Mother, Mother is typically one of those books which left such a great impression on me that I have no idea where to even begin. I’ve always been a bi...moreMother, Mother is typically one of those books which left such a great impression on me that I have no idea where to even begin. I’ve always been a big fan of psychological thrillers and suspense – both in terms of films and books – so even though I went into this book not knowing what to expect, I was secretly hoping it would render me speechless. And render me speechless it did. I finished reading it in late December and, without exaggeration, it’s been on my mind ever since.
There’s something very disturbing about the story, something which makes it impossible for you to put it down. You get a sense that there’s something very, very wrong with Josephine. You don’t know what she’s capable of, why she’s acting the way she does and this sense of unease, uncertainty is one of the reasons why it’s such a compelling story and why it has such an impact. Zailckas manages to keep you in constant suspense and make you feel a deep sense of unease until the very end. You keep wondering how far it could go, how far Josephine (who really is the master of manipulation) could take things before the unthinkable happens and whether anyone realises how powerful she is before it’s too late.
Have you ever read a book that completely broke your heart but you still loved every second of it? That’s how I felt about The Bunker Diary. It’s sad,...moreHave you ever read a book that completely broke your heart but you still loved every second of it? That’s how I felt about The Bunker Diary. It’s sad, it’s cruel, it’s chilling, but it’s so beautiful at times.
The idea behind the story reminded me a little of the Saw movies. Random people thrown into an empty building and being surrounded by security cameras everywhere they go. They’re pieces in a sick mastermind’s even sicker game and we have no idea why or what they might have done to deserve this. The Bunker Diary is something very similar. A young guy – our main character and narrator - called Linus is kidnapped and wakes up in an underground bunker. And then day by day, six other people arrive. They don’t know each other, they have nothing in common, and they have no idea why they’re held captive. All they know is that their captor’s cameras follow their every step twenty-four hours a day and their conversations are being tapped. And that’s it.
How do you get out of such a place? How do you survive? How on earth did you end up there, anyway?
Needless to say, the book is just impossible to put down. I literally read it in one sitting, biting my nails all the way to the end. I had no idea how they would get out of there or why they were kidnapped in the first place and I was desperately looking for answers. And when it all came to an end, I didn’t know what to think. I was waiting for an explanation, a neatly wrapped up story and what I got was its exact opposite. Nothing’s explained and nothing’s wrapped up. Linus’s last diary entry (which made me cry buckets) is very clear and straightforward in terms of the group and their chances of survival but we don’t know anything about their killer and his motives.
This, my dear friends, is how you write an exceptional, cold-blooded thriller readers won’t be able to put down. I’ve only read one of Carter’s previo...moreThis, my dear friends, is how you write an exceptional, cold-blooded thriller readers won’t be able to put down. I’ve only read one of Carter’s previous books so far but it instantly became one of my favourite books this year and put Chris Carter right on top of my ‘favourite crime writers’ list. But even though I knew One by One would be just as brilliant as The Night Stalker (and I’m sure most of his previous books) was, I wasn’t sure if he’d be able to top that level and write something even more intense, more twisted. Well, he did. One by One is no doubt one of the scariest books I’ve ever read and one I’m not likely to forget anytime soon.
I suppose one of the things that makes it so terrifying is that Hunter’s team is dealing with an incredibly smart killer this time. You know, Hannibal Lecter and Jigsaw smart. Someone who is always one step ahead of you and knows how you would react to his traps, someone who is (nearly) impossible to outwit and someone who isn’t likely to make mistakes. So how do you catch such a killer? How do you catch someone who’s been playing a cat and mouse game with you from the very beginning and who is always ready for your next move? Oh, it’s a clever idea.
The first thing that came to my mind when I read the first few chapters is why on earth have I not read any of Jane Costello’s...moreOriginally reviewed at:
The first thing that came to my mind when I read the first few chapters is why on earth have I not read any of Jane Costello’s books before? After several cringe-worthily predictable and dull chick lit books I read in the past few months, I was starting to wonder whether I’d ever find one which is genuinely entertaining and impossible to put down. Well, considering the fact that it’s been four days since I finished reading the book and some of the jokes (Mr Matt Itchypants Taylor, to name my favourite one) still make me laugh, and the fact that it was so gripping that I just had to stay up until half past one in the morning two nights in a row, I guess we can say The Wish List ticks both these boxes.
