Moving from the heart of Brighton and Hove to the Sussex countryside is a big undertaking for Ollie and Caro Harcourt and their twelve-year-old daughter Jade. But when they view Cold Hill House – a huge, dilapidated Georgian mansion – Ollie is filled with excitement. Despite the financial strain of the move, he has dreamed of living in the country since he was a child, and he sees Cold Hill House as a paradise for his animal-loving daughter, the perfect base for his web-design business and a terrific long-term investment. Caro is less certain, and Jade is grumpy about being separated from her friends.
Within days of moving in, it becomes apparent that the Harcourt family aren’t the only residents of the house. A friend of Jade’s is the first to see the spectral woman, standing behind her as the girls talk on FaceTime. Then there are more sightings, as well as increasingly disturbing occurrences in the house. As the haunting becomes more malevolent and the house itself begins to turn on the Harcourts, the terrified family discover Cold Hill House’s dark history, and the horrible truth of what it could mean for them . . .
There’s not really much you can say about Peter James that hasn’t already been said. A terrific author who never seems to put a foot wrong, time after time he publishes a novel that is both engaging and fascinating to read. This time around he dispenses of Roy Grace’s services, heaven knows why because I for one would like to see Grace tackle a ghost! A standalone, The House on Cold Hill will have you shivering from the outset until a bone shaking finale.
I don’t get the chance to read ghost stories all that often, I did as a kid and loved them, but when I had the opportunity to read this title I jumped at the chance, it wasn’t the only time I’d jump while reading! The House on Cold Hill, although set in modern times, has a distinctly old fashioned style to it. I couldn’t help but think, despite the inclusion of computers and mobile phones, that I had been transported back to the old days of no electricity, no running water and reading by candlelight – no idea why, it just had that feel about it for me.
The first few chapters serve to set the story, lay a solid foundation – despite the possibility of subsidence!! – and introduce the characters to the reader but once all this has been achieved there’s no holding back and the story moves along at a rapid pace. Ollie is without question the star of the show and he proves to be a great protagonist. Worried about making a huge financial mistake in moving lock, stock and barrel to the country he’s prepared to ignore the warning signs and the fact that the small problems that immediately start to surface are in fact just the tip of the iceberg.
You can’t help but feel empathy with the family and how they put up with the problems is beyond me! They really do endure a lot but their hardship serves to entertain the reader! I know it’s a cruel world isn’t it! As long as it’s not happening to us, suck it up!!
A chilling read, I loved the way the story unfolded and how the ghostly activities increased as it became clear the Harcourt family wouldn’t be giving up without a fight. Characters come and go, some a little more gruesome than others, but the story continues to progress and flow well. Haunting in parts, there were a couple of points in the book that really freaked me out, the author has a knack for this genre.
So there we have it, not going to spoil it for anyone and give away any clues but the ending is very well done and just about right but if ever there was a book that had an alternative ending chapter then this is one! Now there’s a thought! Has that ever been done?
Bravo Mr James
- Hardcover:320 pages
- Publisher:Macmillan; Main Market Ed. edition (8 Oct. 2015)
A twenty-year-old murder
A chain of unsolvable mysteries
Can one detective solve this epic riddle?
When a man is found murdered in an abandoned building in Osaka in 1973, unflappable detective Sasagaki is assigned to the case. He begins to piece together the connection of two young people who are inextricably linked to the crime; the dark, taciturn son of the victim and the unexpectedly captivating daughter of the main suspect. Over the next twenty years we follow their lives as Sasagaki pursues the case – which remains unsolved – to the point of obsession.
I remember reading Malice by Keigo Higashino exactly one year ago and stated then that it was a contender for book of the year for me and so it remained. A few titles challenged in the final few months of the year but none left the same mark that malice and its characters did.
Here we are a year later and Journey Under the Midnight Sun, the third Higashino novel to be translated into English, is something a little different, ok a lot different! By all accounts this is Higashino of old, a novel reminiscent to The Devotion of Suspect X (which I haven’t read) his first and overnight Japanese sensational blockbuster that sold in excess of two million copies. At well over 500 pages this latest novel will take some reading but despite an incredibly complex structure it’s well worth the effort.
I have to admit, of the two Higashino novels I’ve read; Malice still remains my favourite – by far. Osamu Nonoguchi’s character in Malice was and is an outstanding protagonist and narrator, he will take some beating. Every once in a while a character comes along and has such a profound effect; this is what books are made for and to this day he remains a benchmark for future protagonists – for me at least!
