All books on this page from the amazing Legend Press who have yet to publish a book I didnt like…Some novels reviewed here are purchases, some are ARC’s and review copies via the publisher.
Publication Date: Available Now
Marion Zetland lives with her domineering older brother, John in a decaying Georgian townhouse on the edge of a northern seaside resort. A timid spinster in her fifties who still sleeps with teddy bears, Marion does her best to shut out the shocking secret that John keeps in the cellar.
Until, suddenly, John has a heart attack and Marion is forced to go down to the cellar herself and face the gruesome truth that her brother has kept hidden.
As questions are asked and secrets unravel, maybe John isn’t the only one with a dark side.
This is a beautifully written, highly disturbing and incredibly edgy debut, one of those that leaves you with a murky feeling right down in the depths of your stomach. Don’t be fooled into thinking you’ll get a standard psychological thriller, or a horror story, or a crime novel because whilst The Visitors could be described peripherally as all of those things, it is in fact not really any of them. Or wasn’t to me at least.
Catherine Burns has written an extremely compelling and genuinely unpredictable character study as we meet Marion, in her 50’s, downtrodden and overlooked by the world, her own mother feeding her insecurities both before and after death, who lives with a domineering, overbearing elder brother. Her love for John is one of the most disturbing aspects within the majority of this story – especially as it becomes clear early on just what it is that lurks down in that cellar. Marion for me was a character who garnered both sympathy and random anger as she struggles to find anything in herself to love and relies almost entirely on John for any kind of human contact.
Most of the book flows gently yet achingly horrifically forward as Marion begins slowly but surely to see exactly who she is, who she has become and who she could be. It is often a difficult read, certainly a visceral one, Catherine Burns brings the decaying house, the out of the corner of your eye cellar and Marion herself to disquieting, disconcerting life. An inciting event changes everything and Marion’s eventual awakening is chilling and surprisingly impacting.
Overall a really excellent debut. Go in with no expectations and just let this one wash over you. I have not doubt that it will engage you emotionally, whether you come out of the other side loving it or not.
You can Purchase The Visitors HERE
Publication Date: 1st February 2017
Reeling from a brutal attack that leaves her best friend dead and her badly injured, Lisa Fulbrook flees to the countryside to recuperate. With only vague memories of the event, she isolates herself from her friends and family, content to spend her days wandering the hills with her dog, Riley.
However, Lisa is soon plagued, not only by vivid flashbacks, but questions, too: how did their assailant know them? Why were they attacked? And what really happened that night?
As she desperately tries to piece together the memories, Lisa realises that there’s another truth still hidden to her, a truth she can’t escape from. A truth that may have been right in front of her all along.
This one was great.
I’d caution against the tagline. It was a page turner absolutely but it is more psychological drama than thriller. It is more considered than that, in my opinion more grounded in reality than your usual read in this genre – For me “Dare to Remember” was a journey through trauma, a tale of one woman’s fight back from a life changing, life haunting event that has a hugely authentic feel and an emotionally coherent heart to it.
That is not to say that there is not a mystery element, or that there are no surprises, you get that too – but quietly and beautifully – Lisa knows there are things she needs to remember and that is where the twists come. What I loved about Dare to Remember was the fact that the resolution had its roots in the entirety of what had come before, Susanna Beard leads you to that moment, which when it comes is also quiet yet speaks volumes.
We see Lisa hide away, we see her start to emerge – we see the people around her who help her to come back to herself, we see the huge steps forward and the very realistic setbacks. Survivors guilt, distrust, panic, irrational deep set fear, Lisa goes through it all but also finds solace in unexpected places.
So we are back to this one was great.
You can purchase Dare to Remember HERE
Publication Date: 3rd October 2016
Source: Review Copy
Forensic psychiatrist Natalie King works with victims and perpetrators of violent crime. She rides a Ducati a size too big and wears a tank top a size too small. Likes men but doesn’t want to keep one. And really needs to stay on her medication.