Possibly the main reasons why I loved this book so much is the main character’s personality. I just loved Emma. If I had to describe her, I would say she’s a bit like Bridget Jones or Becky Bloomwood from Sophie Kinsella’s Shopaholic series, two characters I absolutely adore, by the way. She’s just as clumsy as Bridget and just as sarcastic and funny as Becky, the combination of which makes for a brilliant and entertaining story. Another thing that makes it as good as it is is the fact that Emma’s friends are so relatable and well-written. They’re not shallow or two-dimensional at all. Quite the opposite, in fact. It’s not just about Emma either. They all have their own little sub-plots within the story and you actually do feel for them and want them to succeed and be happy. Or at least that’s how I felt, especially about Asha.
And if being hilarious and making me laugh out loud God knows how many times throughout the story wasn’t enough, I should also add what both Hannah and myself found great about the book: short chapters. Oh, how I love them. I’m quite a slow reader so long chapters always make me feel as if I’m not making any progress. Short ones, however, result in me not being able to put the book down and staying up until the crack of dawn with a stupid grin on my face, congratulating myself for reading so much. Big thumbs up for short chapters!
The only problem with books of this genre, however, is originality. Unless you’re the chick lit queen Sophie Kinsella, it’s pretty much a case of if you’ve read one, you’ve read them all. They all seem to work with the exact same clichés and make their heroines face the same problems and make almost the same decisions in their lives: ex boyfriend vs. new (and handsome) guy, old and boring job vs dream job, etc. And as much as I’d love to say that The Wish List is not like this but is something totally unique and ground-breaking and is not at all predictable, it wouldn’t be true. There are several parts where it’s perfectly obvious what the author is leading up to (hint: the case of the Northern Lights trip, the game in Matt’s garden) and what would happen a few chapters later in the story – but do you know what? In this case, I didn’t even care. Not as much as to put me off and stop enjoying the book, at least. The difference between the books I just described and this one is that when something is so well-written and so laugh-out-loud funny as The Wish List, you just don’t seem to care whether you know what’s coming or not. Emma is such a hilarious and entertaining character and her friends are so real and relatable that it would have been difficult not to be gripped by their story.
I really, really enjoyed this story and it definitely goes on my ‘favourite chick lits’ list. I’m a bit gutted that it’s a standalone book and we have to say goodbye to Emma and all her friends but I hope the author’s next books will be just as addictive and entertaining as The Wish List was. It’s absolutely hilarious so do give it a try if you can and if you’re in need of a pick-me-up.(less)
Short stories are a tricky business. Getting everything right, from the characters to a good storyline and a neat ending, in such a short amount of time is, I think, quite difficult. There were many occasions in the past couple of years when some of my favourite authors ventured outside their comfort zone and gave short fiction a try but, as much as it pains me to say this, they failed miserably. Their novels might be spot on but when they were restricted to 80 or 90 pages, their stories either felt terribly rushed or fell a bit flat for me. And this is why I’m still a bit sceptical about short fiction. However, If Snow Hadn’t Fallen didn’t disappoint at all. In fact, I found it just as gripping and fast-paced as Now You See Me (the first book in the Lacey Flint series) was.
The book starts off almost exactly where Now You See Me ended and is, again, narrated by London detective Lacey Flint. Lacey’s boss Dana Tulloch and her friend, reporter Emma Boston make an appearance as well which I was thrilled about – I loved both of them in the previous book so it was lovely to ‘meet them’ again. However, since this book is – obviously – not as detailed as a full length novel, it’s probably better if you read Now You See Me first (if you haven’t read it yet), so that you have a better understanding of the characters and what they’ve been through prior to this story. It’s a great thriller on its own but knowing Lacey’s background story will make it even better.
I absolutely loved this book and I can only echo what I said about NYSM few weeks ago: it’s a must-read for fans of crime fiction. If there is one person who can keep you on the edge of your seat and make you hold your Kindle in a white-knuckle death grip, heart racing and not having the faintest idea what’s coming next, it’s S.J. Bolton. It’s very rare that someone manages to create something so full of twists and turns, something so intriguing in merely 85 pages, but Bolton nailed it. I loved every second of it and I can’t wait to read the next book in the series!(less)
I’ve heard a million wonderful things about this book even before I picked it up so I was pretty sure I was in for a treat, but I would have never pre...moreI’ve heard a million wonderful things about this book even before I picked it up so I was pretty sure I was in for a treat, but I would have never predicted how much of a nail-shredder it actually is and how much I fell in love with it by the end. If I had to sum it up in a nutshell, I would say Cruel Summer is like a modern, young adult version of Agatha Christie’s timeless classic (and one of my favourite books of all time), And Then There Were None. It’s just as twisted, just as gripping as Christie’s book and is a definite must-read for adults and younger readers alike.