The book begins with a body – Yosuke Kirihara, a pawnbroker – found in an abandoned building but before the ink is dry the book has moved on and despite the initial police investigation by Junzo Sasagaki the crime unsolved.
As the book advances in years so do the relationships, some more tenuous than others but it’s the one between Yukiho Karasawa and Ryo Kirihara that had me intrigued. There’s so much there, so much depth, you’ll be analysing the relationship for days after finishing the book! Yukiho is the star of the show for me and as we are initially introduced to her she’s a schoolgirl but as the novel develops so does Yukiho, mesmerizingly so.
Whatever you do don’t expect an easy ride with this books, Higashino has a particular style and he doesn’t like to make things easy. Where’s the fun in that?! He introduces someone only to abruptly stop and change the story, only to reintroduce said character further down the line. It’s a complex yet intelligent narrative that takes a lot of brainpower for the reader to keep hold of the essence of the story, especially with the foreign names that never seem roll off the tounge.
Full of dark crime, dark events and devastation Journey Under the Midnight Sun is set to be another global blockbuster for Keigo Higashino. I’m looking forward to his next novel and just hope that it contains more magical characters, I’m sure it will! Although it took me a while to finish this read, I’m so glad I persevered. A final note, I’m still slightly confused as to the intensions of the author and what he wanted to achieve with this book but one thing’s for sure he’s created another group of fascinating characters and a spotted history of Japanese culture spanning twenty odd years.
- Paperback:544 pages
- Publisher:Little, Brown (8 Oct. 2015)
- Product Dimensions: 8 x 4.3 x 23.4 cm
Accepting the task of protecting Billie Womack is a no-brainer for ex-counterterrorist soldier Joe Hunter, but it comes with its own set of complications.
Billie’s husband, Richard, stole thirty million dollars from some violent people. He apparently died in a car crash with Billie’s daughter, Nicola, during a desperate attempt to elude his pursuers. But his enemies don’t believe him dead. They think he escaped the plunge into the icy river that killed Nicola and has now decided to come back for the money. If he’s alive, they believe he’ll contact Billie.
It doesn’t take long for the bad guys to arrive at her remote farmhouse. Soon she and Joe are fugitives. Dead or alive, Richard’s fate means nothing to Hunter, but he promises to do everything in his power to protect the grieving mother. Even if it means taking a bullet for her, it’s a price he’ll pay.
It’s a pledge he will come to regret, as he learns that killers are forged on the Devil’s anvil.
When you pick up a Matt Hilton book you know exactly what to expect, it’s as simple as that. A high octane action thriller, a few dead bodies, a good storyline and entertaining characters full of personality. The Devil’s Anvil is no exception. Fast paced, entertaining and very readable the story moves along at a frenetic pace and at one point even Hunter’s life is on the line but we have a fair idea he’s going to survive – but then where would we be without our hero?!!
The book is formulaic – as is expected – but having just read it now the weather has become distinctly autumnal the book wraps around you like a favourite winter blanket, all that’s missing is a cup of hot chocolate! It may be stormy outside but there’s no fear of a cold chill while reading Hunter’s latest predicament. The boy can certainly find himself in an infinite number of scrapes, more than enough for one man!
The storyline is good and there are a couple of turns that were slightly unexpected and Matt deals with the twists well. Characterisation is again strong with enough emphasis given to the leading man, the supporting femme fatale and the obligatory bad guys.
The only man missing is Joe Hunter’s partner in crime and fellow hero Rink. Ok so Rink does make an appearance but for me, not enough! Having read all of Hilton’s books I have grown to love Rink and Hunter’s connection, they both go hand in hand with each other. The series is a boys own kind of read, it’s a club and without the full membership it does lose a little something. Don’t get me wrong, Hunter carries the book effortlessly but when you add Rink it becomes fuller flavoured. Think cooking, adding a little seasoning always helps with the flavour, for me Rink is the seasoning, and I’d like to see more of him.
You’ll never satisfy everyone and it’s all about getting that right balance. The Hunter series is full of action, camaraderie and gripping situations. You can get this in most books but this series does have that certain something that makes me want to return time and time again to see what predicament the boys find themselves in next. Keep going Matt, another great read.
