It’s not difficult to see why this is the thriller of the moment. Disturbing, heart-stopping, and chilling, with a compelling ‘what would you do’ plotIt’s not difficult to see why this is the thriller of the moment. Disturbing, heart-stopping, and chilling, with a compelling ‘what would you do’ plotline, it’s definitely a psychological head-melt – which is precisely what a first rate thriller should be. Married couple Heidi and Jason have the worst of things in common: before they met, his little boy and her little girl were abducted. The body of Heidi’s daughter was recovered not long after she went missing, but Jason’s son, Barney, was never found. But one day Heidi thinks she sees Barney, in an off-licence close to their home. Even though she never knew him, she is convinced the boy is her husband’s son. Her husband, however, is convinced he isn’t. And so the story starts to unravel, along with Heidi’s life. The characters aren’t particularly likeable, but that is O’Connor’s genius: it doesn’t matter if you don’t really like Jason (even though you think you should), or feel frustrated by Heidi (and you will) – you just want to know what happens next. And you won’t be able to eat or sleep or function on a normal human level until you do. I’m thankful I had the luxury of time when I read this book on my holiday, as lord only knows how I’d have coped if I’d had work to go to. As for the twist at the end – it’s a cracker! ...more
I nearly had to reach for the beta blockers with this one, such was the intensity of the brilliant heart-in-mouth narrative. Journalist Morgan Vine’s I nearly had to reach for the beta blockers with this one, such was the intensity of the brilliant heart-in-mouth narrative. Journalist Morgan Vine’s old flame, Danny Kilcannon, is released from prison after serving time for a child murder it now appears he didn’t commit – thanks in no small part to the relentless campaigning of Morgan. Despite most people still doubting his innocence, Morgan is steadfast in her belief that the police got the wrong guy, and that the young girl’s killer is still out there. But then her own teenage daughter goes missing, and Morgan’s world shifts on its axis. Who can she trust? Who can she turn to? Does Danny have something to do with it? Is he really the good guy she first met back in her own teens, or a child-murdering monster? This pacy thriller is jam-packed with twists and turns, vivid characters, nail-biting action and enough tension to make you sleep with the light on! There are cliff-hangers and red-herrings galore, and the did-he-didn’t-he storyline will keep you guessing until the very end. Simon Booker has created a stonkingly believable character in Morgan Vine, and I’ll definitely be picking up his next instalment in the series....more
I had the rare luxury of time when I read this book, which meant I was able to devour it in just two sittings. Just as well, as I couldn’t put it downI had the rare luxury of time when I read this book, which meant I was able to devour it in just two sittings. Just as well, as I couldn’t put it down! Eva, the central character, captivated me from the outset – but I worried about her too. She made me laugh out loud, and wipe away a tear or two. She made me want to scream at her sometimes, and high-five her at others. The writer doesn’t sugar-coat Eva’s flaws in any way, and is open and honest about her demons and life choices, but that is what makes the character so compelling, and vividly, achingly real. You’ll have to read the book yourself to see if Eva triumphs, but, I promise you, you’ll be rooting for her to do so.
Doreen Finn’s exquisite writing will ensure this is a book that stays in your head for a very long time after you turn the final page, and I’ll be snapping up any subsequent publications from this talented author. ...more
Reading this book was a bit like lingering over a long, cosy, comforting drink of sumptuous hot chocolate, or slowly sipping a bottle of very fine redReading this book was a bit like lingering over a long, cosy, comforting drink of sumptuous hot chocolate, or slowly sipping a bottle of very fine red wine. I savoured every sentence, and wanted to drink it in all over again when I got to the (immensely satisfying) end. Tanya Ravenswater’s prose is so seductively lyrical that it wraps you up in a big soft hug. I completely fell in love with Jacques the boy, and even more so with Jacques the young man. Ravenswater writes her hero with effortless ease, her talent jumping out from the very first page. I truly loved this book....more
I often find myself yelling out loud during a great, edge-of-the-seat movie or TV drama – but it’s a rare thing to happen whilst reading a book. Well,I often find myself yelling out loud during a great, edge-of-the-seat movie or TV drama – but it’s a rare thing to happen whilst reading a book. Well, it happened with this one! On several occasions I found myself shouting at Josephine and Freya, the novel’s two protagonists, ‘just flipping talk to each other’. Of course I’m glad they didn’t, as then there wouldn’t have been a story for Rebecca Thornton to tell. And what a brilliant story it is.
