"Lou was being brought home, finally, to face the music"
Louise Samuels swore she would never to return to Stone Mountain, but twenty years later she' "Lou was being brought home, finally, to face the music"
Louise Samuels swore she would never to return to Stone Mountain, but twenty years later she's tossing back Tequila, dancing to Acca Dacca, and kissing the one man she hoped to avoid, Gage Westin, at her high school reunion. And despite her plan to return to the city with her best friend Sharni within twenty four hours, Lou is nursing a hangover when she learns her estranged mother is in the midst of a crisis and she feels compelled to stay.
Ros Baxter's newest novel, Set in Stone combines romance with a touch of suspense in a rural setting.
The suspense is derived from two plotlines. The first involves a mining company which seems determined to exploit Stone Mountain vulnerable because of drought, perhaps by any means. It's a topical issue of interest in regional areas that Baxter integrates well. The second is the painful secret that has haunted Louise for twenty years, which continues to affect her relationship with her mother, Skye, and Gage. The eventual reveal is a surprise, but explains Lou's wariness with both of them well.
Louise's romance with Gage has been simmering for twenty years and their reunion is passionate, but complicated in a believable way. Baxter develops their relationship nicely and I enjoyed the tension between them.
"Because it was the kind of kiss that you get lost in - not just lost in time and place, but lost in another person. It was a kiss that took all the pieces of your identity and common sense, and scattered them like petals on the breeze, right at the same time that it anchored you in the brutal, beautiful moment."
The writing is accomplished, with genuine dialogue and good pacing. I loved that Baxter headed each chapter with a song title, though I was stuck with the resulting earworms for a while.
I really enjoyed Set in Stone, the characterisation is genuine, the plot, and subplots, well thought out and the distinctly Australian setting is appealing. A great read, recommended for fans of contemporary and rural romance....more
Mary Kubica's second psychological chiller, Pretty Baby, has been hotly anticipated since the success of her debut novel, The Good G *unfinished draft*
Mary Kubica's second psychological chiller, Pretty Baby, has been hotly anticipated since the success of her debut novel, The Good Girl.
When Heidi Wood spies a young homeless girl toting a squalling infant and a battered suitcase during a rainstorm on Chicago's streets she tentatively offers her a raincoat, then a meal and on another cold and wet day, a place to stay. Heidi's husband and daughter are horrified that she has invited a stranger into their midst, Willow could be a thief, a criminal, or worse, but Heidi sees only a vulnerable young woman and a beautiful baby girl desperately in need of refuge. A refuge she is determined to provide...but at what cost?
Pretty Baby unfolds from the perspectives of Heidi, her husband Chris, and Willow. We learn Heidi works for a non profit organisation, Chris works in finance, traveling regularly for his job, and together they have a twelve year old daughter, Zoe, who is on the cusp of teenage rebellion. Their lives are comfortable and ordered, until it is upset by the introduction of Willow and her baby.
"Heidi was the first one in a long time who was nice to me."
Willow claims to be eighteen, though Heidi suspects she is much younger. Willow is defensive and secretive, afraid of thunderstorms, she is bruised and scarred. The baby, Ruby, is just four months old. She resists the Wood's prying into her past...more
High Fantasy is not a genre I read often but I have fond memories of Terry Brooks' original Shannara trilogy, read when I was a teen, and I'm looking High Fantasy is not a genre I read often but I have fond memories of Terry Brooks' original Shannara trilogy, read when I was a teen, and I'm looking forward to the upcoming television series adaption.
Though it can be read as a standalone, The Darkling Child is the second novel in The Defenders of Shannara trilogy that takes place several years after the previous book, The High Druid's Blade. It is also the 29th book in the Shannara saga, which Brooks intends to wrap up in just four more books.
The Defenders of Shannara features Paxon Leah, the Druid's Blade, and his nemesis, the Sorcerer Arcannen. In the Darkling Child, Arcannen who has been in hiding since Paxon foiled his grand plans for dominion over the Four Lands, is seeking revenge after his refuge is razed to the ground by an elite command of Federation soldiers. Fortuitously Arcannen stumbles across Reyn, a young man with the rare power of the Wishsong. Reyn neither understands nor can control his ability, and when Arcannen offers to mentor him, he accepts. Meanwhile the Druid Council is alerted to the use of Wishsong and Paxon along with Druid Avelina are dispatched to find the magic user. Unfortunately they are too late to prevent Reyn from falling under Arcannen's influence but they are determined to thwart whatever nefarious plan Arcannen is using Reyn for.