When I started reading the book it seemed a little slow paced compared to what I was expecting but once you get through the first couple of chapters it all makes sense. Every little detail from the characters’ past is relevant to the plot and what they’re going through at the moment and – as much as I dreaded it – it never gets dull. Not for one moment. In fact, once you realize that all of these characters all had a lot to lose and could have easily killed Janey you just won’t be able to put the book down. I raced through the second half of the story in no time and couldn’t get it out of my head ever since.
Wow, wow, and wow. It’s been a few weeks since I finished this book and to tell you the truth, I’m still speechless. Based on what people were saying...moreWow, wow, and wow. It’s been a few weeks since I finished this book and to tell you the truth, I’m still speechless. Based on what people were saying about it when the first proof copies came out and how many times I saw it being mentioned on social media, I knew it would be a memorable story, but I wasn’t expecting it to be as powerful and mind-blowing as it was. Saying that it was perfect wouldn’t completely be true because there were a few minor details I wasn’t particularly keen on but I found it unputdownable all the same and it’s definitely one of my favourite books this year.
In fact, it’s typically one of those books where two sentences in you already know it’s going to be an amazing read. Not only because of the arresting opening and the plot, which are brilliant in themselves, but mostly because Zan’s writing is so powerful, so eloquent that it’s impossible not to be completely captivated by it. I was immediately hooked and wanted to find out more about the two girls: how did this list come about? What happened in their childhood that made them write this list? What happened to them down in the cellar? And most importantly, how and why did Sarah get out and Jennifer didn’t? Who was this sadistic person who kept them captive for all these years and what was his motive? And while these questions quietly whirl around in your head, Zan slowly reveals the girls’ past and what they went through… one secret, one tiny morsel of information at a time.
I fell in love with Linwood Barclay’s writing about a year ago, so seeing A Tap on the Window among bookshops’ ‘soon to be released’ titles was almost...moreI fell in love with Linwood Barclay’s writing about a year ago, so seeing A Tap on the Window among bookshops’ ‘soon to be released’ titles was almost like an early Christmas present. Although I’ve yet to read the majority of his previous books, I simply cannot recommend him enough.
Having read No Time for Goodbye earlier I already knew I was in for one hell of a ride but the author’s ability to grab you within the first few pages of the book still managed to take me by surprise. If you think you can read this before going to bed, one chapter a day, think again. Barclay’s books are as addictive as chocolate – once you start reading them it’s literally impossible to stop. I’ve always considered myself a slow reader but I probably read the first half in one sitting.
Initially I was a bit worried about the plot because, as it turns out, the girl who goes missing and who seems to be at the centre of things is the local mayor’s daughter and politics in crime fiction has never been my thing. At all. Luckily, I shouldn’t have worried – the book doesn’t really feature any power struggles or political scandals, after all. Phew.
I love, love, love Katie. I’m pretty sure everyone’s aware of her story but just in case someone’s not, well… this is what happened in a nutshell. Back in 2008 Katie, who was working in the media at the time and was hoping to become a TV presenter, was attacked by her boyfriend. First she was raped and then a few days later the guy got another man to throw sulphuric acid in her face as she was leaving her home. Katie was blinded in her left eye, her face, nose, neck, eyelids and ears were burned and even though she was rushed into hospital immediately after the attack, her injuries were so severe she was expected to die. But she survived. After years and years of hospital treatment and several operations to rebuild her face, Katie decided to share her story on TV in the hope of helping other survivors of domestic violence. Katie became one of the UK’s most influential (and most inspiring, I have to add) people and the founder of the Katie Piper foundation.
I cannot even begin to imagine what she and her family must have gone through but I admire and respect her for her courage and her determination. I absolutely love what she’s doing with her foundation and I think she’s a huge inspiration to all of us.