The premise lies on a disturbing event that takes place during the best friends’ last year at an elite boarding school, and while we don’t know what actually happened until the denouement, we are aware throughout the entire novel that it changed the shape of both their lives forever. The narrative is clever, the writing is beautifully honest, and the plot is page-turningly gripping. Many of the characters are realistically frustrating and dislikeable, but you ache for them to find some sort of solace and resolution – the sign of a truly great book. I cannot recommend this highly enough, and if you find yourself shouting out loud whilst reading, don’t worry, you’re not losing the plot – you’re in the middle of an excellent one! ...more
The Last Thing I Remember has given me one of my favourite fictional characters in a very long time, in the form of schoolgirl, Kelly. She jumps off tThe Last Thing I Remember has given me one of my favourite fictional characters in a very long time, in the form of schoolgirl, Kelly. She jumps off the page with her tumbling, brash, in-your-face dialogue. Both of Deborah Bee’s protagonists in this dual narrative thriller are utterly believable, and Sarah’s coma-confined chapters are as tense and engaging as Kelly’s are explosive and entertaining. This is such as assured debut novel, expertly and deftly unraveled. As soon as I finished, I felt compelled to turn to the start and begin reading the book all over again. I’ve no doubt there will be more to come from the talented Ms Bee....more
It’s clear from the description that Lola and Duncan are a couple in crisis, and I have to admit that I was initially a tad nervous about reading thisIt’s clear from the description that Lola and Duncan are a couple in crisis, and I have to admit that I was initially a tad nervous about reading this book, having recently gone through the painful break up of my own marriage. But I needn’t have worried as the story utterly absorbed me. Despite the heart-breaking scenario, reading the book was a bit like drinking a tonic - spiked with yellow sunshine and thirst-quenching hope. The genius of the author is that she manages to completely turn around the reader’s sympathies, and, without giving too much away, you find yourself rooting for Lola, despite, well … read it and you’ll see for yourself!
It’s hard to believe this is Colette Dartford’s debut novel as the writing is so accomplished and effortless. Every conversation, every line, is completely real. Nothing jars, nothing confuses the reader, there is no sense of having to flick back a page or two, or re-read a line to make sense of it. I loved it, and I can’t wait to see what this writer produces next. ...more
An all-round fabulous read with beautifully rounded characters, a distressing but perfectly pitched back-story, and a brilliantly crafted plot that keAn all-round fabulous read with beautifully rounded characters, a distressing but perfectly pitched back-story, and a brilliantly crafted plot that keeps you guessing to the eminently satisfying conclusion. I became so infatuated with this page-turner that the characters even penetrated my dreams! They just leap off the page – even the minor ones. The writing is fabulous, the dual timeline structure keeps you guessing, and the dialogue is convincingly real. I loved it, and I’m looking forward to reading more from the talented Mr. Minett....more
A tense, atmospheric thriller which places the reader firmly in the murky setting of 1970s East Berlin from the off. With its meticulous attention toA tense, atmospheric thriller which places the reader firmly in the murky setting of 1970s East Berlin from the off. With its meticulous attention to detail, I suspect there was a huge amount of research went into the writing of this novel – and it certainly paid off. The plot was tense and pacy, and the characters totally believable, particularly Oberleutnant Karin Müller. Whilst I love political espionage thrillers on the big and small screen, they wouldn’t necessarily be my reading genre of choice – but I was so very glad I decided to make an exception in this case. I’m already excited about the prospect of Karin Muller’s return. I'll definitely be reading her next installment, but I’m pretty sure she’ll wind up on the big screen anyway before too long! Comment Comment | Permalink...more
There are books that absorb you so much you forget where you are. If you find yourself laughing out loud, or crying big sniveling tears in a public plThere are books that absorb you so much you forget where you are. If you find yourself laughing out loud, or crying big sniveling tears in a public place whilst reading a book, you know the author has done their job - with bells on - but it's a rare book that can do both. When that happens, it's like discovering buried treasure! This book is one of those gems.