Even with only vague memories of the Original Shannara series, The Darkling Child feels familiar. Brooks's world is easy to understand, the magic system makes sense, and there is enough backstory provided to create context where needed.
The plot involves fantasy's most enduring trope, a quest to prevent evil triumphing over good. Arcannen is a suitably ruthless, if uncomplicated villain and Paxon a valiant, if flawed, hero. There is plenty of action in the confrontations between the sorcerer and his enemies, a small measure of intrigue stemming from the question of Lariana's true motives, and a dose of emotion with death, guilt and romance.
I found The Darkling Child to be a quick and entertaining read but I'm not struck with the urge to continue with the trilogy. Fans may be more appreciative....more
Fiona McArthur’s, The Homestead Girls, is a heartwarming story of friendship, courage and compassion set in the outback of NSW.
In The Homestead Girls, Fiona McArthur’s, The Homestead Girls, is a heartwarming story of friendship, courage and compassion set in the outback of NSW.
In The Homestead Girls, Soretta Byrnes is struggling to keep her grandparent's farm solvent in the drought, especially after her grandfather is badly injured in an accident, so when it's suggested that she accept some boarders as a way to earn extra income, she agrees, determined to save Blue Hills Station. Soretta is quickly joined by Daphne Prince, a flight nurse with the Royal Flying Doctor Service, eager to help the battling farmer; Dr Billie Green, with her rebellious teenage daughter in tow, who has returned to her hometown of Mica Ridge to fulfill a childhood dream by taking up a position with the RFDS; and eighty year old widow Lorna Lamerton, looking for company. Despite their differences, the unlikely housemates soon become close friends, finding strength, support and happiness in their relationships with one another as they face a myriad of challenges.
I liked all the women in The Homestead Girls and delighted in their growing friendship. They all benefit from their living arrangements in both practical and emotional ways.
With such a large primary cast I did find some elements of the story a little underdeveloped. I'm not sure, for example, that the subplot involving Billie and her ex husband added anything to the story overall, the confrontation between the pair was anti-climatic and quickly overshadowed by following events. Though there is romance in The Homestead Girls, for both Billie and Daphne, it doesn't overwhelm the story. With both Billie and Daphne having been deeply hurt in past relationships they are wary of involvement and their romances with their respective partners, Morgan and Rex, develop slowly, though Daphne's has been a long time coming.
The Royal Flying Doctor Service is an invaluable resource in regional Australia and McArthur highlights their stellar work in The Homestead Girls. The RFDS provides numerous services to outback communities from running immunisation and antenatal clinics in remote areas, to dealing with emergencies such as snakebites, heart attacks and vehicular accidents. I really enjoyed learning more about what it's like to work for the service and reading about the team's varied medical experiences.
An uplifting story of friendship and romance, The Homestead Girls is a lovely read I'd be happy to recommend....more
I launched into Friday On My Mind, book five of the Freida Klein series by Nicci French, directly after finishing Thursday's Children.
Fast paced and I launched into Friday On My Mind, book five of the Freida Klein series by Nicci French, directly after finishing Thursday's Children.
Fast paced and tense this is another page turning installment of the series. In Friday On My Mind, Frieda is accused of murder when the body of her ex lover, Sandy is found floating in the Thames, his throat slit. While the police focus their investigation on Frieda, she immediately suspects her obsessive stalker, Dean Reeve, is responsible and unable to convince the police of her innocence, goes on the run, determined to expose the killer and clear her name.
Frieda is of course expecting her search for evidence will lead her to prove Dean Reeve is alive and culpable, but as she delves into Sandy's recent past, she begins to wonder if someone else could be responsible. In her methodical and fearless way Frieda insinuates into the lives of those closest to Sandy, doggedly hunting his killer all while trying to keep a low profile but as the mystery unfolds a shocking twist proves the murderer is closer than she thinks. Even though Frieda manages to stay one step ahead of the police, a reckoning with the killer has consequences for all of them, both deadly and unexpected.