As for Start Your Day With Katie, it’s one of those books that everyone needs to have. It’s basically a collection of inspirational quotes that helped her through these difficult times, quotes that inspired her and helped her go on. It’s an incredibly optimistic book which is guaranteed to lift your spirits and give you a boost. It would also make a lovely Christmas present for anyone who you think needs some cheering up. After all, we all need a little bit of inspiration and positive thinking sometimes. :)(less)
Tangled Lives was a pleasant surprise in every sense of the word. While I wasn’t familiar with Hilary Boyd’s work before I sta...moreOriginally reviewed at:
Tangled Lives was a pleasant surprise in every sense of the word. While I wasn’t familiar with Hilary Boyd’s work before I started reading this book, I’ll certainly pick up whatever she comes up with next.
The book tells the story of Annie – a middle-aged mother of three living in London – whose life suddenly turns upside down when her son she had given up for adoption at the age of 18 turns up out of the blue and wants to get in touch with her. It doesn’t seem like a big deal at first, however, it turns out that Annie’s children don’t know about her adopted son Daniel. And chances that they are going to take it badly are quite high. When she finally plucks up the courage to tell them a small family drama ensues, with her son storming out of the house and her two daughters staring at her in utter disbelief. While her husband and her younger daughter Lucy are quite supportive, her son and elder daughter can’t seem to forgive her and, if you ask me, act in a slightly childish and selfish way. Throw in an ex-boyfriend who not only happens to be Daniel’s father but who has absolutely no idea about his son, a pinch of emotion and a great deal of jealousy and you get an unputdownable tale of love, family, past secrets and forgiveness.
It would have been nice to learn a bit more about Daniel and what his life was like before he made contact with Annie and there were certain parts in the book (for example, the night of the party when Daniel is accused of hitting on Emma) which I found rather predictable, yet, all in all I really enjoyed the book. Annie and Lucy were lovely and relatable characters who I managed to connect with very easily and who, for me, definitely made the story as good as it was.
Tangled Lives for me was one of those books that’s perfect for spending a relaxed afternoon in a garden chair basking in the sunshine, sipping a cup of tea. Fans of contemporary fiction or family sagas are guaranteed to enjoy this one.(less)
As a huge fan of both the Walsh family and Marian herself, Mammy Walsh’s A-Z of the Walsh Family was a definite must-read for me. With The Mystery of Mercy Close‘s release day only a fortnight away, Mammy Walsh’s book is perfect for those who – just like myself – are anxiously waiting for Helen’s story.
With only 67 pages, the book is not a long read – it’s short enough for you to read in one sitting (curled up in bed, with a cup of tea in hand) after a long and exhausting day at work. It’s exactly what the synopsis says – it’s basically an A-Z list of things that are somehow relevant to the Walsh clan, including the five daughters’ relationship with alcohol, Mammy Walsh’s take on fake tan, cooking, eejit sticks (oh, how I wish they were real!), Helen’s shovel list, G-strings, real men and false goodbyes. Mammy Walsh -who, along with Mr Walsh, is one of my favourites from the previous Walsh family books – is such an entertaining character and I’m glad she finally has her own book.
It’s quite difficult to talk about it without giving too much away but trust me when I say it’s utterly hilarious. Mammy Walsh’s A-Z of the Walsh Family had me roaring with laughter and reminded me of why I fell in love with Marian’s stories and all the craziness that goes on in the Walsh household all those years ago. Fans of women’s fiction, brace yourselves. Marian is back!(less)
I absolutely loved this book and I’m fairly sure I would have devoured it in one sitting if I had more free time to actually sit down and read. I had no idea what to expect from this story because the synopsis doesn’t really give away too much. I glanced at the cover (which is gorgeous, by the way) and I thought it would be a nice, atmospheric Christmas read. Something light you can curl up with under a warm blanket, a mug of hot chocolate in hand. And it just shows why we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. Once More With Feeling is a great Christmas read but at the same time, it’s so much more than that.
If you’re looking for a light, feel-goody Christmas novel that that you can curl up with on Christmas Eve, sipping hot chocolate or mulled wine next to a blazing fire Once More With Feeling might not be your number one choice. It’s a great book for those cold and dark winter afternoons but it’s definitely not a sappy, feel-goody Christmas story. At all. It’s dramatic, sometimes heartbreaking but at the same time very hopeful and optimistic. It will make you feel angry, nostalgic, and quite emotional too. It’s the kind of book where, once you get to the end, you feel as if you’ve been holding your breath all along. And only when it reaches a conclusion, when Sarah figures out what do to with her life are you able to breath normally again.