Now she’s being stalked. Could it be a hostile former patient? Or someone connected with a current case?
Natalie doesn’t know. And with another missing child case on her desk, the time for answers is running out.
Medea’s Curse was a tough read in places due to the subject matter – infanticide and chld abuse – but was none the less compelling for that and Anne Buist has somehow managed to speak to the issues in a sensitive way whilst also writing an often edge of the seat psychological thriller.
In Natalie King, Forensic psychiatrist, the author has created a really cool yet intriguing main protagonist who takes you on this journey through the darker side of human nature with panache and a strange vulnerability. Not entirely mentally healthy herself, Natalie with her biker attitude yet empathic qualities makes you stay with her all the way even when her behaviour is perhaps exasperating.
As to the intricate and well defined plot, this is emotionally charged and often fraught but with some terrific insights into the causes and personalities that drive women that kill their children. On top of that it is a page turner – the mystery element is well defined and not easily unravelled, which keeps things interesting whilst also being extraordinarily thought provoking.
I liked the mix of investigative and medical themes, the psychological insight and the fact that you are never sure where this will all end up. The character arcs are interwoven brilliantly, Natalie is set up to continue which I am extraordinarily happy about and if Anne Buist can keep up this level of authenticity and quality writing she’s just found a reader for life.
You can purchase Medea’s Curse HERE
Publication Date: 1st June
Following an argument with her British boyfriend, Chinese student Min Li is abducted whilst walking the dark streets of picturesque Stratford-upon-Avon alone.
Trapped in a dark pit, Min is at the mercy of her captor. Detective Inspector Will Jackman is tasked with solving the case and in his search for answers discovers that the truth is buried deeper than he ever expected.
But, as another student vanishes and Min grows ever weaker, time is running out. Can Jackman track down the kidnapper, before it’s too late?
Really excellent crime thriller again from Jane Isaac, this time bringing us a new main protagonist (Will Jackman whom I adored) and with a heart and soul for the story provided by a victim of kidnap – Min Li, whose musings whilst trapped in a dark pit, not knowing if rescue is coming, gives a beautifully crafted edge to the whole thing that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
There are a lot of strengths to this story – Will’s background and motivations are intriguing and without cliche – a really well drawn character who grounds the story and gives it focus. Then there is Min Li who you will root for all the way as she reflects on her life, her home and her future, realising it is entirely possible she won’t have one. It is emotive and addictive and absolutely gripping.
The story flows magnificently, the investigation interspersed with Min Li and her situation, it twists and turns its way to an excellent and heart stopping finale, where it really is not clear until revealed what the final outcome will be – truly heart stopping at times.
Crime fiction being such a hugely popular genre it is easy for the good ones to get a little lost in the rush – so much choice to be had – but I would highly recommend you give this author a go if you have not already – for me she represents the very best in emerging UK crime fiction and is definitely one to watch.
Publication Date: Available now
Review by Storm
Here we have the story of the tragically unfortunate Sarah Phillips – suffering severe amnesia after surviving the car accident that killed her father and sister; and Sarah’s apparent stalker Ellie Wilson – who can only wish that she had the ‘pleasure’ of amnesia such as Sarah’s.
‘To the Edge of Shadows’ was a ‘one-sitting’ book for me. After reading the very first paragraph I just knew that no matter what the story delivered, I would like this book, even if only based on Graham’s stunning use of language and truly in-depth depiction of experience. Graham’s portrayal of Sarah’s mindfulness whilst waking from a coma was truly insightful – I have absolutely no idea if that’s how it feels… But I’m now convinced it surely must be!
Some may argue that some parts are a little overly descriptive, however I found these intense parts to be sublimely indulgent.
Kudos also to the author for her very believable take on the development of such conditions as obsessive compulsive disorder and agoraphobia among other mental health issues.