"'That's part of Freida's problem. She doesn't want to get off. She wants the truth.'"
Though Frieda is determined to protect her loyal friends from the fall out of the case, they rally to support her, even when it puts them at risk of prosecution. Karlsson in particular faces trouble when he defends Freida against the vindictive police commissioner and his pet psychiatrist. Josef shrugs off threats of deportation, doing everything he can to aid Frieda's fight, and even the emotionally fragile Sasha doesn't hesitate to offer her refuge.
"'I just follow where the evidence leads me, and in this case the evidence suggests that where Frieda Klein goes a trail of chaos follows. What her precise role in this happens to be has always been difficult to pin down. As you will probably discover, Frieda Klein also has some strange associates. How these things happen, I don't pretend to know, but they happen, and they continue to happen'"
I'm looking forward to learning what happens next....more
In Erika Swyler's gorgeous debut novel, The Book of Speculation, Simon Watson receives an old ledger that once belonged to a traveling carnival in the In Erika Swyler's gorgeous debut novel, The Book of Speculation, Simon Watson receives an old ledger that once belonged to a traveling carnival in the mail, along with a note mentioning a connection to his late mother's family. Struggling with his recent redundancy, the inevitable crumbling of his family home into the sea, and the return of his sister, Simon develops an obsession with the book which reveals a troubling history. For generations, the women of his family, all with a talent for holding their breath, including his mother, have drowned on the same date.
Dual narratives reveal Simon's growing concern for his fragile sister as July 24th approaches, and the truth of the tragic curse that has haunted their family since the early 1800's beginning with Evangeline, 'The Atlantis Mermaid'. Similar themes are reflected in both tales - lust, guilt, love, betrayal, loss, and magic, and tangible connections are drawn with a tattered deck of tarot cards and the appearance of horseshoe crabs.
"At the corner of a page, just above a quickly jotted note about oppressive heat and fog, is a delicate brown illustration of a horseshoe crab. I shut the book and leave the house as quickly as my ankle allows. I need to get into the water, to clear my head....On the sand, crabs scramble around my feet and over each other. The tide has come up since the afternoon, hiding the thousands more horseshoes that lurk beneath."
I loved reading about Peabody's spectacular traveling carnival. The characters of The Wild Boy, the Seer, the Mermaid and Peabody himself are vividly drawn, their dark secrets are haunting and tragic.
"Heralded by a glorious voice, a troupe of traveling entertainers arrived. A mismatched collection of jugglers, acrobats, fortune-tellers, contortionists, and animals, the band was presided over by Hermelius H. Peabody, self-proclaimed visionary in entertainment and education, who thought the performers and animals (a counting pig deemed learned, a horse of miniature proportions, and a spitting llama) were instruments for improving minds and fattening his purse."
The pace of the novel is measured, reflecting the melancholic, often close, atmosphere of the novel. The tension builds slowly in both timelines, as the truth of the curse is unraveled. The prose is often beautiful and enhanced by the illustrations that accompany it.
The Book of Speculation an enchanting tale.
"She knows that her name will find its way into his speculations. So will his. Because there are things you do for people you've known your whole life. You let them save you, you put them in your books, and you let each other begin again, clean."...more
Set in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales Palace of Tears is a generational saga of family, passion, secrets and vengeance from debut author Julian Set in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales Palace of Tears is a generational saga of family, passion, secrets and vengeance from debut author Julian Leatherdale.
The shifting third person narrative unfolds from the perspective of several characters, Angie and her mother Freya; Adam's wives, Adelina and Laura; Laura's daughter, Monika; and in the present day, Lisa, Monika's daughter. Only briefly do we hear from Adam Fox, the owner of the Palace and the man who connects these three generations of women.
Lisa's interest in the past is triggered when, during a visit with her ailing mother, Monika laments the mysterious fate of Angie, the 'girl who broke Adam Fox's heart'. The name is unfamiliar to Lisa and curious she decides to investigate, contacting Palace historian Luke Davis. Over the course of the novel, Leatherdale unravels a family history marred by untimely death, adultery, betrayal, heartbreak and revenge. What became of Angie remains a mystery til the very end with a surprising twist.
