbies! Coco goes through a form of hell to make sure her boy isn’t disappointed.

This novella is full of the sort of visual humour that you’d love to see on the television. It would make a good one-off before Christmas as it’s teeming with great characters, and strange, often silly, situations. It’s a light-hearted look at the things we all remember, even if we didn’t get into them up to our necks, like Coco! 

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Debbie McGowan

This is a novella length Christmas story and a great, uplifting read - without being schmaltzy!




My review -

A young girl has run away from home. Her family's views and her upbringing have led to her preferring to spend December living rough, moving from town to town and sleeping on the freezing streets rather than going back home. Just before Christmas she finds unexpected help.

I love this story, which is superficially simple but contains a lot of depth. Can you - should you - offer money to an apparent vagrant? Will they spend it on drink or drugs? Is it enough to have good intentions? Suppose the girl is under age? George, with help from his partner, Josh, is able to navigate the difficult path and the outcome is a very appealing end to their Christmas, without offering a complete solution. I like to think the majority of people would act with generosity like this. An intelligent story which asks questions and give enough answers to satisfy. Very seasonal and enjoyable!

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

Amazon.com 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

Amazon.com

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

Amazon.com

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

Amazon.com

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

Amazon.com

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.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Rose Alexander

I usually read books with a higher body count but this is a lovely read for those who like characters families and relationships.




My review -

Sarah is commissioned to write an article about cork, allowing her to travel to Portugal, a place which holds memories for her. It's also the place her great aunt Ines was born and lived her early life. Ines gives Sarah her journal to read. It covers her early married life and Sarah finds some echoes there with her own.

This is a lovely story. It spans several generations of a family, both in London and in Portugal, where Sarah took a gap year. It asks us whether we can ever go back. Can we recapture our past? Can we put right errors of judgement many years later? The writing is beautiful and has a great sense of place. Do read it. It's very well done indeed.

Thanks to TBConFB and Netgalley for a review copy.

Monday, 7 November 2016

Seb Kirby

I always enjoy this author's work and this book is no exception.





My review -

Issy Cunningham has lost her memory due to the trauma of being raped. It comes back gradually and, with her, we find out what has really happened. In addition to the rape, she has a deep tragedy in her past and this has never left her. Both the past she can remember and the past she has recently forgotten haunt her mind. The story manipulates the reader to some extent as we make up our minds what’s happening without the full information. As it unfolds, it’s a shock to have our expectations rattled.

The story is well told and evolves gradually as we enter Issy’s world and grasp her memories. There are several people hunting her at the end and a great sequence of events leads to the denoument. It’s a story which asks challenging questions – in which things are not black and white, and we wonder how we would behave in her circumstances. As always with this author, you know you’re in for a thought-provoking read. Highly recommended.



Thursday, 20 October 2016

Shalini Boland

This is a real mind-turner. Highly recommended.




My review -

Louisa and Jared have recently enrolled their son Joe in an expensive private school, all worth it as he's happy and thriving there. It's at school that Louisa meets his new friend Tyler and his mum, Darcy. Darcy Lane is rich, popular and generous and invites Joe to sleepovers and Louisa and Jared go meals. Is she too good to be true?

I read this with sneaking misgivings about Louisa's new best friend. Little things slip. Is she really as generous and well disposed as Louisa first thought? It's a tale of trust misplaced and friendship abused. How far would you carry a childhood grudge? Not this far, I suspect, but there are those who never let it go. Who always finish what they started. This book is never short of interesting and in parts is fast and exciting. Highly recommended and thoroughly enjoyable.

I chose to review this book after receiving and advance copy.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Laura Tisdall

New author to me but this one packs a punch.




My review -

Echo Six is the online name of a sixteen year-old schoolgirl hacker. She is part of a forum who undertake hacks given to them by their leader, The Asker. She loves the challenge, but mainly loves the fact that the tasks they are given release information about wrong-doing. She feels the information she uncovers makes the world better. Then, hackers start to go offline. People are effectively disappearing but because of the nature of what they do, they have never divulged their real name, addresses or photographs to one another. The Asker finally request a meeting, to seek her help.

This is rather different from any of the other ‘hacker’ or ‘cybercrime’ books I’ve read. I really enjoyed the way she confronted her own issues and fears, fears for her family, and the black, white or grey nature of hacking. Neither she, nor the reader, knows who she can trust, and the story works up into a very exiting climax. If you enjoy speculative fiction of this style, you’ll be blown away by it. I found it a gripping and thrilling read and thoroughly recommend it.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

David Haynes

A modern setting for this novel takes the reader into Alaska, looking for gold. this is it - pure gold!





