With “The Other Typist” Suzanne Rindell has achieved a number of things, all of which add up to make this one of the best novels I have had the pleasure of reading this year. Set in 1920′s America, during the time of Prohibition, it follows the story of Rose, a Police typist, and her blossoming friendship with the newest girl to join the typing pool, Odalie. Their days spent typing up the confessions of criminals, their nights spent in quite a different fashion, we follow the girls over the full course of their friendship from the day they meet. Neither are quite as they appear however, and you will quickly become immersed into their world and you won’t come up for air until you are sure there is no more left to know. Told entirely from the point of view of Rose, you trace their friendship from first meeting to where it all goes, well frankly, a bit pear shaped.
Ms Rindell’s sense of place is fantastic – the best I’ve seen in a long time. An evocative time, when women were just beginning to come into their own in a world that was very much coming to terms with itself, you can almost smell the smells and see the sights right there along with our protagonist.
The writing is witty and clever – Rose is a bit of a prude, and her opinions on how “young ladies” should conduct themselves are at times laugh out loud funny – several times I found myself re-reading certain portions with great amusement – and the excellent prose serves the story well.
Odalie is one of those characters you are unlikely to ever forget (Anyone who has read Erin Kelly’s fantastic “The Poison Tree” and remembers how Biba made you feel will know exactly what I am talking about) and she and Rose are pretty much polar opposites – hence really why the whole thing works so well.
Peppered with supporting characters who are all intrical to the plot and extremely well drawn (I would kind of like to meet the Detective Sergeant) you are swept along on a tidal wave of storytelling until you emerge breathless the other side. If you only read one book this year – read this one. **This review from “Goodreads” First Read” thanks to Penguin Books.
I absolutely adored Ms Kelly’s first novel “The Poison Tree” so I did approach this with some trepidation. However by three chapters in I knew I had nothing to worry about. The story sucked me in, and I completed the book in under a day. The synopsis available (see below) is all the plot detail you need to decide if this novel interests you, so I won’t go into any more detail because I think that the less knowledge you have about where this is all going, the better for your enjoyment. However, I will say this – about half way through the book, the author pulled the rug out from under me, with a superb twist in the tale that I really did not see coming. From then on it was a breathless rush to the finish to see how the heck it was all going to turn out. So Thank you Erin Kelly – Quite Brilliant.
Synopsis:Of course it was love for my children, love for my son, that caused me to act as I did. It was a lapse of judgement. If I could have foreseen the rippling aftershocks that followed I would have acted differently, but by the time I realised the extent of the consequences, it was too late. The MacBrides have always gone to Far Barn in Devon for Bonfire Night, but this year everything is different. Lydia, the matriarch, is dead; Sophie, the eldest daughter, is desperately trying to repair a crumbling marriage; and Felix, the youngest of the family, has brought a girlfriend with him for the first time. The girl, Kerry, seems odd in a way nobody can quite put their finger on – but when they leave her looking after Sophie’s baby daughter, and return to find both Kerry and the baby gone, they are forced to ask themselves if they have allowed a cuckoo into their nest . . .
The main character of this novel was someone I recognised to a certain degree..she was me! Busy mum, often forgetting the little things, sometimes forgetting quite big things, you know the feeling if you are a parent – the school trip you didnt sign the form for, the time you forgot you were supposed to pick them up at 2 and not 3 – we all have parenting faux pas without any real harm occurring. What if that wasnt the case though – what if just once, your mind wandered, and your friends daughter who was in your care, vanished. That is the heart aching problem that faces our heroine – Publicly blamed and ashamed she sets off on a journey to discover the truth and therein lies the plot for this terrifically written novel. A beautifully twisted tale, involving real life problems and concerns, and examining how well we really know the people around us, I was quickly absorbed into the heart of this community and quickly turning pages to discover what was going on. I detested at least two of the characters – nicely done to the author. Others I felt fiercely protective of, a sign of a great character novel. I didnt work out the truth – I was off on a completely different tangent – and I love it when that happens. Highly enjoyable I look forward to more from this author.
