I found this book while on holidays and went "ooh, children's book staring a cat, I'll read this and it'll be cute". Despite the happy ending, this waI found this book while on holidays and went "ooh, children's book staring a cat, I'll read this and it'll be cute". Despite the happy ending, this was - for me, cat-lover supreme - an incredibly traumatic read. Given that it almost reduced me to tears, I do not recommend this for young children.
I initially wasn't interested in picking this up because it was explicitly about the earlier series of Spooks (or "earlier seasons of MI-5" for AmericI initially wasn't interested in picking this up because it was explicitly about the earlier series of Spooks (or "earlier seasons of MI-5" for American readers) that I hadn't seen. Then I found a second-hand copy going cheap and well - I was glad to pick it up and read a "file" from time to time. It provided me with some background stories for characters I had know and loved in the series I had watched and introduced me to earlier cast members and makes me more interested in watching the rest of the series....more
Caroline Cushion has always believed she's ordinary, until persistent trouble with her wrist leads to a MRI revealing a bullet is lodged in her neck.Caroline Cushion has always believed she's ordinary, until persistent trouble with her wrist leads to a MRI revealing a bullet is lodged in her neck. Caroline's ordinary life then unravels as she learns that she was adopted after her birth parents were brutally murdered. Having agreed to have surgery to remove the bullet, Caroline's life becomes threatened as the bullet could lead to the murderer being identified.
I ended up liking The Bullet quite a lot. It was a good, solid thriller that I couldn't help but get wrapped up in and the reveal was quite satisfying, without falling into "obscure person barely glimpsed" trope or being entirely predictable. It was written quite strongly, with tension being raised every chapter.
Admittedly, this book and I did not get off to a good start. The first section irritated me quite a bit, enough to the point that I was highlighting the parts that made me eye-roll and occasionally making comments like "if the protagonist compares herself one more time to Lara Croft I'm going to scream" (luckily, Caroline moves on to compare herself to Salma Hayek and Nigella Lawson) and "!!! unsafe driving !!!"
I didn't really enjoy the writing style either – I'm not sure how to describe what irked me about it, but it was more the feeling that the protagonist was talking directly to me, the reader. It's probably a neat little hook, that made the story more engaging and the reader more involved but I just didn't like it.
I have mixed feelings about twist in the denouncement scene. It was an interesting path to take the story on and I have come to appreciate the twist and like what follows quite a lot. However, I remain sceptical that it really works in The Bullet and plays too hard against the expectation of a reader picking up a crime novel. It felt a bit like the denouncement split the novel into two separate works and while I liked both, I would have preferred them as separate books.
This is a strong book, despite the parts that irritated me. I'm glad I persevered through those parts because ultimately, The Bullet is an enjoyable read and utterly perfect to curl up in bed with on cold, rainy day. ...more
The Lost Swimmer tells the story of Rebecca Wilding, a archaeologist and a professor whose life seems to fall down around her. She doesn't get along wThe Lost Swimmer tells the story of Rebecca Wilding, a archaeologist and a professor whose life seems to fall down around her. She doesn't get along with the dean, she's just been accused of embezzling money from the university and her husband has been distant, so much so she suspects him of having an affair. Things go badly when Rebecca and her husband, Stephen, head to Europe on holiday and he disappears.
For me, The Lost Swimmer was an easy read and a compulsive one. I ended up reading the book – quite accidentally – in two sittings. I can see where other readers would find it an enjoyable read. And, in all honesty, I did find this book enjoyable, but in the same way watching a popcorn movie is enjoyable. It's entertaining and fun, but it's not what I would class as a quality read.
I think the main issue I had with the book is that it doesn't really know what it's supposed to do. As a thriller, it's slow and the stakes are never that pressing. As a work of literary fiction that uses the ingredients of a thriller to explore the human psyche, The Lost Swimmer is far too superficial to succeed.
The characters that make up The Lost Swimmer feel very shallow, and they continue like that throughout the book. I wasn't expecting richly developed, complex characters – but I didn't expect the cardboard cut outs that pass as characters in the book. True, there are moments that I think author Ann Turner tries to give them depth, but it doesn't really work.
Furthermore, I didn't find the character of Rebecca Wilding any more richly developed than the rest of the characters – there was just more of her. I found her vaguely unlikeable, firstly because the moment she seizes upon the idea that her husband is having an affair, she immediately suspects each and every woman she sees, and only confronts her husband once. When everything is revealed, I found her reactions frustrating and weak. I also found her extreme and unsubtle paranoid wearying and the way she held the accusations of embezzlement frustrating and lacking common-sense.
I'm sorry, but despite having the person investigating the embezzlement okay it, going away on holiday in the middle of the investigation doesn't seem that smart. Worse: treating the suggestion of delaying the holiday as a personal insult suggests a pettiness and selfishness that I'm sure Turner didn't intend. That plot detail was just plain stupid in my eyes.
While a fast read, the pace is just too slow and the tension too low for The Lost Swimmer to feel like a proper thriller. It's well over the half-way point that the promised action – the disappearance of Rebecca's husband – takes place. From the blurb, I'd expect this to be much sooner, with most of the book dedicated to unravelling that mystery.
Additionally, the 'reveal' of the mystery is a bit too sloppy to really work. There are too many red herrings. Numerous moments raise suspicions and signpost that there is something not right going on – but these are never explained. One of the biggest reveals involved a character I barely remembered and, I think, only mentioned once – which, I suppose, was the point. But I dislike reveals when you're like "who? WHO?" and have to search the book to find them mentioned once in passing at the very start of the book and are never referenced again.
In all, The Lost Swimmer was a book I wanted to like, but couldn't, finding it frustrating and slow as a thriller with the characters, writing and relationships too shallow for this to be a character-driven exploration of loss and secrets.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publishers via Netgalley for review....more