So as well as being immediately drawn in by the writing within this book, I also very quickly found myself becoming more and more intrigued with the story of Ellie. She was clearly no random, off the rack stalker. There was more to this and it was imperative that I learned what. And so my brain went into its usual early-analysis mode where I always try to pre-empt what is going on and why. Hmm… one theory fleetingly passed through my mind, but was dismissed before I got to the end of a page, never to be pondered again; the next theory didn’t quite fit in chronologically but still seemed the most obvious – I know, I’m terrible, I just cant help it! Of course I cant possibly say more than that , except that as it happens – well it turned out I had dismissed the correct theory after all! Don’t worry Columbo, your mac is still yours!
Each of the main characters had real depth and substance – I’m sure that sounds ridiculously pretentious and I in no way mean that they were ‘deep’ as people – but the contrast that was set between the inner demons that Sarah struggled with on a daily basis, and the external demons that Ellie was so desperately trying to escape and leave firmly in her past, worked so well to harshly, yet beautifully, expose these two girls and all their innermost thoughts. I must admit that when we are listening to their 8 year old or 14 year old narratives – that they seem a little more emotionally mature and articulate that I would expect, but I’m really nitpicking here.
When I enjoy a story such as this I always find myself worrying about the ending before I’m anywhere near it. Will it be dramatic? Will there be closure? Will it leave you with more questions than you started with? Luckily in this instance I did not feel let down. Sure there was no ‘all guns blazing’ showdown, and you are left with only the hope that things would work out for all those concerned , but I found myself surprisingly satisfied with the conclusion.
Essentially this is a fantastic read. I couldn’t put it down – and I can be so very hard to please!
My thanks to Legend Press for providing this book for review
Review by Melissa Barnsley
Publication Date: Available Now.
Xing Li is what some Chinese people call a banana – yellow on the outside and white on the inside. Although born and raised in London, she never feels like she fits in. When her mother dies, she moves with her older brother to live with venomous Grandma, strange Uncle Ho and Hollywood actress Auntie Mei. Her only friend is Jay – a mixed raced Jamaican boy with a passion for classical music.
The Life of a Banana is a deeply moving, funny and fascinating insight into the life of a British-Chinese teenager, Xing Li.
Having lived in China for a short while myself I found this book particularly interesting; during my time in China I found that a lot of Chinese nationals yearn to start a new life in Britain or America, and many of them see the freedom of our countries as preferable to the often oppressive Chinese traditions and laws. However, I’ve never looked at it from the other side – do Chinese people who move to, or are born in Britain really experience this freedom and happiness? It really pains me to say this, because I consider myself a very open minded and accepting person, but until I read this book I had never considered the implications of coming from an ethnic minority but not feeling like a fully formed member of that culture.
Of course, I realise how difficult it is for foreigners living in England – unfortunately racism still runs rife throughout the country, especially around the inner city areas which provide the setting of this excellent novel. I have never really thought about the fact that not all people who look Chinese can necessarily speak Chinese – I knew it was a fact, but had never thought about how it might feel to be one of those people.
I’ve always understood that somebody who looks different to me can still be just as British as I am (I’m a painfully typical blonde-haired blue-eyed white girl) yet I can’t imagine how it must feel to be rejected by your own nationality and have nowhere to turn. ‘The Life of a Banana’ challenges preconceptions, breaks down barriers and tackles the widespread racism against British-Chinese head on. The comic and quirky writing style of the teenage protagonist provides a beautiful contrast to the dark, difficult situations that she finds herself in, and all the characters are written with such depth you will find that you care for each and every one.
This is a stunning debut novel, which will no doubt resonate with people in a similar situation to Xing Li, and open the eyes of those who are not.
Publication Date: Available Now.
It’s the summer of 1984 and there is a sense of unease on the troubled Sweetmeadows estate. The residents are in shock after the suspicious death of a baby and tension is growing due to the ongoing miners’ strike. Journalist Clare Jackson follows the story as police botch the inquiry and struggle to contain the escalating violence. Haunted by a personal trauma she can’t face up to, Clare is shadowed by nine-year-old Amy, a bright but neglected little girl who seems to know more about the incident than she’s letting on. As the days go on and the killer is not found, Clare ignores warnings not to get too close to her stories and in doing so, puts her own life in jeopardy.