Sofia Khan is NOT Obliged has been hailed as the Muslim Bridget Jones, and there most definitely are similarities - but Sofia possesses a glorious, feisty defiance that makes her an even more endearing heroine. Ayisha Malik has created a character who is so real she'll be sitting beside you peering over your shoulder as you turn every page, fiddling with her hijab and munching on a Lemon Puff . And then she'll linger long after the final full stop. You'll most likely drive yourself a little bit mad wondering what happened next. Luckily, Sofia will be returning soon to tell us!
Ayisha Malik is a true talent - and she's given me my book of the year. If I could give it more stars, I would!...more
I absolutely loved this book. It was one of those stories you carry around with you throughout the day, nipping off for sneaky chapters whenever and wI absolutely loved this book. It was one of those stories you carry around with you throughout the day, nipping off for sneaky chapters whenever and wherever you can, staying up till dawn to finish it if you have to. Investigative newspaper journalist, Sophie Kent is a genius creation. Feisty, flawed and somewhat broken, her vulnerability coupled with a steely determination and an unrelenting drive to uncover the truth, make her an engaging, attractive and immensely likeable character. She jumps off every page. We know that Sophie has just returned to work after a brief leave of absence following the death of her beloved brother, and she’s not operating on full power. But she quickly becomes embroiled in the story behind the viciously brutal murder of one of her sources – a young, up-and-coming Russian model. The backdrop of the London fashion scene makes a compelling setting, exposing the dark and deadly side of the industry. You don’t have to scratch the surface too far here to see the ugliness that lies beneath, and Corrie Jackson portrays that perfectly. There are twists and shockers galore, and the vividly gruesome murders will make your eyes pop. Apart from being a stonkingly brilliant crime caper, Corrie Jackson’s writing is quite simply brilliant. The writing doesn’t always take pride of place in a thriller, but in this case it most definitely does. It is assured, effortless and accomplished. There isn’t a single clumsy sentence or a word out of place, and the dialogue is honest, raw and utterly believable. Roll on the next Sophie Kent saga. I’ll be top of the queue - and crossing my fingers for a small screen version as it’s crying out for TV. In the meantime, I cannot recommend Breaking Dead highly enough. ...more
I finished this book a couple of days ago and am having serious withdrawal symptoms. It just won’t leave my head, and I’m now ridiculously envious of I finished this book a couple of days ago and am having serious withdrawal symptoms. It just won’t leave my head, and I’m now ridiculously envious of those who still have the pleasure of reading it for the first time ahead. (I will definitely read it again, but there’s something deliciously thrilling about that first-time read of a book you just know is special.) From the outset it’s clear that Tall Oaks definitely has a touch of Fargo and Twin Peaks about it – which for me was an instant thumbs-up. The subject matter – the disappearance of a young child in a small US town - is dark and distressing, and the author also deals with several other difficult issues, including domestic violence, sexual assault and bullying. But the darkness is always balanced with moments of laugh-out-loud humour, touching tenderness and heartfelt compassion – just like in real life. Chris Whitaker has created an ensemble cast of quirky characters, each one so vividly real and uniquely compelling. As with many other reviewers here, Manny, the hapless, Fedora wearing, would-be teenage gangster, is my stand out favourite. He’s a genius creation. But I also loved gentle giant, Gerry, and French John, the gay cake-maker, and Thalia, Manny’s hilariously foul-mouthed little sister. This may be Whitaker’s debut novel, but it’s quite clear he’s a natural. His writing sparkles with wit, passion, pathos and hope, and there isn’t a word out of place. The narrative is jam-packed with twists and turns, shocks and surprises, with gasps aplenty – and the denouement provided me with one of the most outstanding ‘I didn’t see that coming’ moments from any book I have ever read. Quite simply, it’s brilliant. I suspect this author will go on to write many more successful books, and I’ll be first in the queue for all of them. ...more
Possibly the worst book I have ever read. Seriously. Atrocious grammar, a completely wayward plot line, dreadful characterisation ... it is appalling.Possibly the worst book I have ever read. Seriously. Atrocious grammar, a completely wayward plot line, dreadful characterisation ... it is appalling. It is clearly unedited, and even though the book is self published, this is no excuse. Do yourself a favour and don't waste valuable reading time with this trash....more