Sarah is a wonderful character and I loved her from the very beginning. I loved the way she tells her story, the way she lets you take a glimpse into her life, her past and her dreams as a twenty-something girl trying to find her way in the world. And maybe one of the things I loved the most is that she’s so real. You know it’s all fiction but the fact that she’s so real, so much like any of us, makes the book even better, even more easy for us to relate to her and the story she tells.
Reading Once More With Feeling was an emotional roller-coaster ride for me but I enjoyed every minute of it. A great narrative, realistic characters and the beautiful, witty writing are what make this book as fantastic it is. I cried my eyes out over the closing chapter but I couldn’t imagine a better ending to the story. (I’m going to be really mysterious here and say to those of you who’ve already read it: wouldn’t it be nice if there was a sequel? I would really like to read about how Sarah’s ‘adventure’ goes and what places she ends up in!) It was the first book I’ve read by Megan Crane but it definitely won’t be the last.(less)
Eye Contact, Fergus McNeill’s debut novel has been on my wishlist ever since I first saw it on the publisher’s website. What intrigued me about this story is the fact that there’s no motive behind these murders. It’s all just a game. And even before I started reading the book, I started wondering: how do you track down someone who has no reason to kill and whose victims have no connection to each other whatsoever? As a huge crime fan I’ve read many books from the same genre but never have I encountered one where the killer’s only motive is the adrenalin rush, that strive for power and I was quite curious to see what would happen next and how the events would unfold. I had really high hopes for this one and I’m glad to say that McNeill didn’t disappoint. McNeill’s writing, unique plot and his ability to describe what’s going on in both the killer’s and his hunter’s head are equally engaging from the very beginning and I found it very difficult to put this book down.
I loved the way McNeill dealt with narration. A third person narrator tells the story of both the murderer and the police inspector in a way that the first part of each section tells the killer’s side of the events and the second half deals with the investigation process. It’s interesting how, even though it’s not the killer himself who tells us his side of story, we get to know what goes on in his mind before he decides to strike again and chooses his next victim. While he’s a totally ordinary guy with a normal job on the outside, his thoughts are that of a madman. The character I loved the most, however, was the policeman who’s working on Naysmith’s case – DI Graham Harland. Harland is still trying to come to terms with the loss of his wife and he’s quite a lonely, sad and depressed figure. I loved how much he’s changed by the end of the story and his relationship with his colleague Mendel and I hope it’s not the last we see of the two of them.
When I first saw this book I thought it would be a lot bloodier and more cruel than it actually is which was definitely a pleasant surprise. McNeill doesn’t really go into details about the victims and the forensics’ work like many thrillers and mysteries do – it rather focuses on how the police are trying to find a motive behind all this and find a link between these murders. Don’t get me wrong, it’s terrifying all the same. I had nightmares of being followed for two days straight after reading it and I’m not likely to forget this story anytime soon. But if you’re looking for the next Hercule Poirot, this one’s not for you. There’s no snooping around examining the scene of the crime, questioning suspects and witnesses and collecting evidence – that’s the point: there are no witnesses and there is no evidence. Naysmith is an incredibly clever and thorough guy whose attacks are carefully planned beforehand. He makes sure that there will be no witnesses and he doesn’t leave anything behind, not even a footprint. Which makes this book all the better: you just want to know how the police would find someone who’s as guarded as he is or what would be his downfall.
McNeill keeps you in the dark until the very end and you’ve no idea what’s about to happen. Even thirty or forty pages before the end you just don’t know if it’s ever going to end or if Rob Naysmith is going to get away with it. I loved this book from start to finish and I would definitely recommend it for anyone who likes suspense and mysteries. Eye Contact will keep you on the edge of your seat all along and keep you guessing till the very end. It’s a heart-pounding debut novel you don’t want to miss!(less)
Ciara Geraghty’s books have been on my to-be-read list for quite a long time but I never actually got round to reading them. So when I received a copy of her fourth novel, Lifesaving for Beginners, I couldn’t wait to get started. But even though it sounded like something I would enjoy, I had no idea what to expect. All I can say is: three pages in I was already hooked and I’m not exaggerating when I say I loved this book from start to finish.