Leatherdale firmly grounds his fictional characters in time and place. Adam Fox's Palace is modeled on the Hydro Majestic Hotel, opened in 1904 in the tiny township of Medlow Bath in the upper Blue Mountains and he ably describes the opulence of the hotel and the magnificence of the setting. The author also references several relevant historical events of the first half of the twentieth century from the wartime internment camps, to the deadly influenza outbreak that swept New South Wales, to Arthur Conan Doyle's Antipodean tour, enriching the story with intriguing detail.
The tale is well structured, despite shifting between multiple perspectives and time periods. The story is well paced, with plenty of twists and turns in the plot to maintain interest. Descriptions, particularly of the setting are vivid, and
Melding history and fiction, Palace of Tears is an entertaining novel and an impressive debut from Julian Leatherdale.
"Nothing was achieved without risk and cost. The allure of the mountains had taught Adam that lesson.... The mountains offered up vistas of inspiration, horizons of wonder where the mind dared to leap and the imagination to soar. It enriched the spirit, breathed hope back in to the wounded heart. Yet there was always that reminder of the fall: vertigo's strange seduction that dragged you down the bright waterfall into the shadow of the valley below. Mortality, failure, despair - all these must be acknowledged. Adam realised, over time, that his beloved mountains expressed the inner drama of his own soul."...more
Leap by Myfanwy Jones is a sharply observed story of grief and guilt and the struggle to move on from loss.
Three years after the tragic death of his g Leap by Myfanwy Jones is a sharply observed story of grief and guilt and the struggle to move on from loss.
Three years after the tragic death of his girlfriend, Joe is still wallowing in guilt. Unable to re-imagine his future without her, he simply aims to stay busy, working two dead end jobs, and running through the darkened streets of Melbourne, leaping any obstacles in his way. Elsewhere, Elise's marriage is falling apart and her work is uninspiring, mournful and lonely, she is drawn to the beauty and violence of the tigers housed at the Melbourne Zoo.
In Leap, Jones has created two very different characters deeply affected by their respective losses, angry, heart broken and plagued by inertia they are unable to move forward with their own lives.
So Joe is challenged by the slow return of his desire for life. Moving on feels like a betrayal, but his punishing routine of parkour and work is no longer as satisfying as it once was given his attraction to his newest housemate, an enigmatic nurse. He is further challenged by the charm of his blue-eyed workmate, the ailing health of his Uncle and the needs of the young troubled teen he mentors.
Meanwhile the listlessness pressing on Elise is finally pierced when her husband announces he is leaving her. She escapes, not unhappily, to the home of her best friend for a few weeks and on her return home immerses herself in her obsession with the tigers at the zoo, enjoying being unaccountable to anyone but herself. Alone, she is finally able to confront her resentment and grief, to mourn her lost daughter on her own terms.
While I struggled a little with the narrative initially, which is shared between the two characters and moves between the past and present, I soon settled into the rhythm of the story. The emotion is powerful, yet the story is not without humour. The prose is thoughtful and genuine.
Well written, Leap is a moving novel.
"And maybe no trick he pulls off is ever going to bring her back but this one-it's for her. He is going to make a perfect landing. Breathes: One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Leaps"...more
This slim volume from E.C. Osondu is less a novel and more a collection of short stories, similar to the author's first work, Voice of America.
Set in This slim volume from E.C. Osondu is less a novel and more a collection of short stories, similar to the author's first work, Voice of America.
Set in Nigeria, centered around the 'Family House', the home owned by the unnamed narrator's grandpa, each chapter tells a story linked to one of the many characters that reside there, from a thieving servant, to dissolute 'uncles', to orphaned children, and desperate widows.
The stories are mostly grim with themes such as adultery, murder, poverty, exploitation and rape, though there are flashes of dark humour. Some have a near myth-like edge but essentially reflect contemporary life in rural Nigeria. The stories are also said to reflect Nigeria's political state, rife with corruption, injustice and poverty.
I have to admit that while I found it somewhat interesting, I didn't particularly enjoy This House is Not For Sale.
The Sunlit Night is the story of Frances and Yasha whose paths cross far from home 'at the top of the world'. Frances is completing an art internship The Sunlit Night is the story of Frances and Yasha whose paths cross far from home 'at the top of the world'. Frances is completing an art internship while Yasha is in Lofoten to fulfill his father's dying wish. It is a story of family, grief, growing up and belonging.
