“So I write crime, but really I just write people” writes Belinda Bauer on her website and this sums up her novels perfectly and explains why I enjoy “So I write crime, but really I just write people” writes Belinda Bauer on her website and this sums up her novels perfectly and explains why I enjoy her novels so much.
Set in suburban London in 2000, The Shut Eye focuses on the disappearances of two young children and we re-encounter DCI John Marvel, the detective who featured in Darkside set in 2011. In this earlier incarnation we see Marvel as the same, sullen, thoroughly disagreeable character who treats his colleagues with derision and disrespect but his one saving grace is his determination not to give up on young Edie Evans who vanished a year before. There might be a connection with the recent disappearance of two year old Daniel Buck but his mother Anna is quite literally mad with grief and is seen as more hindrance than help.
The Shut Eye of the title refers to a term used by psychics to describe those who firmly believe they have psychic powers. Enter Richard Latham, local psychic who failed to help in the Edie Evans investigation but might still be of use to Anna Buck. This psychic element might prove unpalatable for some readers but it isn’t the main crux of the novel – the key is in the varied and fascinating line up of characters provided by Bauer. She is simply brilliant at creating credible, complex characters from the distraught mother to the dodgy garage proprietor, from the quietly confident policewoman to Marvel’s saint of a girlfriend. Added to the mix, is a layer of dark humour cleverly woven through the plot so it’s not all doom and gloom.
A compelling read which kept me gripped from start to finish. Highly recommended.
My thanks to NetGalley and Transworld for allowing me a digital copy for review purposes....more
Rating this four stars as it represents the positive reaction from my reading group of 10 students aged 10-11. It really appealed to them and the fantRating this four stars as it represents the positive reaction from my reading group of 10 students aged 10-11. It really appealed to them and the fantasy elements enhanced the overall reading experience for them. Lots of discussion about how we prejudge others, how hard life must be for so many young carers, how we all have flaws. A resounding success as a group read for this age group....more
full review soon - I wanted to try this author's writing again despite having mixed feelings about her first novel The Land of Decoration. Beautiful wfull review soon - I wanted to try this author's writing again despite having mixed feelings about her first novel The Land of Decoration. Beautiful writing at times but it doesn't seem to hang together for me, if that makes sense!...more
New York 1837. Twelve year old Thomas Walker sets off on what he thinks will be a grand adventure as he accompanies his salesman father on his missionNew York 1837. Twelve year old Thomas Walker sets off on what he thinks will be a grand adventure as he accompanies his salesman father on his mission to sell Samuel Colt's new revolver. They don't intend to venture too far west, just as far as Indiana and Illinois. Unfortunately Thomas is separated from his father and forced to make his way back East alone. Enter craggy Indiana Ranger, Henry Stands (a cross between John Wayne and Lee Marvin)who may or may not deign to help young Thomas.
I absolutely loved this coming of age story with its western tone. My Dad wasn't an avid reader but he used to become engrossed in Westerns by the likes of Louis L'Amour and Zane Grey as well as encouraging us to enjoy Westerns on the small screen. I read True Grit in my early teens and was initially reminded of it when I started reading this novel as in both stories we have a young protagonist left alone in unfamiliar and downright dangerous territory accompanied by a curmudgeonly individual who isn't a big fan of children. However Robert Lautner's writing has its own unique style with elegant, focused prose and expertly drawn characters striving to survive against the odds.
Narrated by an elderly Thomas recalling his journey home and his relationship with the enigmatic Henry Stands, this story packs a huge emotional punch. The writing is simple yet extremely perspicacious as the older Thomas reflects on his past and the pernicious effect of Colt's invention. The relationship between Thomas and Henry is beautifully drawn. Thomas longs to earn Henry's respect and admiration but rangers are a cool, undemonstrative type.
This is a gripping, authentic read guaranteed to engage those who enjoy intelligent well paced adventures with the right balance of action and contemplation....more
Michelle Lovric's latest tale will engage fans of the quirky, of the eccentric and of the deliciously dark side of human nature.
Inspired by the true sMichelle Lovric's latest tale will engage fans of the quirky, of the eccentric and of the deliciously dark side of human nature.
Inspired by the true story of the American Sutherland sisters who made a fortune from their luxuriant tresses in the late 19th and early 20th century, Lovric mines a rich vein of freakish fact and produces for our delectation, the Swiney Godivas, seven singular sisters blessed (or cursed..) with lavish locks which ensnare their mostly male audiences from Ireland to England to Italy.
As this spellbinding story unfolds,we get to know each of the sisters with their very distinctive characteristics - from the tyrannical eldest sister, Darcy, to the feuding twins, Enda and Bernice to our eloquent but troubled narrator, Manticory. Lovric is a virtuoso at painting vast literary canvases with expansive casts of characters and you never feel confused as to who is who - a bonus for my befuddled, middle-aged brain!
This is an intense, bawdy tale with a dash of Irish folklore, a pinch of Boccacio's wit and a dusting of Warhol's 15 minutes of fame. From the very beginning I was entangled in the twists and turns of the Swineys' story and happy to be swept along by the wit and wisdom of such an imaginative,inspired writer. If you enjoyed this as much as I did, then you will equally love The Book of Human Skin by the same author....more