- Hardcover: 336 pages
- Publisher:Hodder & Stoughton (4 Jun. 2015)
The hardest crimes to acknowledge are your own…
Charlie Matheson died two years ago in a car accident. So how is a woman bearing a startling resemblance to her claiming to be back from the dead? Detective Mark Nelson is called in to investigate and hear her terrifying account of what she’s been through in the afterlife.
Every year Detective David Groves receives a birthday card for his son…even though he buried him years ago. His son’s murder took everything from him, apart from his belief in the law, even though the killers were never found. This year, though, the card bears a different message: I know who did it.
Uncovering the facts will lead them all on a dark journey, where they must face their own wrongs as well as those done to those they love. It will take them to a place where justice is a game, and punishments are severe. Nelson and Groves know the answers lie with the kind of people you want to turn and run from. But if they’re to get to the truth, first they’ll have to go through hell…
In the words of Robert Palmer ….. Simply Irresistible!
I Know Who Did It is self-contained and if, like me, you haven’t had the opportunity to read The 50/50 Killer which this book alludes to on numerous occasions, then fear not. With any series it obviously helps and gives a greater depth to have read the opening title but as this story is so well contained and presented it’s not necessary, a bonus if you have mind! As the story develops and the references to past crimes increase it definitely made me want to explore more and see what exactly happened before, the secret of great writing. Keep them wanting more!
This is a very quick read and almost unputdownable! Mosby possesses a terrific writing style and along with a strong narrative and unforgettable characters, some not so nice as others, it won’t take you long to work your way through this book.
Mosby mixes things up along the way and when Charlie Matheson appears to have died and come back to life, the way in which the author deals with this arc and others is testament to a writer at the top of his game. The characters all intermingle, some more than others but the numerous arcs all come together in the end and make sense. Along the way you do wonder where the story is leading but eventually you get that Eureka moment, the light bulb goes off and you understand what’s just happened.
I really enjoyed this book. I’m not writing an in-depth review, I wouldn’t want to spoil the experience for anyone. One thing is for sure I for one can’t wait to see what happens next.
- Paperback:352 pages
- Publisher:Orion (24 Sept. 2015)
It’s 1957 and James Bond (agent 007) has only just survived his showdown with Auric Goldfinger at Fort Knox. By his side is Pussy Galore, who was with him at the end.
Unknown to either of them, the USSR and the West are in a deadly struggle for technological superiority. And SMERSH is back.
The Soviet counter-intelligence agency plans to sabotage a Grand Prix race at the most dangerous track in Europe. But it’s Bond who finds himself in the driving seat and events take an unexpected turn when he observes a suspicious meeting between SMERSH’s driver and a sinister Korean millionaire, Jai Seong Sin.
Soon Bond is pitched into an entirely different race with implications that could change the world. Thrown together with American agent, Jeopardy Lane, Bond uncovers a plan that will bring the West to its knees in a heart-stopping climax.
If you’re looking for a book that features a charismatic leading man, strong female characters and an evil villain, somewhat crazed villain I may add, then look no further than the latest James Bond to hit the shelves. Trigger Mortis, a sequel to Fleming’s Goldfinger, by Anthony Horowitz.
Apart from the title, I’m afraid I’m not a fan; the book is a great adventure. It reads at a frenetic pace, even during the scene setting moments. The idea for Trigger Mortis came from an original television manuscript written by Flemming to which Horowitz had the opportunity to read and run with. Set in the world of motor racing Horowitz immediately set about changing characters and adapting it to the storyline. Of all the chapters the racing at Nürburgring – south of Cologne in Germany – and the castle retreat were by far my favourite sections of the book. Totally immersive I really felt part of the adventure.
Bond isn’t Bond if he doesn’t have an evil counterpart and Trigger Mortis is no exception; enter Korean Jai Seung Sin otherwise known as Jason Sin. He really is an evil character and takes great delight in dishing out his very special brand of death utilising his personal playing cards. He doesn’t take failure well and reprimands are a thing of the past, someone fails him, they end up dead. He is a little unhinged and slightly unstable but I loved this about him!
Strong women are a feature of this book and Trigger Mortis introduces us to a new Bond girl in Jeopardy Lane and the return of the fabulous Pussy Galore. Both play their part well but Galore’s role is far to brief for my liking. Jeopardy on the other hand plays quite a hefty role and is instrumental to the outcome of the book, I’ll let you discover how when you read it!