The second novel I have read from this author and this was a beautifully written, evocative of the times and compelling mystery story with some great characters and an excellent flow to it – I read it basically in one sitting, and very much enjoyed it.
Clare Jackson is a fascinating character – told from her point of view, with her background and attitude informing her decision making, this was an often haunting tale set against the backdrop of the Miners Strike with all the emotion and fervor of that time popping off the page and giving the whole thing a distinctly realistic feel.
The political turmoil of the times lends itself well to the story being told – a time before mobile phones and 24/7 access to everything, it is absolutely fascinating to read a crime story from this era and Bea Davenport has captured the sense of it perfectly. The relationship between Clare and 9 year old Amy is one of the best things at the heart of it and all the characters are well drawn and authentic. I did work out the ultimate resolution but really for me, this was less about solving a crime and more about reliving a period in History that I remember quite well, being around 16 at the time and just starting to take an interest in the wider world around me when it came to the big events of that era.
Really very very good indeed. Highly Recommended.
Happy Reading Folks!
Publication Date: Available now
They stared at each other, and Maggie felt the tightness in her middle expand as it shifted, burning its way up… Painful sobs rose from her throat as Colin, his face expressionless now, reached for his mobile and dialled 999. When three-year-old Olivia disappears, her parents are overwhelmed with grief. Weeks go by and Olivia’s mother refuses to leave the cottage, staring out at the turbulent sea and praying it didn’t claim her precious daughter’s life. Not far away, another mother watches proudly as her daughter starts school. Jennifer has loved Hailey for five years, but the child is suddenly moody and difficult, and there’s a niggling worry of doubt that Jennifer cannot shake off.
An extremely emotional read this one, so evocative and very very haunting dealing as it does with the loss of a child and the far reaching consequences that this can have on a family. As well as being beautifully written, it is very memorable and one that will stay with me for a long time.
A momentary lapse of attention during a day at the beach and Olivia is lost. Her parents Maggie and Colin pray, but it seems as if she has been taken by the cold cold sea – although Maggie refuses to leave their cottage, holding onto hope, Colin understands that they have to move on. Not far away from Maggie, we find Jennifer, pregnant and alone while her husband is away in the US, she is struggling to cope with her 5 year old daughter as she starts school. Hailey is becoming unmanageable and Jennifer cannot quite put her finger on the problem…
Perfectly paced and with great psychological insight, this is an intriguing and graceful story with a dark heart and great resonance to the writing that holds you in place throughout. My sympathy ebbed and flowed with each passing chapter, I was at turns horrified and captivated, often surprised by the reactions of some of the exquisitely drawn characters. My favourite being Hailey’s schoolteacher, so involved and caring in her work, one would hope that all our children could be taught by someone like her.
Overall a wonderful read, heart stopping and heart warming in equal measure and one that comes highly recommended from me.
Happy Reading Folks!
Publication Date: Available Now
“That was the day that Mama made the rules: If they come, run. Be quiet and run. But not together. Never together. If one is found, at least the other survives….”
During a cold, British winter, three women reach crisis point. Emily, an immigrant survivor of the Rwandan genocide is existing but not living. Vera, a newly Christian Londoner is striving to live a moral life, her happiness constantly undermined by secrets from her past. Lynn, battling with an untimely disease, is consumed by bitterness and resentment of what she hasn’t achieved and what has been snatched from her.
After Before was an interesting read for me, one that I went into blind and ended up thinking was really great – multi layered, emotional and with some truly remarkable characters that kept me right in the story throughout.
The story is based around three women and is a character driven, heartfelt novel that explores many themes and is a very profound read that will have you thinking about it long after you are done. Lynn, now suffering from terminal cancer is regretful of missed opportunities. Her son’s fiancee Vera is hiding a dark secret – to tell might mean losing everything. Emily is a survivor of the Rwandan genocide – and for me the character that resonated over and above all others. These amazing ladies are at the very centre of this tale as we discover how they cope and live with their circumstances.