My review - 

Scott Draper has had gold fever ever since his grandpa showed him a nugget. His obsession ruined his marriage and his relationship with his daughter. Now he’s got a chance to make a fortune on a site at Black Pine Creek, Alaska. The place itself is eerie. A good quantity of new mining equipment has been left at the site – even last season’s final run hasn’t been removed from the wash plant. What’s going on? Then, Draper finds a body – a suicide.

This is an atmospheric story which ramps up the tension as it progresses. Many of the gang have worked together before and trust one another’s judgement. Even the surprise member of the group (can’t say, spoiler!) is a hard worker and becomes a trusted colleague. One man, though, doesn’t click with them. We begin to see why. The characters are well drawn and believable and the root of the problem is greed and the things people will do to feed it. They all suffer nightmares in which their fears come back at them, magnified. It’s tense and scary and I spent the last ten percent of this book on the edge of my chair. Absolutely a corker and the author’s best yet.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Various Authors

The BBC Short Story award winners from 2015 will include names you know and names you don't. They're all fantastic examples of the genre.




My review -

This is a collection of the five winners of the BBC short story competition for 2015. I read it on the recommendation of a friend, and, though the stories are very different, they are all extremely good reading. They encapsulate the technique of condensing an idea and making every phrase work hard. Yet it's done effortlessly. For some reason there seemed to be a formatting problem with the eBook, resulting in the occasional running together of words - likethis. Not enough to spoil the read, though. If, like me, you enjoy the short story form, this is a great read.

Sunday, 9 October 2016

AK Dawson

This is a sequel to the excellent Alien Love Story - and just as quirky and charming. I love them both.




Alien Love Song

Amazon.com

My review - 

This continues the story of fifteen year-old Dan and his extra-terrestrial girlfriend, Alexander. At the start of the story, he can't remember how he came to be incarcerated in a locked room. He can't even remember who he is. His memory and powers return to him and he has to fight for his life, and hers.


This sequel to Alien Love Story is charming, funny, and it ticks all the emotional boxes without resorting to going overboard. If you've not read the first novella in this series, it's very good indeed. You don't have to be a young adult go enjoy YA fiction. Just to have been one at some time.

Cecilia Peartree

This is my sixth outing to Pitkirtly. I hope it won't be too long before I go again!



The Queen of Scots Mystery

Amazon.com

My review -

Imagine being deprived of the thing you enjoy most. At the beginning of this book, Amaryllis is deprived of her freedom, so Christopher is deprived of her company. A body has been found in the cellars of the Queen of Scots, necessitating the pub’s closure as a crime scene. This loses everyone something they love. And Charlie, the policeman, looks like losing his job. The place is going to hell in a handcart! The body is that of Liam Johnstone, a man who, it seems, few have cause to love. Amaryllis gets herself into the usual scrapes and discovers all was not well in the Queen.


Reading these stories is like spending time with old friends. In spite of the body count, they aren’t gory or violent but neither are they bland. There’s a lot of enjoyable humour and wry observation here. I wasn’t let down by my sixth outing to Pitkirtly. I must try not to be a stranger and read number seven a bit sooner! Very good indeed.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Andrew Webber

A great 'voice' and a man to watch!


Lad

Amazon.com

My review -

The lad of the title is Danny, an estate agent who feels the world owes him a living and that women should fall at his feet. He lives for drunken sessions with the lads and nights of steamy sex with women he is quite happy never to see again. He's not terribly scrupulous about how he comes about his money, having a few irons in the fire which his boss isn't aware of.


Danny's not a likeable lad but there's a huge amount of humour in this story which is laced with irony. He's critical of others for doing very similar things to those he is quite smug about doing. You follow his often disastrous exploits wondering why he can’t see his own biggest problem – himself and his attitude to others. It's compelling reading and you feel pulled along in the wake of his personal disasters, wondering if he'll ever grow up. A really good read.

Friday, 7 October 2016

Patrick Gale

Such a brilliant story - it bowled me over.



A Place Called Winter

Amazon.com

My review - 

Harry Cane is an Edwardian gentleman. He marries Winnie, has a daughter Phyllis, and, because of some investment advice from a brother of Winnie’s loses a good chunk of his fortune. Because of a liaison with an acting coach, met through one of Winnie’s sisters, a Gaiety Girl, he is forced to accept exile to Canada. Homosexuality was punishable by imprisonment and family disgrace, but Harry’s brothers-in-law cover up his indiscretions. The soft-handed man who has never worked undertakes a terrifying voyage, a long and arduous journey, and the acquaintance of an unpleasant and exploitative man who arranges his land allocation, near the small settlement of Winter. He’s lucky in his friendships there and stays to farm during the Great War, after which he has a complete breakdown.