Let’s face it, waking up in the morning to the smell of coffee, you walk into the kitchen to find the wonderful Pussy Galore waiting for you, how can you not like that vision?! I for one hope the Fleming estate will be asking Horowitz to pen another Bond adventure in the future, he seems to have hit the mark running.
- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: Orion (8 Sept. 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1409159132
- ISBN-13: 978-1409159131
When journalist Jake Wolsey stumbles upon a declassified file showing Winston Churchill’s interest in the ancient Etruscan civilisation his curiosity brings peril in its wake. He soon attracts the unlikely attention of alluring archaeologist Florence Chung – and that of MI6. As the two are pursued across Europe and Africa in search of the Etruscans’ sacred text, danger closes in and more questions than answers arise. Are there powers in the sky modern science has yet to understand? Could the ancients predict the future? And what really explains the rise of Rome, that of Nazi Germany, the ebb and flow of history itself? In a thrilling race against time and enemies known and unknown, Wolsey fears the very survival of the West may depend on his ability to stay one step ahead of his adversaries.
An enjoyable and entertaining read, this satisfies on most levels. If you’re looking for a little adventure, some action and a little Dan Brown thrown in for good measure then look no further than Foretold by Thunder, EM Davey’s debut novel.
The book moves along at a decent pace but I did find some of the Etruscan history hard to follow, and there’s quite a lot of it to follow, but then I know nothing about the religion, not that it’s necessary at all to enjoy this tale.
Jake Wolsey is an intriguing character and the main protagonist. I have to admit I found him a little wet at the beginning but by the end he’d won me over with a change in personality and attitude that wasn’t there at the beginning. Quite clever in fact, most protagonists stay the same throughout a novel but Wolsey definitely changed. He grew stronger, more confident, cut down on his alcohol intake and became a force to be reckoned with. He imparts his knowledge as the story progresses and by the end of the first book he appears to be somewhat of an expert in things Etruscan.
Although an entertaining storyline Jake’s character building is my favourite part of the book. He’s one of those characters you struggle to like or have a positive opinion on in the beginning but the author does a fantastic job of making his personality as important as the story itself.
There are a few twists and turns along the way and enough baddies to balance good and evil. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing where this story goes next. Great characterisation, an entertaining storyline and a book that’s very easy to read. A great debut.
- Paperback:320 pages
- Publisher:Gerald Duckworth & Co Ltd (2 July 2015)
Jack Reacher has no place to go, and all the time in the world to get there, so a remote railroad stop on the prairie with the curious name of Mother’s Rest seems perfect for an aimless one-day stopover.
He expects to find a lonely pioneer tombstone in a sea of nearly-ripe wheat … but instead there is a woman waiting for a missing colleague, a cryptic note about two hundred deaths, and a small town full of silent, watchful people.
Reacher’s one-day stopover becomes an open-ended quest…into the heart of darkness.
Make Me marks Jack Reacher’s 20th adventure and isn’t as relaxing as the location suggests, it’s anything but! The book in reality is no different to the previous 19 books Lee Child has penned, all devoted Reacher fans know that what lies within is a man on a mission to right the wrongs of those in a position to take advantage whatever the cost and reason, it’s almost always financial but will Mother’s Rest be any different?
I always find it fascinating that our action hero can find himself in these predicaments but without him and his past history this genre would definitely be the poorer without him, Reacher has helped shape the thriller genre and long may it and he continue.
Reacher is one of those guys everyone wants to have in their life, as a friend, not an enemy. When Reacher, intrigued by the name Mother’s Rest, leaves the train in the middle of nowhere on a whim he stumbles into a small town with a harrowing past, a town where everyone knows the deadly secrets but no one will admit to them or answer questions. Mother’s Rest is an insular town and as far as the locals are concerned long may it continue.
The big question is how can a small holding like this survive, Reacher strives to answer the questions and discover the truth about the missing private detective and former FBI agent. Drawn into the investigation and with no plans to stay for more than 24 hours, Reacher roams the town and countryside and soon discovers that things aren’t what they first appear. Armed with nothing but refilled coffee and diner food Reacher begins to do what he does best, kick ass!
The story moves along quickly and the partnership with former FBI agent Michelle Chang definitely promises longevity. They work well together and there’s something about the coupling that make both characters step outside their comfort zone and attack the investigation as a well-oiled unit. Not at first but slowly but surely their relationship gains momentum and the pair combine to make inroads into a past that begs to be uncovered.