Darn I didnt want this book to end. I would happily have read on into eternity and an eternal tale is exactly what you will get if you have the good sense to pick up a copy of this book. A huge thanks to the lovely lasses at Harper Collins for the early copy – it means I have had the honour of being amongst the first to read it, and when the rest of the world gets in on the act very shortly, trust me its going to be huge. The back of the book tells me “A Killer who shouldnt exist, A girl who shouldnt have lived, A Thriller that breaks all the boundaries”. Well, yes. But don’t let the “Thriller” tag give you preconceptions – it is thrilling, but trying to put this novel in a genre box is like trying to explain to people why you love your children. The words will come out of your mouth but you are never going to get the sentiment across. ANY reader worth his or her salt will love this book – it transcends genre and just sits happily where it is. A classic in the making.
Harper Curtis is a very bad man. And through a twist of fate he is able to carry out his nefarious acts across history – he is compelled to seek them out, his “Shining Girls”, the ones who must die, the ones he feels in his soul. And die they do. Until Kirby. She lives. And so begins a chase across the decades, a search for the truth that may undo both of them.
The timeslips are brilliantly done. Each chapter in its own space, each period of History cleverly described and researched, you follow Kirby and Harper, The Shining Girls and interconnected characters, over many years and many encounters…until the final resolution, which does not disappoint. Despite the decade hopping you are never lost – often the author will let you know whats coming, sometimes what has come before. You will always know where you are but be aware peripherally that everything can change in an instant. The characters you find within the pages will touch your heart – and if you don’t start looking over your shoulder in case Harper should appear, suddenly made flesh by your reading of him, I’d be very surprised. Or perhaps thats just me! Still, I loved this book. If your passion for reading matches mine, you will too. **this review from competition copy***
Once again I found myself diving into a “second in series” book by an author I was already extremely fond of. The first book in the “Carrigan and Miller” series, A Dark Redemption, was excellent and I was not far into this one before I realised that, if anything, it was even better. This time we find our protagonists investigating arson at a convent in which eleven nuns die…except there were only ten nuns in residence. With Eleven days to go until Christmas, the powers that be are keen for a resolution to this case… So begins a mystery that is deeper than it first appears and takes us on a journey across time and continents until the final,very jaw dropping (in the best way possible – I didnt see it coming and there was I thinking I was clever…) solution. Once again Mr Sherez creates characters you can believe in. Both Carrigan and Miller grow in stature and the supporting cast are all important to the story and well drawn. The background, of evil acts in South America, The Shining Path and all the political shenanigans is brilliant – extremely realistic, I imagine that a fair bit of research was involved in making it authentic. Its also a terrific social comment on what may be happening in our own back yard that we all turn a blind eye to – some of the story was very emotive and isnt it great when a book can make you feel something as well as entertain you? I have to say I was pleased to be reading this on the Kindle – I’m fairly sure I would be covered in paper cuts by now otherwise in my eagerness to turn pages…so all in all a great sequel, a great book and if you havent met up with Carrigan and Millar before, head back towards a Dark Redemption and I’m fairly sure it will then be less than Eleven Days before you are reading Eleven Days. Wonderful.
A more beautiful looking book you would be hard put to find out there in the literary world at the moment – the cover art is stunning and it immediately entices you to dive right in. A brilliantly woven tale, “Mayhem” is set during the time of Jack the Ripper, but concerns a completely different set of murders. When a rotting torso is found in the vault of New Scotland Yard, we meet Dr Thomas Bond, Police Surgeon, drafted in to investigate from a medical standpoint, who quickly realises that something sinister is occurring. Eventually becoming obsessed with tracking down this killer, we follow Dr Bond on his foray into the seedier side of London and into darkness. I have to tell you – I fell madly in love with this book very early on and pretty much read it in a day..something I regret somewhat now as I’m very sad to see it done. Ms Pinborough has used real people and real events and then twisted them into a macabre and enthralling tale, with a supernatural twist and some absolutely stunning scene setting. Other real characters grace the story with their presence and each one is terrifically imagined – I wouldnt be at all surprised if the author has the personalities spot on, but I guess we’ll never know! The ongoing investigation into the Ripper killings sits nicely alongside our story – some of the characters are involved in both cases- and this adds to the ambience and addiction that this novel brings. Atmospheric and at times very scary, writing this review I am actually tempted to look over my shoulder at what might be lurking there..but perhaps I won’t. Just in case. Shiver.