Patrick Gale has created some wonderful characters here. I cared deeply about Harry, was sorry his family and in-laws cut him off so completely and loved the people he met and worked with in his new life. The fly in his ointment, Troels Munck, is brutal and untrustworthy, as Harry finds to his cost. Gale has explored friendship, love, trust, fear, cruelty and bullying in this remarkably good story. Every reader brings personal interpretations to a story, but for me, this was just about perfect.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Tom Bale

I have only recently been introduced to Tom Bale's books and I like his style.




My review -

A family barbecue becomes the start of a nightmare for Rob and Wendy Turner and their children. An elderly man who has been systematically tortured, staggers into their garden and is dead on arrival at hospital. Now, the people who targeted him turn their attention in the family.

The story is tense and exciting and the characters flawed and credible. Several of the family have issues which impinge upon their family life and their reactions when they become victims. I didn't always like all the family members but it's impossible not to root for them. All of them. A really good thriller which I enjoyed a great deal.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Sam Kates

I've enjoyed everything Sam Kates has written. This is classic sci-fi and I loved it!




My review - 

Matt is somewhat hung-over and longing to reach his floor in the building where he works, just so he can sink a coffee. Three other people enter the lift with him, people he doesn’t know, and the lift goes up to the top floor, the sixth. This is where their nightmare begins. The doors open onto a different world. We follow their experiences which form a wonderful, classic set of sci-fi of scenes.

This novella is long enough to get to grips with the different scenarios but quickly establishes the fearful, apparently inescapable predicament they find themselves in. It makes you want to take the stairs in future. An excellent read.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Will Macmillan Jones

I have to confess that this is my favourite genre of the author's. It reminds me of the Wheatley books I used to devour in my teens. The strength of these is that horrific things happen to ordinary people. As the lottery ads say, 'It could be you!'


The Curse of Clyffe House

Amazon.com

My review -

Sheila, a neighbour of Mr Jones, the unwitting and unwilling participant in several previous supernatural tales, is writing a book. She has an urgent deadline and wants company at a remote holiday cottage near the South Wales Coastal Path. Eagerness makes her go but nervousness about being their alone makes her urge Mr Jones to accompany her. Cliffe House is a seriously unquiet dwelling.


I confess I would have left on the first night but Sheila and Jones, though scared, are made of sterner stuff. Eventually, Jones calls upon his friend Eric who comes to help. We get yet another tantalising peek behind the curtain of Eric's past. Take a remote cottage, a wild coastal path, a derelict farmhouse and a pre-historic hill fort and all the ingredients are there for a tale of unease. Welsh legend comes to life and the resultant battle is to the death. A very readable story indeed.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Keith Stuart

This book is a real joy to read. I can't recommend it highly enough.



A Boy Made of Blocks

Amazon.com

My review - 

Sam is eight years old, and autistic. His parents, Alex and Jody, are worn out and driven apart trying to understand him and help him cope with the world. Eventually they enter on a trial separation and Alex moves in with his friend Dan. Alex feels guilt from a childhood incident and this colours his life. All his well-meant interactions with Sam become head-on collisions. Gradually, he finds he can connect with his son through the X-box game of Minecraft. At the beginning of the book we can feel Alex's frustration when his son turns mulish or destructive. He and Sam live in parallel universes, side by side but never connecting. The logical world of Minecraft allows Sam to take on a setting in which he can exert control. Slowly we see Alex begin to trust his own instincts and those of his son and the bleakness he felt earlier in the book resolves itself.

I felt, from a knowledge of several autistic children through my work, that Sam is beautifully and accurately portrayed. I shared Alex’s frustration, too, and Jody’s despair that he would ever come to see her point of view. As a reader, my viewpoint swung slowly, as did Alex’s, and I enjoyed the author’s skill in manipulating my opinions this way. Cleverly done. I enjoyed this book immensely. It manages to contain and contrast huge sadness and great joy. Highly recommended.


Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for a review copy.

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Craig Lancaster

I knew it wouldn't be long before I read the latest Edward story. A must for fans of this quirky character.


Edward Unspooled

Amazon.com

My review -

People embarking on Book Three in the Edward series are sure to be Edward fans already. We have seen him, through the previous two books, turn from a solitary, rather mistrustful man, to someone who learns to socialise and become a friend. He and Sheila, now married, learn they are to be parents, and this book takes the form of letters to his unborn child, to which Sheila adds her own notes.


Through the writer's skill, Edward's voice comes through loud and clear. He learns to stand up for himself and to be considerate of others, not easy for him, bearing in mind his background. He is very literal and this often results in humour. He is convinced that he’s really funny but much of the humour comes from his failure to understand or to empathise with others, try though he might. The story is often surprising and at times exciting. I found it a really enjoyable read.

Monday, 15 August 2016

Craig Lancaster

Edward is a lovely character - there's a third in the series, too.


