Adamsville, Alabama is the sought place where not much happens. Part of America's Bible belt, the town loves Christianity and it's Junior football teaAdamsville, Alabama is the sought place where not much happens. Part of America's Bible belt, the town loves Christianity and it's Junior football teams. It's a place that likes to prides itself on it's moral and community spirit, but will be shown to be a bunch of hypocrites after the arrival of an outsider and a terrible tragedy forces it to look deep inside it's soul.
When Carolyn Lessing and her mother move to the town from New Jersey the kids at the local high school are fascinated. To the narrators of the story, three girls (known as we) who are not popular or uncool, she is someone who demands attention. Not only is she strikingly beautiful, she is also confident, highly intelligent and wastes no time in getting in with the cool kids.
For a while everything seems great for Carolyn with plenty of friends and is seemingly the epitome of cool. That will change though when she makes the fatal mistake of dating a senior called Shane, much to the disgust of on and off again girlfriend Brooke. Carolyn will see her world slowly dissolve as her former friends turn on her with bullying that started of so reflexively that it could easily be missed, but in the end evolves into something much more serious until the appalling and inevitable conclusion.
This is a book that made me angry while i was reading. Not with anything in terms of the writing, that was first class. What did anger me was the characters, both teens and adults. While the behaviour of the teenagers was simply unforgivable and the narrators, who shamefully looked on and did not speak up, the teachers and parents who did not intervene made me beyond furious. The fact that not one person who was seeing this unfold stood up and said "enough's enough" was just mind blowing. Bullying is a scourge that has evolved over time and is shown in all it's horrid details in what is a powerful and provocative read that will unsettle the reader. ...more
Jan Elizabeth Watson's debut novel shows us what happens when an isolated world is forced to meet head on with the outside one. Seven-year-old Asta HeJan Elizabeth Watson's debut novel shows us what happens when an isolated world is forced to meet head on with the outside one. Seven-year-old Asta Hewitt grows up in Bond Brook, Maine, with her bookish older brother Orion and her not with it mother. The only existence she has ever known is in the wall's of her house, with her mother filling her with stories of plague-ravaged wasteland waiting outside their door. Asta is content to be filled with this and make believe reality of religion and old time movie stars.
Asta's little world will slowly implode when her mother mysteriously does not return from her job one day and fearing for her, she and her brother will go out searching. What they find is not bodies piling up from the plague but a far more inviting world then what they could ever imagine. But when they are discovered by locals it is clear that they have been mistreated and after hospital stays, will be coerced into a scary world of elementary schools and being kept apart in separate homes. Asta will struggle to come to terms with the fact that the life created for by her mother was a lie as she tries to hold on to her families fractured past.
In an odd sought of way Asta in the Wings could be described as a much darker and less whimsical Lost & Found. Asta for one is a fascinating character, highly intelligent but someone badly effected by her upbringing. Narrated through her eyes, the story is one big eye - popping trip into reality. Combining dark and eerie passages with subtle humour, this is a skilfully written and beautiful book that explores mental illness and it's effects on young inquisitive minds. ...more
To the outside world, Dr David Galbraith, a child psychologist is a pillar of the community. His hard work had seen him earn the respect of his peersTo the outside world, Dr David Galbraith, a child psychologist is a pillar of the community. His hard work had seen him earn the respect of his peers and with a kindly bedside manner, it seemed inconceivable that he was hiding an evil secret. All of this was a facade for what Galbraith really was, a true minanthrope - a man who positively despised his fellow human beings. Not only does he confidently boast that he had broken his wife but thinks nothing of abusing and even killing children in his care and has gotten away with it for decades.
Galbraith longs for a new fantasy and finds it in Anthony Mailer. His family are oblivious to the danger they are putting there son in when they make an appointment after being referred to by the family GP. Anthony, who is struggling after the breakup of his parents, clearly needs help, but after the first visit, Galbraith has made up his mind up on what he wants to do and will stop at nothing to make it happen. With the net closing in on Galbraith, the police will need to fight there way through a code of silence from perpetrators, unreliable witnesses and the realization that any wasted time could be disastrous for Anthony.
This was one of the most chilling books i have read for a long time. The character of Dr David Galbraith for one, is pure evil itself. Told through his point of view it makes for unsettling reading as we enter the sick and perverted world of a deformed character, devoid of any emotion or empathy for others. We also get an insight into the battles that child services and police have to go through, in there attempts to save children from abuse that can lead to terrible consequences later in life. If you like your psychological thrillers on the darker side than i can't recommend this brilliant debut enough. ...more
A mother and her child on holidays in Spain. A young man in the same holiday resort, a terrible incident and misunderstanding that will tear two familA mother and her child on holidays in Spain. A young man in the same holiday resort, a terrible incident and misunderstanding that will tear two families apart.