It’s great to have Reacher back and within these pages there’s more than enough killing to satisfy the most ardent of critic, not too much, not too little, just about right. Definitely not a book to be compared to Goldilocks and the three bears but hopefully you get my point!!!
Make Me is a great read and is over, like most of Child’s books, quicker than Reacher can brush his teeth and drink his second cup of Joe – and that’s fast! But like his appetite to refill his coffee cup so is our desire as readers – and fans – to gorge on another adventure and I for one can’t see that changing anytime soon.
- Hardcover:432 pages
- Publisher:Bantam Press (10 Sept. 2015)
Evoking memories of Sanctus with underground tunnels, religious themes, sinister characters and a dark and unknown presence, Solomon Creed is another example of an author at the top of his game; the break has certainly done him good! Solomon Creed is a book that is both imaginative and entertaining on many levels, one of the elements that helps make this book work so well is the fact that you never truly know who Solomon Creed is. Is he good or bad? Is he hero or villain? So many questions remain, just as they did in the Sanctus trilogy and although the book ties up all the loose ends in this first adventure, it leaves the door open for the next book and certainly left me wanting more!
Simon Toyne gives us an insight into Creed’s personality, his past and the possibilities for his future (if he has a future) but we never truly understand what makes the man tick. The thing is, Solomon Creed doesn’t know who he is either and it’s his memory recall that makes him such a fascinating read. I’m not quite sure what it is about Solomon Creed but he’s such a likeable character, someone you’d expect to help those in need. He won’t take any messing mind and doesn’t suffer fools gladly but I could well imagine that if you needed him, he’d be there to help in any way possible.
Solomon knows about guns, he knows about detection and he has a seemingly inexhaustible knowledge on all manner of topics. One thing is for sure, Solomon Creed is an intelligent man and even though he doesn’t know what makes him tick, he unknowingly knows what makes others function and how to control most situations. As each hour passes Solomon Creed unravels a little more information locked away in his brain. It’s how he does it and how the information unravels that I enjoyed more than anything.
Solomon, according to the Hebrew Bible, built the first temple in Jerusalem and not only is he ascribed an infinite wisdom, born out in this novel, it is a remarkable coincidence, or maybe it’s not, that in this first book we are introduced to Jack Cassidy who built the first church in the middle of the desert in a town called Redemption.
The foundation of the story is the Cassidy clan and their hold on Redemption. Generations come and go and with the line in danger of eroding all hell breaks loose when a plane crashes out the outskirts of the town. Underhanded deals made to ensure the future of Redemption come to light and a power struggle ensues, a struggle that inevitably leads to murder and corruption. There’s very little downtime in the book and the read is both rapid and entertaining.
Characterisation is impressive and although Solomon’s personality and actions carry the book for the greater part there are a number of strong supporting characters that make the book that little bit stronger and balanced. In many ways Creed reminded me of Jack Reacher and his ability to help strangers and his ability to fix the seemingly impossible and that’s never a bad thing! There’s a good balance between good and bad and the character development is well paced and incredibly satisfying.
Dark, Super and Natural – to paraphrase Aristotle Creed is greater than the sum of his parts, and long may that continue!
- Hardcover: 480 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins (10 Sept. 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0007551355
- ISBN-13: 978-0007551354
Still mourning the death of his wife, private investigator Mark Novak accepts a case that may be his undoing. On same day his wife died, the body of a teenage girl was pulled from the extensive and perilous cave system beneath Southern Indiana. Now the man who rescued the girl, who was believed to be her killer, begs Novak uncover what really happened. The only problem is in small-town Midwest, cold cases stay cold.
Garrison is much like any place in America, proud and fortified against outsiders. So Mark is forced to delve beneath the town’s secrets, and more frighteningly match wits with the man who knows the caverns better than anyone. A man who seemed to lose his mind. A man who seems to know Mark Novak all too well.
The moment I read Michael Koryta’s So Cold The River I was hooked and I’m pleased to say that has never wavered, I’m not ashamed to say I’m a fan! A brilliant and intelligent author Koryta has this ability to grab you early on and never lets go until the final page ends and the book is closed, Last Words is another strong story and left me feeling similar thoughts after I’d finished So Cold The River. I didn’t want it to end but end it must.