Edward Adrift

Amazon.com

My review -

Edward Stanton, first encountered in 600Hours of Edward, has Asperger's Syndrome and copes with his life by strict adherence to a routine. Then, three years after the death of his father, with whom he had a difficult relationship, his world becomes fractured. He's adrift. He's made redundant from his job and his best friends have moved 600 miles away. After a frantic phone call from his friend Donna, he decides to go away to stay with her family for a few days. At this point, his world goes even further awry.


I loved the character of Edward in the first book of this series. He is intelligent, serious, literal and yet simple and vulnerable. He has to come to terms here with changes in his mother's life, and to allow himself to make changes in his own. This story, and the previous one, make you think about the way we label people. The writing is faultless throughout and a huge amount of wisdom shines through the words. I'm determined to find the time to read the third in this series. Highly recommended.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Katherine Roberts

I've read one of Katherine's books previously and only time has prevented me from reading more. When I saw this collection of short science-fiction stories I jumped on it.



Weird and Wonderful

Amazon.com

My review - 

This selection of science fiction and speculative short stories is really engrossing. The stories aren’t the usual Sci-fi stuff about space, battles or alien invasions (not that I object to those). They are about people, many of them female, and they are very thoughtful. Enough of them take the idea of young people being trained or manipulated by a ruling class or group that it could be considered a theme. An anthology is only as strong as its weakest story and I didn’t find a single one here that I didn’t enjoy on some level. Very thought-provoking.

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Luca Veste

A new author for me - I love discovering new writers - and this, though the third in a series, really stands well alone. 


Bloodstream

Amazon.com

My review -


Someone is killing couples. The case is high profile because a celebrity couple have been involved. They are tied to chairs, face to face and made to admit their lies to one another. The killer is obsessed with love, and truth. David Murphy and his sidekick Laura Rossi can’t seem to get a handle on the case until, for each of them, it comes closer to home.

This, I now see, is the third in a series but it stands really well as a novel in its own right and doesn’t need to be propped up by information in the earlier books. The tension in the story is ramped up gradually and when readers come to discover, along with the detectives, who is responsible, it becomes a race to read to the end and see what happens. A thoroughly enjoyable story.


David Wailing

This is rather different from the author's recent publications. It'll give you the creeps!


Signal Failure

Signal Failure

My review -

Emily is taking the night tube home when, after repeated halts, passengers are told there’s a signal failure to blame. The train becomes stuck in a tunnel and then disturbing things start happening.


This short story really packs a punch. It’s creepy – very creepy. It speaks to the primitive fears we all still harbour - claustrophobia, nyctophobia, fear of the beast in the dark cave. I think because the Tube is brightly lit and full of people we can dismiss the fact that we are so far under the earth. We don’t think about it because, really, we don’t want to remember. Prepare to be disturbed. Next time, you’ll catch the bus!

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Claire Douglas

Claire Douglas is a new author to me and I found her through Netgalley. I'll look out for more from her in the future.




Local Girl Missing

At the time of writing this blog post, the book is not available on Amazon.com

My review -

School best friends Sophie and Francesca (Frankie) managed to catch up again for the summer after they graduated, almost twenty years ago. Over that intense summer they each went through emotional turmoil. Just before they both left for jobs in London, Sophie fell to her death from the remains of their seedy hometown's derelict pier. Now Frankie, a successful businesswoman, is called back to Oldcliffe-on-Sea by Sophie's brother. Human remains have been washed up nearby and he wants Frankie to help him identify them. He has never believed his sister's death was an accident.

I enjoyed this book immensely. It's told in the present by Frankie and in the past through Sophie's diary. The two are well distinguished in style, Frankie being dramatic, filled with simile, tending towards paranoia while Sophie's diary is more youthfully breathless though often dark in content. What I particularly loved was the clever way the author gradually altered my perception of the world they'd both inhabited twenty years ago. An excellent and unusual story.


Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an advance review copy of this book.

Monday, 25 July 2016

Sibel Hodge

I haven't read much of Sibel Hodge's considerable output but what I've read I've really enjoyed. This dark psychological thriller kept me glued.


Untouchable

Amazon.com

My review -

Maya’s heart and whole life are shattered when her partner Jamie is found hanged in a local beauty spot. She is fairly sure he intended to propose that evening. The verdict is suicide but Maya can’t let it go. She discovers later that Jamie had been brought up in a children’s home. She also finds out what had been going on there, and that some of the people responsible are still holding down lucrative and responsible jobs. It begins to appear that Jamie was about to blow the whistle and has been silenced.


This is a really gripping thriller and is both gruesome and dark in places. We accompany Maya and Jamie’s friend, Mitchell, on their journey to seek justice for Jamie and all those he was going to champion. It looks an impossible task because the perpetrators seem to be – untouchable. If you’re not squeamish about the subject matter you’ll find this book really engrossing. I enjoyed it immensely.