I found Yasha to be a more likeable character than Frances, perhaps because his woes were less superficial than hers. His story was more interesting and developed than hers, and I didn't feel I learnt much about Frances at all. Unfortunately I wasn't convinced by Yasha and Frances's romantic connection either, though they had reason to form a friendship, I didn't think there was any chemistry between them.
What I did really like was the novel's unique setting. The Sunlit Night is set in Lofoten, an archipelago of six tiny islands in the Norwegian Sea, ninety-five miles north of the Arctic Circle. During the later spring and summer months, in which most of this tale takes place, the sun never dips below the horizon.
"These hours were characterized by a wildness of colors, the combined power of a sunset and sunrise. It was easy to watch the horizon for hours straight, the sun in perpetual motion, the sky turning orange and cranberry until at three it returned to blue, and I felt ready for bed."
I enjoyed Dinerstein's descriptions of the archipelago, though mere words barely do the beauty of this place justice (*google for photos*).
"The world was perpetually visible, so I looked at it. Conditioned by hours in the Yellow Room, I saw the landscape in colorblock. The midnight sun came in shades of pink. The fjords rushed up onto white-sanded beaches, and the sand made the water Bermuda-green. The house were always red. They appeared in clusters, villages, wherever the land lay flat. Mountains rose steeply behind each village-menaces and guardians. Each red house was a lighthouse, marking the boundary between one terrain and another, preventing crashes, somehow providing solace."
The Sunlit Night is not without its charms, there is humour, genuine emotion, and some lovely prose, but the plot is weak and the pace uneven. My attention wavered during the last third or so of the book, much of which didn't seem to quite make sense and felt rushed.
In the end, I would rate it as an okay read however others may be more appreciative....more
This is the fourth installment of Ace Atkin's crime fiction series featuring former Army Ranger Quinn Colson, now Sheriff of Tebbehah County in rural This is the fourth installment of Ace Atkin's crime fiction series featuring former Army Ranger Quinn Colson, now Sheriff of Tebbehah County in rural northeast Mississippi.
The Forsaken begins a few short months after the tornado that devastated the county as Quinn and his deputy, Lillie, are faced with possible charges for the dramatic confrontation in The Broken Places that left a corrupt sheriff and his deputy from another county dead, and over $200,000 in cash from a decades old armoured car robbery missing.
It's no surprise that Johnny Stagg is behind the investigation into the shooting but his motive is. It seems Stagg's past is about to catch up with him and, needing Colson on his side for this particular battle, he has concocted an elaborate scheme to ensure Quinn's support.
Doing his best to ignore Stagg's machinations, which isn't doing his chances for re-election as Sheriff any good, Colson is drawn into investigating a decades old cold case involving the rape and murder of a young girl, and the subsequent lynching of the black man accused of committing the crime. Finding evidence that the man was innocent, Colson is determined to identify the men and bring the members of the lynching party to justice.
The narrative moves between the past and the present, and once again, Colson's professional and personal life become tangled when he learns that both his uncle, the former town Sheriff, and his absentee father, were most likely involved in the crime.
As I have come to expect, the dialogue is genuine, the humour quick and there is enough action to keep things interesting. The rural setting is well drawn and the details authentic. The characters are terrifically well drawn, often deeply flawed but interesting and nuanced.
Though The Forsaken could conceivably be read as a stand alone, I wouldn't recommend it as familiarity with the primary characters and their history adds depth to the story. I continue to enjoy this gritty series and I'm looking forward to reading The Redeemers....more
Even though I am one of the very few book bloggers with no real ambition to write, I can appreciate the wisdom Fiona McIntosh imparts in 'How To Write Even though I am one of the very few book bloggers with no real ambition to write, I can appreciate the wisdom Fiona McIntosh imparts in 'How To Write Your Blockbuster', offering practical, no nonsense advice for aspiring writers.
McIntosh insists discipline is an essential skill for a writer. She encourages dabblers to set themselves up to succeed by developing good working habits and understanding what it is they want to write.
Whether you are a 'plotter' or a 'pantser' she has practical advice for getting started. I really like her 'word count equation', it seems to me that the idea would make the process of writing a first draft much less intimidating.