You can’t help but have a myriad of emotions, Claustrophobia the principal one as Novak and Ridley, the book’s main characters, crawl in the confined and energy sapping cave system, known locally as Trapdoor. There were times I found myself shuddering at the atmospheric narrative, no more so than when Novak finds himself in the tightest of gaps unable to raise or lower his head for fear of hitting the top of his helmet or scraping his chin on the floor. You have a good feeling that things will turn out ok but there’s always that nagging feeling that things might not. I imagined myself crawling in the cold and wet and it frightened me, I’m not afraid to admit that! Sensational stuff.
Just like Trapdoor the book is alive to a plethora of options and the book appears to be along for the ride as much as the reader, often it felt like a living entity. With every chapter comes a revelation and you find yourself at the point of no return, there’s no going back until you come out at the other end when things are satisfactorily explained. That said Koryta leaves the door open on a few sub plots which leads me to the conclusion that things aren’t quite over for Markus Novak and his dearly departed wife. Let’s hope not anyway.
Characterisation is as strong as ever with Ridley Barnes and Markus Novak carrying the full weight of Last Words and Trapdoor. Barnes, accused of killing a young girl in the caves a decade earlier calls on Novak’s services to prove that he either did or didn’t kill the girl. The problem is he can’t remember. The pair are at loggerheads from the beginning and you never quite know if Barnes is guility or not. Stirring stuff!
If you’re looking for a psychological thriller that promises to keep you on the edge of your seat, wondering who is responsible and for what, then look no further. If you like that small adrenalin rush when reading claustrophobic passages then you’re in luck. Last Words delivers on both accounts.
- Hardcover:448 pages
- Publisher:Little Brown and Company (18 Aug. 2015)
- ISBN-10:0316122637 ISBN-13: 978-0316122634
Why would a man escape from prison the day before he’s due to be released?
Audie Palmer has spent a decade in prison for an armed robbery in which four people died, including two of the gang. Seven million dollars has never been recovered and everybody believes that Audie knows where the money is.
For ten years he has been beaten, stabbed, throttled and threatened almost daily by prison guards, inmates and criminal gangs, who all want to answer this same question, but suddenly Audie vanishes, the day before he’s due to be released.
Everybody wants to find Audie, but he’s not running. Instead he’s trying to save a life . . . and not just his own.
Life or death is an utterly compelling and gripping read from start to finish and in Audie Palmer we have a character who is both fascinating and determined. Escaping from prison with one day left on his sentence sounds crazy to most people, what difference would 24 hours make – apparently a hell of a lot according to Audie. No one can understand his reasoning and we as readers can’t fathom his decision making as we initially do not hold the clues and know his reasoning.
Slowly but surely we delve deeper into Audie’s character and his past relationships and history and things begin to make sense, but the clever thing here is that Robotham doesn’t give the game away too early. You’re still guessing up to the end but piece by piece things begin to make sense and the complex web of lies and cover-ups are broken thanks to Audie’s dogged approach and FBI agent Desiree’s determination to discover the hidden truth. In fact the pair, although on opposite sides of the law are so well matched and even though she’s taken off the case she doesn’t let things go.
Full of wonderful characters the book is an engrossing read and I defy anyone not to read this quickly. It’s a real page turner if ever there was one. There’s no getting away from it, Audie is the main draw here, I for one experienced a range of emotions reading his story. I didn’t want the book to end!
Terrifically written Life or Death is one book you have to read in 2015!
Robotham just gets better and better.
- Paperback:528 pages
- Publisher:Sphere (16 July 2015)
What’s the worst thing your best friend could do to you?
Admittedly, it wasn’t murder. A moment’s carelessness, a tragic accident – and two children are dead. Yours.
Living in a small island community, you can’t escape the woman who destroyed your life. Each chance encounter is an agonizing reminder of what you’ve lost – your family, your future, your sanity.
How long before revenge becomes irresistible?
With no reason to go on living, why shouldn’t you turn your darkest thoughts into deeds?
So now, what’s the worst thing you can do to your best friend?
Sharon Bolton is back with a bang with her second standalone thriller Little Black Lies, set in the Falklands during the John Major government, the book is as atmospherically haunting as you could ever imagine. This is writing at its very best.
It’s almost unimaginable that any writer could surpass her earlier work given that they are – as far as I’m concerned – at the top of their game but in Little Black Lies Sharon Bolton proves beyond doubt that you certainly can improve on perfection. A veritable tour de force, if I was stranded on a desert island and I could only take one book for company, I’d be gluttonous and kidnap the author so she could write more in seclusion but only I’d have the opportunity to read it! It’s never going to happen she’ll be glad to hear but of all the authors I’ve read over the last few years I can only think of one, maybe two, authors I’d hold in the same regard.