Catherine Ravenscroft has a seemingly happy life. Married to Robert, with a young adult son and a successful film-maker, she is content with how things are going. But when Catherine discovers an unfamiliar book at her bedside entitled, The Perfect Stranger she is shocked by what is written. The book will force her to relive an unspeakable moment in her life from 20 years ago that she hoped would be forgotten forever. Catherine is desperate to find out not only how the book came into being in her house but also who wrote about something that supposedly only she and one other person who is now dead knew about.
On the other side of the coin, we have Stephen Brigstocke who has had his world destroyed after the death of his young son Johnathon and wife, Nancy. After going through her belongings he will come across a manuscript that detail's a secret from a women he has never met, Catherine. Worse will come when he finds pictures taken by his son that will connect the two families and convince Stephen that his sons passing is because of this women. What will follow is a roller coaster ride of twists and turns as Catherine's life slowly implodes until the inevitable collision course when it is clear things are not as clear cut as they seem.
As a self confessed fan of psychological thrillers i can honestly say this one can bat with the best of them. Combining beautiful and emotional writing with an intriguing storyline that will keep you guessing makes for an absorbing read. Throw in engaging characters in Catherine and Stephen, that you can't help but be drawn to with the sadness of there pasts and the tragedy that is the present they now encounter makes for a truly hard hitting family drama that will leave you thinking well after you have read the final page. ...more
My initial impression of this book after reading the blurb was that it would be an intense thriller. While this premise did not materialize, what i goMy initial impression of this book after reading the blurb was that it would be an intense thriller. While this premise did not materialize, what i got was an intriguing take on the whole 'girl goes missing' theme. The story goes of 8 year old Carmel Wakeford, who goes missing from her mother, Beth, at a local children's festival. Carmel would be taken by a man who claims to be her grandfather. He will tell her that her mother had a terrible accident and her father who does not live with her mother, does not wish to look after.
With the man who claims to be her gramps, his girlfriend Dorothy and her two twin girls, Carmel refuses to believe she will not be reunited with her mother until she is told of her demise. In the following weeks, it becomes clear to the highly intelligent Carmel that her gramps believes she has a special gift and that she is a spiritual saviour. Over the months and years to come she will taken to many places to heal people while using the power of Christ. She will find it hard to keep perspective on who she really is and what she will become in the future.
Her mother on the other hand will go through her own personal hell not knowing what has happened to her little girl. With the help of her ex husband Paul and his new partner, she will try and move on with her life while never giving up the hope that one day she and her daughter will be back together. With a new job and car, Beth knows that it is for the best and with the police updates proving themselves to be one false hope after another and as the months turn into years she can only hope for a miracle.
I think this book would be stretching it to be called a thriller. What it does provide is fascinating insight into the relationship between a mother and a daughter during lengthy separation. there is strong feelings of love, faith, hope and connections. I also find it interesting that although Carmel was not physically or sexually abused she was ill-treated by having religious overtures and responsibility forced on her and being denied the maternal love of her mother. Featuring believable and compelling characters that complement a well written and highly engaging story, The Girl in the Red Coat is well worth a read for anyone who enjoys unique and original reads.
After being thoroughly impressed by author, McCreight's debut novel Reconstructing Amelia, to say the pressure was on for book number two was an underAfter being thoroughly impressed by author, McCreight's debut novel Reconstructing Amelia, to say the pressure was on for book number two was an understatement. Of course we had the almost obligatory comparisons to Gone Girl, but while this will most likely never get to the sales heights of that particular title, in every other way it is a superior piece of writing.
Still reeling from a recent miscarriage, Molly Sanderson, who lives in upscale Ridgedale, with her professor husband and her young daughter is making a living as a reporter. Used to posting lifestyle articles, Molly is sent to investigate something entirely different with the discovery of an infant's body on the grounds of the local university. This incident will not only rock the New Jersey town but will also be a much bigger case than Molly could of ever imagined. As she tries to piece together the puzzle of who the baby is and why the child was killed, Molly will come across much more than she bargained for as shocking secrets from the past will be brought to the present that threaten to tear Ridgedale apart.
Combining wonderful characterisation and a nailbiting story line, Where They Found Her ticks all the boxes for a provocative read. It is so easy to connect with the main characters, that thanks to the superb writing lays out the motivations and intentions. the story itself is genuinely disturbing and shows perfectly how even the most idyllic location can hide a dark underbelly that tries it's best to remain undetected. I have no hesitation to recommend this anyone who is after an intelligent thriller that will keep them reading to the very end.