There is a strong religious element running throughout that may not be for everyone – for me, possibly the least religious person on the planet – it added an element of fascination and depth that gave me pause for thought on a few issues and made for some intriguing layers to an already poignant story.
Generally though, I think what made this one so touching were the parts dealing with Emily and the genocide – the after/before, we see snapshots of Emily’s happy childhood interspersed with what came later and it brought the reality of that terrible time into stark reality. Admittedly I don’t know a lot of the background, but I often had a tear in my eye while reading some of the passages.
Gracefully written with some exquisite prose and a real feeling for characterisation, this is one of those books that can speak to the reader on a very fundamental level, and I’m fairly sure one that will divide opinion. You are going to love it. Or not. I thought it was superb and I am very pleased that I read it – not a novel that I would have picked up on my own so a huge thank you to Legend Press for sending me this for review.
Happy Reading Folks!
Publication Date: May 1st 2014
A who did what to who and why. A teacher is in for the chop. An ex pupil with psychotic tendencies wants answers. A one legged soldier home from war has revenge in his heart. Tension is rising as a diverse set of people struggle to live side-by-side in a small town. A sparky and quirky tale that will leave you questioning the influence of teachers and the value of a fake leg.
Well, what a brilliant little book! Why? No idea. I only really know that I could not stop reading it for the life of me. As far as addiction goes this one got me fair and square.
We meet an eclectic cast of characters – Jim who has recently split up from his wife at her instigation, his son, the ex-wife a local teacher, along with various people who are in and around their lives. It is basically a snapshot of what goes on, with the author using a multi -stranded viewpoint and the thoughts and feelings of his characters to weave a spiders web of a tale that moves inexorably towards an unseen conclusion.
It is kind of gentle. It is kind of dark. There is a definite wry eye towards the ironic here…and some imaginative prose that brings the characters to life before your eyes. Strange yet wonderful, there is absolutely nothing I can say that will describe this one perfectly. It just is.
I will look at those teaching my children in a different way now. I will wonder what lies below the surface of the girl cutting my hair. I will, I’m telling you now, always have a smile when I think about the value of a fake leg. And I will remember my utter delight at the concluding paragraphs of this story. Beautifully done.
I can’t say anymore. The value of this story is in the gentle unfolding of lives less than extraordinary which are more than they appear.
Definitely recommended if you like something a bit different but if you are asked WHY it is different you will be at a loss to say. But give it a go. I’m reasonably convinced you won’t be disappointed.
Happy Reading Folks!
Publication Date: April 1st 2014
Eva is horrified when she witnesses an attack on her best friend. She calls an ambulance and forces herself to flee Hampton, fearing for her own safety. DCI Helen Lavery leads the investigation into the murder. With no leads, no further witnesses and no sign of forced entry, the murder enquiry begins. Slowly, the pieces of the puzzle start to come together. But as Helen inches towards solving the case, her past becomes caught up in her present. Someone is after them both. Someone who will stop at nothing to get what they want. And as the net starts to close around them, can Helen escape her own demons as well as helping Eva to escape hers?
So having read and very much enjoyed the first novel in the series – An Unfamiliar Murder – I was delighted to see the follow up novel and leap back into the world of Helen Lavery.
The thing I love most about these stories is the realistic twist – Helen Lavery is everywoman, single mother to two teenagers, juggling home life and work life and often failing to manage well (know that feeling!) she is intellligent, creative, flawed in the way we all are and therefore there is an absolute belief as you are reading in everything she is doing.
This instalment finds her tracking a killer and dealing with office politics in a case that may come closer to home than she expects.
Once again the mystery element is well imagined, but in the way that I love its all about the characters really – a little like Sophie Hannah, Jane Isaac gives us more than just her police characters to follow – at the heart of the book is also somebody caught up in events beyond their control – and that is also compelling. In this case its Eva, witnessing an attack on her friend, she holds some of the keys to the mystery.