Told in three parts by three different narrators, each with their own distinctive style, the book follows Catrin, a woman struggling to come to terms with losing her three children and life on an island where secrets are a luxury and certainly not a given. In this first part the narrative is among the best I’ve ever had the pleasure to read, incredibly dark and not in the least uplifting this will leave an indelible mark. I was completely blown away by a character who has little to smile about and no desire to improve, it appears she’s given up all hope and given up on life.
The book moves along at a good pace with a flowing and well thought out narrative and the ending is both unexpected and emotional, it really takes you through a range of emotions and you never quite know the end result, Sharon Bolton has perfected this art over the years and you learn to go with the flow and see where it takes you!
I should also take time to mention another key aspect of this book and without it, the book wouldn’t work – The Falkland Islands. I’ve never given the Islands a thought in recent years but this book really gives a flavour of what life and the communities could be like, I just hope communication has improved in recent years and modems are a thing of the past! If you are interested in visiting then it will cost you £1200 by air, fortunately John Major isn’t is no longer in charge so things have progressed somewhat!!!
If this book doesn’t win any awards I’ll eat my hat and my kilt, unlike Lord Ashdown and Alastair Campbell in the recent general election who both refused, we certainly won’t need an exit poll to know this will be a bestseller – a little political commentary to bring this review to its natural conclusion! Go out and buy it, this is the closest many of us will get to the Falkland Islands!
• Hardcover: 400 pages
• Publisher: Bantam Press (2 July 2015)
• Language: English
• ISBN-10: 059306920X
• ISBN-13: 978-0593069202
Broken, but undeterred, private detective Charlie Parker faces the darkest of dark forces in a case with its roots in the second world war, and a concentration camp unlike any other . . .
Recovering from a near-fatal shooting and tormented by memories of a world beyond this one, Parker has retreated to the small Maine town of Boreas to recover. There he befriends a widow named Ruth Winter and her young daughter, Amanda. But Ruth has her secrets. She is hiding from the past, and the forces that threaten her have their origins in the Second World War, in a town called Lubko and a concentration camp unlike any other. Old atrocities are about to be unearthed, and old sinners will kill to hide their sins. Now Parker is about to risk his life to defend a woman he barely knows, one who fears him almost as much as she fears those who are coming for her.
His enemies believe him to be vulnerable. Fearful. Solitary.
But they are wrong. Parker is far from afraid, and far from alone.
For something is emerging from the shadows . . .
Charlie Parker is back for another adventure but this time things are very very different. As we’ve already seen (above), Charlie is recovering after being shot to pieces and to put it mildly, the private investigator is a little fragile. In A Song of Shadows it’s very much a case of two steps forward and one step back in his recovery. In a lot of pain and discomfort Charlie moves to the relative safety of small town Boreas to reenergise but as with all of John Connolly’s books, things don’t quite go to plan – fortunately for us!
When I read The Wolf in Winter last year I remember being blown away by Connolly’s overall characterisation but it was one character – a homeless man named Jude – that held me captive throughout, even though he was only in the book momentarily. If you haven’t read it then please do, hopefully you’ll take out of it as much as I did, it’s well worth a read.
This time around it wasn’t so much a character that held my attention but the poignant back story of the Holocaust, Nazi supremacy and concentration camps. Stirring stuff, the amount of research that must have gone into this book is mind-blowing, but one thing I can guarantee, it will make you think about the past.
I presented a radio documentary for the BBC in the second half of last year on the Holocaust and children affected by the depravity and interviewing survivors as I did, this book reopened many of those feelings and for me the book is quite an emotive read.
The first half of the book sets the scene with a terrific and free flowing narrative all the while laying a solid foundation for events covered in the second half of the book. There are numerous storylines floating around and it is a complex read, you certainly need your wits about you but one thing Connolly never fails to do is tie up all the loose ends and leave you wanting more when the final page has been read. He’s also quite adept at throwing in the odd red herring and surprise or two along the way.
One thing Connolly does well is balance the book with some well needed humour, Louis and Angel brought me to tears on many an occasion. I couldn’t help but smile each time they appeared and the partnership never fails to entertain and impress, they are without question a terrific duo.
