Sunday, 26 March 2017

C L Taylor

Tense, fraught, enjoyable!


The Escape

 My review - 

Jo Blackmore is a sufferer from anxiety and agoraphobia but is taking medication and getting her life back under control. Her husband Max is an undercover reporter and spends lots of time away or arriving home late and she keeps a part-time job and her daughter Elise’s nursery juggled, though with difficulty. Then she meets a strange woman, Paula, who says that that Jo has something which Max stole. She threatens her, and her daughter. The balance is tipping. She thinks Paula is reporting her to the police and social services, so as to get Elise taken from her. Her option, she believes, is to run.

This book gets into the mind of a woman struggling with mental illness but managing, on the whole, to keep above water. Some of the chapters are from Jo’s point of view and you can feel it’s a battle for her. Some are third person and see Jo as possibly unstable. It becomes very exciting towards the end, especially as her mother’s ghosts are faced and laid, and the villain of Jo’s story is not obvious. I really enjoyed this and would recommend it.


Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for a review copy.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

David M Kelly

New to me but I love a bit of Sci-fi!


Mathematics of Eternity

Amazon.com link

My review - 

Joe Ballen, driver of flying cabs, takes a customer home one night as is witness to his apparent suicide. Things immediately go wrong for Joe. His customer was a scientist and soon some of his colleagues are killed and Joe is fingered for the crimes. Someone is trying to stop their research being made public and Joe is just the convenient man to take the blame.


This is an intelligent and fast-moving science fiction book in which the action mainly takes place on earth. There’s something of the dystopian future about this story, liberally laced with action, adventure and quite a lot of fun. I can see more possibilities for this concept as the science and the political background are convincing. The characters are well fleshed too, and it would be good to see some of them again. This is a long book but it never drags and if this is your genre, you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Maggie James

I really enjoyed this one. Suspicions, lies, it's all there.


After she's Gone

Amazon.com link

My review - 

Lori Golden’s sister Jessie is killed at sixteen years of age. It pulls the family apart. Their mother, already suffering from kidney disease, falls to bits and her new partner’s son is arrested on suspicion of murder. Lori has always felt that Jessie was her own dad’s favourite and he, too, is shattered at the news. Lori’s suspicions range widely. So many of the people in her little circle seem to be hiding something or behaving suspiciously. She doesn’t believe the police have the right person.

Maggie James always writes fluently and eloquently and After She’s Gone is no exception. The story flows so well and the reader, through Lori’s thoughts, chases one theory after another as to why her sister was killed. You may guess who did it but the reason is a complete surprise. I found it a compelling story and read it very quickly. I could wait to find out!


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

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Diane Jeffrey

A debut thriller from Diane Jeffrey and a great promise for more to come.


Those Who Lie

Amazom.com link

My review -

Emily wakes in hospital on the day of her husband’s funeral. She has survived the car crash in which he died – and she was driving. Her memory isn’t clear on the moments just before the accident and as that returns, so do traumas from her earlier life. Someone is trying to convince her that her husband is still alive. She doesn’t know if she can trust her friends, her family, or even herself. The accident is being investigated by the police but when she fears her house in being invaded by a stranger, she doesn’t want to tell the police as she’s keen to draw attention away from the problems of her early life. She’s in a bind and it’s easy to sympathise with her.


This is a nicely paced book in which we range back and forth between Emily’s teen years, the more recent past and current times. I enjoyed the way the story unfolded. It became obvious to me before the end who was responsible but the whys and wherefores were still to be explained. A very enjoyable read.

Monday, 13 March 2017

Wendy Percival

This is a short read and would make a good introduction to the series if you haven't come across them before.


Death of a Cuckoo

Amazon.com link

My review -

This is described as an Esme Quentin Short Read and, having read two Esme novels, I jumped at this. Gina Vincent is clearing out her late mother’s home. She finds information in a letter of condolence which rocks her world, and Esme, a genealogical researcher, helps her to unpick the tangle.


Wendy Percival tells a good story and right to the end I wasn’t sure what the outcome was going to be. If you haven’t read any of these mysteries, this is a good introduction to her work, as it doesn’t depend on the earlier novels. Then you’ll want to read the rest! Highly recommended.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Dean C Moore

A new author to me and his book is fun, cheeky, dowright rude and very thought-provoking. 




My review -

It’s not often I finish a book and think, well, I’ve never read anything like that before. The futurists are FBI personnel who detect scientific and technological advances which will put the future of humanity in danger. They are in the top 1% of humanity, not in terms of income but of intelligence. Our little group of protagonists are trying to find who is behind an unkillable man, first brought to their notice through dead bodies which become reanimated.

The first part of the book is a real action-packed ride but the second part became, to my mind, more thoughtful. The vision opened out and the view it gave was unexpectedly broad. There’s a lot of humour and invention in this book but if you’re allergic to sex and violence in your reading matter, be warned and don’t upset yourself by reading it. I felt in some cases that the author was writing this with a big wink. There was a brilliant scene towards the end when four of the characters drove a psychiatrist to the end of her tether. However, this layer floated upon another which was deeper, more philosophical and, if you let yourself take it up, very thought-provoking. A most unusual book and challenging to some, but I enjoyed it very much.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Jane Casey

Another new author for me and what a great story!