It is a beautifully flowing book, highly enjoyable especially for mystery lovers and all in all exactly what I hoped for! Now I’m heading into chronic impatience mode for more, as usual.
As far as additions to that great genre of crime fiction goes this is one to watch – hopefully it will be a long running series and it has definitely already hit my “must read” list. Did so from the very first book in fact….
Happy Reading Folks!
Review for “An Unfamiliar Murder can be found here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/580903905?book_show_action=false
When retired politician Joe Street is named in a tabloid media slur, he carries out a last-ditch attempt to resurrect his marriage and undo the damage from the lie. With a cheap PR consultant in tow, Joe is reintroduced to a world of empty sound bites and media appearances – a world he would rather forget.
A beautifully written novel, a bit of a slow burner, as we follow Joe in his attempt to build bridges and regain his life. In these days of image being everything can Joe sort out his marriage and reconnect with the important things in life?
I found it kind of intriguing if a little depressing – a kind of ironic look at life in the fast lane of today’s 24/7 news cycle..Image IS everything and there is no depth to anything it seems. As Joe struggles to find some sense of self and reconnect with the important things in life you may find yourself nodding along with his efforts.
I’m not sure I can say I loved this one – it does have a terrific ambience of the current times when it comes to our society, ultimately however I found Joe’s journey unfulfilling on a personal level. It IS a novel of redemption but as in life, there are rarely perfect outcomes.
Having said that its worth taking the time – certainly there is a poetry to the prose that pulls you along all the way and I will be most interested to hear more from this author.
Happy Reading Folks!
My letters to you, my darling Noah, will be maps, in which I hope I can be found.
Yelena, a brilliant but flawed Ukrainian ballerina, comes to the UK to fulfil her dreams and dance in one of ballet’s most prestigious roles: Giselle. While researching content for his new book, Yelena meets Noah, and here begins a journey of discovery.
Firstly I would like to say that this novel was beautifully written. Yelena’s voice through her letter writing is easily heard – and her story is compelling. Her passion for her dancing shines through as does the hardship and pure determination that is required in that field – it gave me an insight into just how much blood, sweat and tears goes into what we eventually see on stage…
This is very much a book about human feelings and emotions – through Yelena’s hopes, fears and dreams, her world comes to life. Both the light and the dark side – the author tackles some emotive subjects through this character and it is heart wrenching and addictive reading.
A bittersweet tale to be sure, one that will hold your heart in its hands for the length of the reading experience and will not let go.
This was one of those novels I would describe as “Poetic”. It won’t be for everyone, but personally I loved it. Wonderful and sublime writing.
Happy Reading Folks!
Coming 1st October
Shortlisted for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award
Irish Writers’ Centre Novel Fair Award Winner
So here is a book I would not have looked at twice if it wasnt coming from the amazing Legend Press who have yet to bring me a book I have not liked. And yes, they have indeed done it again….
In the academic world of Oxford University several likeminded individuals have formed a secret dining society – finding forgotton and exotic recipes they enjoy some culinary treats. When one of their number, Professor Arthur Plantagenet, discovers he has a serious heart condition he comes up with a bizarre plan that will test the boundaries of the society to its limits….
I loved this one. It was a complete joy to read and unique in its concept and its execution. When a guest dies due to a mishap in the creation of one of the culinary treats – ““What a bloody marvelous way to die” says one character while the corpse is still fresh at the table – the group is put under the spotlight…and consequences ensue not least due to Professor Plantagenet’s weird and wonderful plan. The whole story is gloriously accomplished – the equivalent of the best meal you will ever eat in book form. A culinary masterpiece indeed…
Dark humour abounds – and somewhat of an education. Little titbits about the history of certain food related topics can be found dotted about and it was fascinating stuff. Want to know what the practice of Sokushinbutsu entails? I know you do…and you will!