So there we have it, yet another superb read from John Connolly. Haunting and emotive in parts yet humorous and thrilling in others. A well thought out storyline, Charlie Parker can do no wrong and neither it seems can his creator! Bravo!
- Hardcover:448 pages
- Publisher:Hodder & Stoughton (9 April 2015)
Military CID investigator John Puller has returned from his latest case to learn that his brother, Robert, once a major in the United States Air Force and an expert in nuclear weaponry and cyber-security, has escaped from the Army’s most secure prison. Preliminary investigations show that Robert – convicted of treason – may have had help in his breakout. Now he’s on the run, and he’s the military’s number one target.
John Puller has a dilemma. Which comes first: loyalty to his country, or to his brother? Blood is thicker than water, but Robert has state secrets which certain people will kill for. John does not know for sure the true nature of Robert’s crimes, nor if he’s even guilty. It quickly becomes clear, however, that his brother’s responsibilities were powerful and far-reaching.
With the help of US intelligence officer Veronica Knox, both brothers move closer to the truth from their opposing directions. As the case begins to force John Puller into a place he thought he’d never be – on the other side of the law – even his skills as an investigator, and his strength as a warrior, might not be enough to save him. Or his brother.
I’ve always enjoyed reading David Baldacci’s novels holding both the author and the books in high regard but with The Escape, I think the author has cranked up the gears and delivered a highly polished and energetic thriller. It’s probably my favourite of his books and even though it serves as my introduction to John Puller not once did I feel a distance with him after missing his previous adventures. What it did do was peak my interest and I now want to read the two earlier Puller novels.
Sure there’s a backstory and history involved and although it would have probably made this book a more enjoyable one had I known more about Puller’s history it never detracted from what is a brilliant thriller.
With spellbinding characters – I didn’t want to put the book down once – and a narrative that is so typically Baldacci the book flows effortlessly from start to finish. Puller is a wonderful character and Baldacci really gives his protagonist the air time to suck the reader into his world. I felt for him, his brother and his father, something I hadn’t anticipated when I picked up the book. His nemesis is highly intelligent and is a very worthy opponent, the author doing a splendid job of making me dislike the character immensely!
With enough twists and turns to satisfy the most ardent of critic – seriously you never know what’s coming around the corner – and an emotionally charged ending, I admit to having a lump or two in my throat, this books satisfies on so many levels. Give it a go, you won’t be sorry and if this is the first time you’ve picked up a David Baldacci novel then one thing I can assure you, you’re in for a treat.
Wonderful writing, superb characters and a plot that keeps on giving, The Escape is one book not to be missed in this or any other year! I can’t recommend this highly enough.
- Hardcover:400 pages
- Publisher:Macmillan (20 Nov 2014)
- Product Dimensions: 3 x 3.9 x 23.4 cm
In the LAPD’s Open-Unsolved Unit, not many murder victims die almost a decade after the crime. So when a man succumbs to complications from being shot by a stray bullet ten years earlier, Bosch catches a case in which the body is still fresh, but any other evidence is virtually non-existent.
Now Bosch and his new partner, rookie Detective Lucia Soto, are tasked with solving what turns out to be a highly charged, politically sensitive case. Starting with the bullet that’s been lodged for years in the victim’s spine, they must pull new leads from years-old information, which soon reveals that this shooting may have been anything but random.
There’s very little to say about Michael Connelly or his protagonist Harry Bosch. Both are at the top of their game, however, in The Burning Room we are faced with a protagonist who is nearing the end of his career.
Teamed with a new partner in “Lucky” Lucy Soto, Harry has to tread carefully and avoid confrontation or risk his end of career pension. It’s a delicate balancing act but this doesn’t appear to stop our hero and slowly but surely Harry takes Soto under his wing and teaches her how to best approach cases, old and new.
One cold case blends into another and before they know it the two detectives are investigating two high profile cases, one of which has a personal and deeply emotional tie to Lucy Soto and one which will have political ramifications if solved.
The narrative is strong, compact and highly engaging and the characters are colourful and well thought out and with a multi layered plot the book is incredibly easy to read allowing for a rapid development throughout. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and certainly hope that this isn’t the end of the Bosch series, he certainly deserves another outing!
With a final chapter that allows the reader to experience a range of emotions The Burning Room is a must read and deserves all the plaudits the book will inevitably receive.
- Hardcover:400 pages
- Publisher:Orion (6 Nov 2014)
- Product Dimensions: 8 x 3.6 x 24 cm