At the risk of sounding terribly morbid, I love the fact that Lifesaving for Beginners starts in such a dramatic way. A few pages in, two women are involved in a car crash in Ireland: Beth, a mother of four from Brighton and Kat, a thirty-nine year old writer from Dublin. Beth dies instantly, while Kat walks away without a scratch. The book tells the story of their families whose lives will never be the same again. Then, just when they think they’re starting to figure out how to move on and deal with the past, something comes along and once again, changes everything, bringing the two families together. The fact that the book starts with such tragic events means that you just cannot help being drawn to the story from the very beginning.
Another thing I really enjoyed was the fact that the story is told from two different perspectives. There are books where this type of narration doesn’t work and I’ve read a few books where it would have worked but the author didn’t really nail it but in this case, it works perfectly well. Half of the book is told from Kat’s point of view, and half from Milo’s (who is Beth’s 9-year-old son). The two different perspectives definitely make the book more diverse – not only do we hear the story from both families’ point of view at the same time but it’s really interesting to hear a 9-year-old boy’s and an adult’s take on things. Milo is by far my favourite character from the book – he’s just adorable and the way he’s dealing with the situation is very moving. I loved how after the tragedy he’s the one who becomes the adult in the family and makes more reasonable decisions than her sister Faith or anyone else. He’s the one who adds some humour to the story and whose childish innocence and witty remarks will put a smile on your face while there’s a tear in your eye.
Geraghty’s novel reminded me a little bit of Marian Keyes’ books: their writing style is different but they’re similar in the sense that both of them deal with serious and difficult issues in an optimistic, heart-warming and quite humorous way. Lifesaving for Beginners is without a doubt one of my favourite books this year and Ciara Geraghty soon became one of my favourite authors. It’s one of those books where you can’t wait to see how the story ends but at the same time, you don’t want it to end. It’s a remarkable read that I’m not likely to forget anytime soon and I can’t recommend it enough. Trust me, it’ll blow you away.(less)
Come to the Edge for me was one of those books that you instantly fall in love with. I was looking for a breezy, entertaining read the other day and thus I decided to pick it up, not having the faintest idea what to expect. Well, here’s what you can expect: a quirky, sarcastic and hilarious duo, a most unusual plot and roaring with laughter at 1 a.m when everyone else is sleeping and even though you need to get up for work in 6 hours, you just shrug and keep reading.
Come to the Edge tells the story of our unknown narrator, a suburban housewife who’s been through a marriage break-up and who just wants to get away from it all. She answers a mysterious and quite unusual advertisement for an unpaid companion on a small farm in the Lake District. Upon arriving in this rural village she finds Cassandra White, an eccentric widow who doesn’t believe in such things as tertiary education or religion and who abhors modern conveniences like television, supermarket food, or central heating.And this is where things are starting to get complicated. Every day is struggle for our narrator who’s used to the conveniences of a suburban home but despite everything, she decides to stay. The novel is about her strange friendship with Cassandra, about the differences between rural and suburban life, between the rich and the poor. Take all these ingredients, add a pinch of sarcasm and 3 tablespoons of humour and you get Joanna Kavenna’s masterpiece.
I loved the relationship between Cassandra and the narrator and how much she changed during the weeks they spent together. I loved how Cassandra was trying to teach her to be different instead of accepting the role society imposed upon her, and even though she rejects Cassandra’s ideas at first, she completely changed by the end of the novel. Cassandra was quite an interesting character – in addition to the fact that her remarks are incredibly witty and hilarious, she’s right. You might think she’s a lunatic at first but there’s truth in what she says and what she’s fighting for. Even though she might not be the most sociable or warm or hospitable person you’ve ever met, she’s still a likeable character and I really liked her.
My only problem with this story is that I feel like no matter how hard I try, my review won’t do it justice. But I hope you’ll trust me and believe me when I say it’s a fantastic read. I can guarantee that it’s nothing like you’ve ever read before. It’s a witty comedy about serious things with a unique narrative and likeable characters- and even though the plot is quite exaggerated, it’s still believable and more importantly, very funny. It’s a charming, entertaining and laugh-out-loud funny page-turner – a definite must have. And just a tip for commuters: do not read it on your way to work, including trains and the tube. Believe me, you’ll be crying with laughter.(less)
Having read most of his books in literally one sitting, I think it’s safe to say that whatever Chris Carter writes I fall in love with within seconds....moreHaving read most of his books in literally one sitting, I think it’s safe to say that whatever Chris Carter writes I fall in love with within seconds. An Evil Mind wasn’t any different. Although it’s very different from anything he’s written before, it’s just as tense and captivating as his other novels – but in a completely different way.
