Three and a half stars from me! Karin Slaughter is one of my must-read authors and I've enjoyed the recent eBook shorts she's written. Busted, like SnThree and a half stars from me! Karin Slaughter is one of my must-read authors and I've enjoyed the recent eBook shorts she's written. Busted, like Snatched involves one of my favourite characters from the author's Will Trent series i.e. Will Trent! This novella is also a sort of prequel to Karin's next full novel in the series, Unseen which was a pleasant surprise for me. So for anyone who hasn't read any of the series, Will Trent is a detective with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, a job which he loves but his usual role has been put on the back burner as he is required to go undercover as Bill Black, hardened criminal with a few colourful arrests and convictions on his record. When the story opens he is at a convenience store, waiting for what seems like an age just to get some frozen Coke.
Life never goes that smoothly for Will Trent however, and before he knows it he is caught up in an armed robbery on the store. As the perp demands money while brandishing his gun, Will's cop instincts kick into overdrive and while he at first takes the sensible option and dials 911, he also ends up getting fully involved in the incident while trying to restrain the perp. Of course, there's always one in the wings waiting in a getaway car and the situation turns quite messy as a policeman who had also been in the store as a customer is shot. Will himself ends up in a high speed chase for the second perp on his motorbike, earning him quite a few injuries in the process. The bad guy ends up a lot worse off though you may be pleased to hear as Will chooses quite a novel way to bring him down.
Will's injuries are nothing compared to the roasting he gets from his boss, the fiesty Amanda Byrne as she arrives on the crime scene with Will's partner, Faith. After all, he is meant to be undercover and look at the attention he's brought to himself. Naughty Will. As they all try to make sense of the crime not everything is as it seems and there are a lot of things that just don't add up. For starters, where has the bag of cash gone? What happened to the young woman behind the counter? And why do the video camera images show a probable third perp?
Karin Slaughter has a gift for creating fantastic characters and very readable, thrilling fiction. Busted was another easy to read but adrenaline coated novella shrouded with enough mystery, action and the author's wonderful sense of humour to please her current fans and perhaps entice a few more for the Slaughter army? I enjoyed as always trying to figure out what was going on (I never get it right!) and submerging myself in Will Trent's world once again. Out of the novellas I have read so far it isn't my favourite - that award goes to the fabulous The Blessing of Brokenness but it's still a great read and can also be enjoyed as a stand alone if you've never read any Slaughter before.
I first came across this book on the Richard and Judy Autumn Book Club list and as I'm a religious follower of the novels they pick, I was looking forI first came across this book on the Richard and Judy Autumn Book Club list and as I'm a religious follower of the novels they pick, I was looking forward to giving it a go. What I wasn't expecting was exactly how much I enjoyed it. Our main character is Detective Inspector Marnie Rome who may be excelling in her day-to-day work but underneath is suffering from a great personal tragedy, the murder of her parents. She is, as many of us attempt to do, trying to keep her personal life separate from her work life and is succeeding for the most part, yet still waters run deep and Marnie is dealing with her grief in quite a unique manner. From time to time, she visits the murderer of her parents in prison believing that eventually she will be able to get some answers as to why this person so brutally took the life of her parents.
Throwing herself into work, Marnie and her colleague Detective Sergeant Noah Jake visit a woman's refuge as they are attempting to persuade a young woman to give evidence against her brothers for a savage attack they perpetuated on her. Unfortunately, things don't quite go to plan as when they arrive at the refuge, all hell has broken loose. A man lies on the floor, halfway between life and death, stabbed by his wife, who had been staying at the refuge at the time. This is just the beginning of an intriguing and baffling case for the officers involved with a plot which is overflowing with suspense and excitement. There are also a lot of sub-plots going on involving multiple characters which I loved as it held my interest and curiosity. I'm not going to say too much more about the plot as I really don't want to spoil things for those who haven't read the book, but believe me you are not going to want to put this book down.
The characterisation in this novel was fantastic. I have to admit, Marnie was a character that kind of grew on me throughout the book, but by the end I loved her. Noah Jake is also another ball of surprises. His sexuality leads to him suffering from discrimination and prejudice (sadly, from his own colleagues) but his partnership with Marnie is a match made in heaven and they bounce off each other perfectly. And as for the plot? What can I say? Intricate, thrilling, compelling, with multiple twists and turns that both tease and delight. For a debut novel, it's such an accomplishment and has Sarah Hilary sitting up the top with the best of the crime/thriller fiction writers. I'm so excited to hear that there will be more DI Marnie books and I can't wait until I can get my hands on the next one!
Three and a half stars from me! I first heard about this book through a podcast I listen to regularly, Books On The Nightstand (which I highly recommeThree and a half stars from me! I first heard about this book through a podcast I listen to regularly, Books On The Nightstand (which I highly recommend, by the way). So when Richard and Judy picked it as part of their Autumn Book Club 2014, I was pleased to bump the book a little further up my huge TBR list. The premise of the book is nothing short of thrilling - Mark Watney is an astronaut on a mission to Mars with his crew when unfortunately something goes terribly wrong and his crew, believing him dead, return to the ship leaving him stranded. For Mark is very much alive, and now abandoned on Mars with little hope of ever getting home again. The novel is mainly based around journal entries made by Mark as he continues to battle the toxic atmosphere and come to the reality of the hopeless situation he now finds himself in. Luckily, his training and intellect as an astronaut assists him as he calculates what to do with his meagre rations of food and water, contemplates how to get a message to Earth and consider starting Mars' first potato farm! He deduces that he is unlikely to have enough food or water to survive on until the next mission to Mars comes passing by so has to improvise and do it fast if he wants to survive.
Mark is a fantastic character with a wicked sense of self-deprecating humour that had me chuckling many times as his journal entries continued:
"My asshole is doing as much to keep me alive as my brain."
Of course there are problems and danger involved, hey it would be a pretty boring and unrealistic account for the readers if there weren't. However explosions, highly volatile gases and extreme radioactivity never get our protagonist down for a moment. He carries on regardless, toughing it out until a solution can be found to get him home. I don't think it's a spoiler to say that he does manage to make contact with Earth, and becomes somewhat of a celebrity as the entire world becomes involved in his fight to return. The sections of the novel set with the bigwigs at NASA were slightly less compelling but still made for an exciting read. I think the only thing that made me give it a slightly lower star rating than it perhaps deserves was purely my opinion on the scientific elements. I am a scientist in my other life and appreciated the research that must have gone into creating a story like this, but sometimes it was a bit too much and a lot of things went slightly over my head especially when it turned mathematical. I am certain however that this would be a big pull for other readers, who would find this particular element fascinating. In general, it is an exciting, interesting, realistic and beautifully imagined story of one man's fight to survive in a hostile environment that has everything working against him. I'll finish with my favourite quote of the book where Mark is communicating with Earth:
NASA: "Also, please watch your language. Everything you type is being broadcast live all over the world."