Let the Dead Speak

At the time of writing, this is only available in print in the US.

My review - 

Chloe, an eighteen year-old, returns early from a visit to stay with her dad and his family, to find her mother missing and the house splashed with blood. Her neighbour who has given her a lift home from the station rings the police. DS Maeve Kerrigan finds herself looking at two dysfunctional families whose lives have become involved. The neighbours accuse one another and Chloe and her friend Bethany refuse to speak. There is no body, yet they have to conclude it’s murder from the amount of blood. It all seems hopeless.

I enjoyed this so much and was impressed enough to have a quick look at what else the author has written. It was only at this point that I realised the book is seventh in a series. To me, that means it’s very well done. It was obvious that there was some back-story with Maeve and her DI but the plot never at any point depends on it. It’s a very twisty and highly exciting story and I enjoyed it very much.


I received a review copy from Netgalley.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Alex McGilvery

A new author to me but I like a tale of a dark future. Makes today seem not so bad!




My review -

It’s two hundred years into the future and the old have it all. The ruling Council consists of Methuselahs – people so old that many are on life-support. They resent the young and use them almost as slave labour or spare parts. Trey is brought up in a Youth Reserve where people are educated to do the menial tasks and are kept compliant with drugs. He escapes and finds a place in the Underground, a movement working to change society.

I found this dystopian tale really intriguing. The concept that the old would fight death even to the extent of attempting cloning or harvesting organs from their own young is chilling. The sociology explores in this story challenges the modern idea that the elderly are soaking up resources and puts them in the driving seat. These old people are active, not passive, in ensuring they can live for an unfeasibly long time. Some have the ambition to become immortal but members of the Underground want to return to a fair society. I really enjoyed this story.

I received a review copy of this book.

Monday, 6 March 2017

M L Stedman

I can see why this is a best seller.  


The Light Between Oceans

Amazon.com link

My review -

The book is set in Australia after the first World War. Tom, who has had a difficult war, takes up the job of lighthouse keeper as he feel he wants to save lives now. He marries the bright and lively Isobel and they settled on the remote island of Janus – the light between oceans of the title. After two devastating miscarriages and a stillbirth, Izzy is burying her latest dead child when she hears the cry of a baby. A little girl washes up in a small boat with her dead father and her mother’s cardigan and Tom, slave to duty, wants to log it. Izzy wants to bury the father and keep the baby, seeing it as a gift from God. After their three year term, when they get shore leave, they discover that the mother didn’t drown. The choice they made has fulfilled their lives but devastated hers.


This is the most fantastic book and will be one of my books of the year, for which I thank my local book group who chose it. It’s so beautifully written that the reader’s opinion swings from one person’s view to another. The characters are real and their dilemma affects one trusting little girl. It’s a gripping conflict between duty and love, loyalty and honour, and the rights of a blood mother to bring up her own child. Tom and Izzy are in pieces because of their humanitarian choice. It’s a stunning story and I heartily recommend it.

Friday, 3 March 2017

Mark Tilbury

This is a difficult read involving abuse of teenagers but stick with it. It's horrible but it has to be faced.




My review -

Michael Tate wakes in hospital to find he is paralysed from the waist down and suffering from the effects of a fractured skull. He is told by a policeman named Carved that he has killed his girlfriend and, as soon as he's sufficiently recovered, he'll go to a demand centre until his trial. Michael begins to suffer hallucinations and feels himself transported to his earlier life. His memory gaps are gradually filled in and he rediscovers the horrors of his childhood.

I've read an earlier book by the author but I feel he has really upped his game with this one. It's not an easy read and covers horrifying abuse. The reader feels Tate's despair and total lack of faith in his fellow man. He doesn't believe that justice will be done, either for himself or for those who suffered with him in a corrupt regime in a children's home. Mark Tilbury doesn't gloss over the grief and unfairness but pulls a wonderful ending out of the hat. A very good story which I enjoyed a great deal.

I received a review copy of this book.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Anita Waller

If you like a bit of spooky, this is for you!


Winterscroft

Amazon.com link

My review - 

This is a really gripping story, whether or not you believe in ghosts. Lavender, the younger of three sisters, died with her grandparents in a road accident when she was nineteen. Five years later, Matt, who was about to become her fiancĂ©, is preparing to marry, and Rose, Lavender’s sister, offers the gardens of her home, Winterscroft, for the wedding reception. Soon things begin to go wrong. Sprigs, and the scent, of lavender presage inexplicable events in the lives of the two families. Lavender, it seems, is a restless spirit who won’t stop at harming, or even killing, to get her way.


I first came across the author’s work in an anthology and loved her graceful, fluent style. In this book, my only doubt, that a happy and loving girl would become malicious and spiteful after death, was explained in a way that grounded me in the story again. I read this book in under twenty-four hours. It’s that exciting! I’d love to see it made into a film. It gives an updated nod in the direction of the Dennis Wheatley books I devoured as a teenager. I know the area in which it’s set and the detail, together with the intimate lives of the families involved, kept the story from becoming too abstracted from real life. Highly recommended for a totally different kind of murder mystery.