In case you’re not familiar with his writing, his previous books were famous for being of the nail-shredder, race-against-time variety and being on the gorier side. I enjoyed every second of every story but they were not for the faint-hearted. All his books featured various serial killers on the loose and Detective Robert Hunter trying to chase them down. So how is this book different, then? In An Evil Mind, the killer is already in FBI custody. We already know who he is and the fact that he’s guilty. What we don’t know is how many people he killed, who they are, and why he did it. All we know is that he knows Robert and refuses to talk to anyone else. So, once again, it’s up to Hunter to put the pieces together and figure out if Lucien is telling the truth and whether he has any other tricks up his sleeve.
Other than the fact that Carter’s writing is brilliant, I had absolutely no idea what to expect from this book. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book where you know who the killer is right from the start (solving the mystery alongside the detective is part of the fun, right?) so I was intrigued by the premise of Carter’s novel. It was definitely a pleasant surprise.
The Murder on the Links is Christie’s third novel and the second Hercule Poirot mystery. I had some vague memory of watching the film adaptation on telly a few years ago but funnily enough, the story was completely new to me and apart from the fact that it’s set somewhere in France and there’s a golf course involved, I didn’t remember a thing. And how grateful I am for that! Had I remembered anything else, I’m quite sure I wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much as I did. And in spite of the fact that I don’t think any of her books can top And Then There Were None, it was definitely one of the best mysteries she’s ever written.
I don’t know if you remember but I mentioned in my review of The Mysterious Affair at Styles (the very first Poirot novel) that I found Hastings’s narrative a bit monotonous and dry and it took me a little while before I got into it and got used to his style. Well, this was definitely not the case here. I was drawn into the story from the very first page and even though I’m a relatively slow reader, I devoured half of the story in one sitting. As opposed to book #1, The Murder on the Links is more fast-paced and less concerned with family affairs, family history than the first book was, which is something I’m quite happy about. (Three chapters and 30 pages in we already have our first victim and Poirot is already working on the case so if this is not fast paced then I don’t know what is. :) ) Hastings is funny, incredibly naive and as always, hasn’t a clue about what’s going on, just like us readers. His friendship with Poirot is both charming and entertaining, and it’s one of the things that make this book as good as it is.
In addition to the usual investigation process and Poirot’s tales about his little grey cells, The Murder on the Links is spiced up with a great deal of humour as well. There’s a Parisian detective called Giraud involved in the investigation who soon becomes Poirot’s rival as they’re trying to solve the mystery separately. Their methods are entirely different and the fact that they’re trying to outdo each other had me in stitches many times throughout the story.
Once again, the Queen of Crime manages to give us readers all the necessary details we need for solving the case and still, when you think you’ve seen it all, she twists the whole thing around in the very last minute and you find yourself staring open-mouthed, completely speechless and wondering how the heck all this happened. Brilliant ending, gripping plot and engaging narrative – it really is a fantastic read. Do read it if you can, it’s worth it!(less)
I have a soft spot for psychological thrillers so I fell in love with Luana Lewis’s story the minute I read the synopsis. I had very high hopes for Do...moreI have a soft spot for psychological thrillers so I fell in love with Luana Lewis’s story the minute I read the synopsis. I had very high hopes for Don’t Stand So Close and luckily, it didn’t let me down. I loved it from start to finish and I’m not exaggerating when I say I read the first hundred pages in one sitting.
One of the reasons why it’s so difficult to put it down is that you have no idea who’s lying, who’s manipulating who and who the (real) victims are. Blue turns up at Stella’s house with an innocent enough story but once she’s inside, it turns out things are more complicated than they seem. Both of them are acting strange. Stella has been cocooned inside her home with symptoms of agoraphobia and anxiety, and been on heavy medication for years so she’s clearly not the most reliable character you’ll ever find. Blue says she knows Stella’s husband but she keeps changing her story all the time. You have no idea what’s going on and you want to find out who’s telling the truth so desperately that by the time you manage to put the book down for a few minutes, it’s midnight and you realize you forgot to have dinner. And lunch. It’s very addictive!