McIntosh then goes on to discuss technique in developing character, plot, dialogue, pacing and exposition with reference to what she has learned in her own work. Each chapter is also accompanied by exercises to complete.
For those with a completed manuscript, McIntosh advises writers on the next step, including presentation and submission to Australian commercial fiction publishers, and shares knowledge about what might come next for those lucky enough to see their book in print.
'How To Write Your Blockbuster' is a solid resource for a fledgling writer from a talented and accomplished commercial fiction author who writes across several genres. Make sure your browse Fiona McIntosh's extensive oeuvre - my favourites include The Scrivener's Tale and The Lavender Keeper....more
While the tone and style of Blume's writing remains remarkably familiar, the subject of this novel is quite different from what some may expect. Inspired by a series of passenger airplanes crashed in Elizabeth, New Jersey within a three-month period in 1951–1952, the author brings to life three generations of families, friends, and strangers, who are all profoundly affected by these events, either directly or indirectly.
While Blume employs multiple points of view in the narrative it is teenager Miri Ammerman who has the strongest voice. Against the background of such frightening community tragedy, Miri struggles with the typical trials of adolescence, such as identity, friendship, family and first love. Meanwhile her Uncle Henry makes his name as the journalist who covers the incidents, her best friend, Natalie, is haunted by a plane crash victim, and an elderly man mourning his wife beds down on her grandmother's couch. The large cast may be off-putting to some readers but I felt the the varied perspectives enriched the narrative.
Blume successfully brings to life the facts surrounding the New Jersey plane crashes, honouring the real life victims of the tragedies. She authentically evokes the era that heralded social change in America, exploring issues such as changing morality and political unrest.
Written with genuine compassion and insight, and with finely drawn characterisation, In the Unlikely Event is an engaging story of life's ordinary and extraordinary events. ...more
Kelsea Glynn, now the reigning Queen of Tearling, is p The Invasion of the Tearling is the sequel to Erika Johansen's debut, The Queen of the Tearling.
Kelsea Glynn, now the reigning Queen of Tearling, is preparing for war with The Red Queen, having put a stop to the human tithing practiced by her country's former rulers. As Mortmesme's forces amass on the border, Kelsea struggles to determine a way for her vulnerable country to defend itself from the invasion while dealing with internal strife and the challenges of the kingdom.
'Invasion' also endeavours to explain the origins of the Tearling world, revealing the secrets of The Crossing, through crippling visions experienced by Kelsea. It's quite an unusual story that reveals why Johansen's world blends a feudal society and magic with reminders of modern life.
As a character, Kelsea undergoes some dramatic changes in this instalment, and not for the better. Haunted by the visions of Lily's life, the visits of a mysterious dark spirit, and the seductive power of the emeralds, Kelsea becomes secretive and increasingly dark. I was disappointed by the inconsistencies and sometimes confused by her changing motivations.
I didn't always find it easy to follow the narrative of The Invasion of the Tearling either. The shifts between Kelsea's world and her visions of Lily's were sometimes jarring, additionally there were a couple of minor story threads that seemed to dissolve into nothing, while others contributed little to the overall story. I'm also at a loss to understand Kelsea's physical changes, which seem rather absurd.
The Invasion of the Tearling builds to a confrontation between Kelsea and The Red Queen but again ends with more questions than answers. I'm curious as to how Johansen will choose to end things in the final book of the trilogy, but I'm worried she will be unable to pull everything together in a satisfying manner. ...more
Little Black Lies is a taut, twisty thriller from Sharon Bolton. It begins when a child goes missing, the third in three years from the sparsely popul Little Black Lies is a taut, twisty thriller from Sharon Bolton. It begins when a child goes missing, the third in three years from the sparsely populated Falkland Islands.
The narrative is divided into thirds, unfolding from the perspectives of three unique and complex characters. For Catrin the disappearance is an inconvenience. She has a schedule to keep, plans for the woman she blames for the tragic death of her young sons as an anniversary approaches. Callum, an ex-soldier with PTSD, has a theory about the abducted children that the local police are choosing to ignore. Rachel, who spends most of her days in bed, is largely oblivious until her youngest son goes missing.
The well crafted plot, which I don't wish to elaborate on, reveals the links between these characters, whose lives have been tainted by grief and tragedy, and their connection to the missing children over a period of five days. Though the pace is measured, the story is propelled by cinching tension and breath taking twists.
The setting is atmospheric, the isolated island itself has great presence in the novel from its rugged coastline to its rocky terrain, and its history, as the site of the bloody if short lived war for sovereignty between Britain and Argentina in the early 1980's, also plays into the story.
Fans of poetry should enjoy the references throughout the novel to 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner' by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Bolton skilfully utilises the imagery the verses evoke.
Since then, at an uncertain hour, That agony returns: And till my ghastly tale is told, This heart within me burns.
Little Black Lies is a tense, dark and disturbing story about revenge and redemption, that leads to a stunning conclusion. I could hardly put it down....more
"The story of forensic science, of that road from crime scene to courtroom, is the stuff of thousands of crime novels."
Val McDermid is the bestselling "The story of forensic science, of that road from crime scene to courtroom, is the stuff of thousands of crime novels."
Val McDermid is the bestselling crime fiction author of more than thirty novels, including her popular series featuring criminal profiler Tony Hill and Detective Inspector Carol Jordan. In Forensics, Val McDermid pays homage to the science that informs her work.
Drawing on interviews with leading forensic scientists about the history, practice and future of their varied disciplines, the latest research, and her own experiences, McDermid delves into the grimly fascinating anatomy of crime.
In exploring a wide range of forensic disciplines; fire scene investigation, entomology, pathology, toxicology, fingerprinting, blood spatter, DNA, anthropology, facial reconstruction, digital forensics, and forensic psychology, McDermid illustrates the science with both historical and modern day landmark cases, from the fire that razed London in 1666, to the dozens of serial murders committed by Doctor Harold Shipman.
The factual and scientific detail presented is easily accessible, clear, concise and not overly complex. I was fascinated to learn about the advances in DNA profiling for example, and the development of the science of entomology, first documented more than 750 years ago in a Chinese handbook for coroners called The Washing Away of Wrongs.
McDermid also takes the time to dispel some popular myths given life by television shows such as CSI and Law and Order. Despite her admiration for the usefulness of forensic sciences, she is careful to explain that no forensic discipline is infallible, DNA can be contaminated, fingerprints can be misinterpreted, crime scenes can be manipulated. Solving crimes, and perhaps more importantly ensuring convictions, relies on thorough investigation along with a combination of forensic disciplines.
Informative and entertaining, Forensics is an utterly engrossing read that should interest crime fiction readers, writers and anyone with interest in the field of forensics or law....more
Fast and Loose is an entertaining sequel to Nicholas J Johnson's first novel, Chasing The Ace.
It begins around a year after Joel Fitch, a young, wanna Fast and Loose is an entertaining sequel to Nicholas J Johnson's first novel, Chasing The Ace.
It begins around a year after Joel Fitch, a young, wannabe grifter, and Richard Mordecai, his world-weary con 'artiste' mentor, have parted ways. Joel has fled Melbourne and is sharing a flat with his father in Sydney when he is identified by a former mark, tabloid news producer Danny Hemming. Hemming, angling for a promotion, blackmails Joel into starring in a series of on camera exposé's, showing the public how easily they can be conned by an accomplished swindler. But whom exactly is conning who?
"Victors. Villains. Victims. Once you figure out which one your target is, the rest falls into place."
As the novel unfolds from the alternating perspectives of Joel and Danny, you can never be sure where the truth really lies in this fast paced story of secrets, betrayal, swindles and surprises.
Joel, who claims to have retired, seems to be floundering, as Hemming, chasing ratings, demands ever increasingly 'flashy' stings, progressing from conning university students in a mystery shopper scam, to swindling a bunch of drug dealers and exposing an insider trader scheme, in which Joel's dad is involved.
There is action, humour, suspense and plenty of twists in the complex plot. The 'cons' are clever, and a little scary. The author draws on his own knowledge and experience as an expert on fraud and deception to show just how easily people can be fooled, and how often we deceive ourselves.
Though Fast and Loose can be read as a stand alone, I'd recommend reading Chasing the Ace first. A quick and entertaining novel, I enjoyed Fast and Loose...you believe me, don't you?...more