Atmospheric and intriguing you will be swept along with all the marvellous and nutty characters, and this is elegantly written in a way thats easy to love. Oh I could tell you about so much more but I’m not going to, why oh why would I spoil in any way such a treat of a reading experience – you see this is a story the likes of which you are probably not going to find again, or have read before. So savour it. Pun intended.
Happy Reading Folks!
Once again thank you to Legend Press for the copy of this book to review.
Lacey is the village enigma. Considered to be a mad old lady, ignored by the locals and teased by the children she lives a solitary life. When Rachel moves in next door an unlikely bond forms between the pair…could it be that they have more in common than they realise?
What a pair of amazing female characters Joanne Graham has created here…both with great sadness in their past and worries about their future, watching the friendship develop over the course of this novel was a beautiful thing. Told chapter by chapter with either one or the other taking the lead, we slowly find out what has affected them so deeply and just why they are perfect companions – yes there is a mystery here, the mystery of Lacey and whether or not she can be trusted and just what she might have done but that is really kind of peripheral to the point for me. Its a story of friendship. How the most unlikely people can become the ones closest to your heart – a story of love, of loss and of trust both given and received.
Its a gentle tale but a compelling one. An interesting look at how a less than perfect childhood can affect your whole life – and yet both these ladies are strong in their own way, perhaps because of that. The writing style is easy and flowing with a clever eye to reality. The ups and downs of village life are apparent…and how one rumour can last a lifetime.
I loved it. Insightful and intriguing, heart wrenching and wonderful, keep the tissues handy when you are reading this one. I needed a box full. I can’t wait to see what this author gives us next.
You can follow Joanne on Twitter here https://twitter.com/YarrowH
Happy Reading Folks!
Shortlisted for the Amazon Uk Rising Stars Award.
Thank you kindly to Legend Press and Cassandra Parkin for the copy of this novel via netgalley.
In an abandoned house in the West Country a small eclectic group of people gather – including young Davey, escaping from life , who is welcomed into their midst with one caveat – he asks no questions. 30 Years previously, Musican Jack Laker is writing a comeback album…and in abandoning one girl for another sets into motion a wave of events that will ripple through the years until they reach Davey’s shore..
I have posted this review under Fiction – you might also consider it as a mystery novel but for me it was all about the beautiful characters and flowing almost poetic prose – sometimes its hard to put a book into a single genre. Cassandra Parkin has created some wonderfully witty and heartfelt folk here – I loved each and every one of them from the hilariously honest Priss (my favourite) down to the less than likeable but still intriguing Evie. As you follow events both in the past and the present, you will get inexorably caught up in their world…a world as harsh as it is breathtaking. The house is almost a character in itself – there is a definite atmosphere about it and you know it is hiding secrets…but what those secrets are it refuses to tell.
The story unfolds over both the time periods in a charmingly delightful manner – it is gentle yet fascinating. You care less about what they may be hiding from than you do for the people themselves and what they might do next. The Summer We All Ran Away is the closest I’ve come expressively speaking to Agatha Christie – you feel like you are reading an age old tale yet in a modern setting. Of all the wonderful books I have read lately this is the one that has made me feel true nostalgia for those early days of my reading life – when wide eyed I would emerge from a story and suddenly realise it wasnt real. But it feels real when you are in it…doesnt it?
Happy Reading Folks!
Thank you kindly to Legend Press for allowing me a copy of this book via netgalley.
Alicia returns to her home for the first time in many years, bringing her daughter to stay for the Summer and help out with the care of her Father who has suffered a stroke. Dark memories arise from her time living at home..and she can’t quite put her finger on the entire reasons for her discomfort – yes her Father was strict, unbending and abusive but there is something she can’t quite remember. Meanwhile someone is watching both her and her daughter…watching and waiting…
I loved the way this story flowed….written in quite a punchy style, from the point of view of Alice and her “stalker” it gives you a real sense of menace as you read…cleverly, the setting makes this even more apparent – the beautiful village with friendly locals and lovely scenery should be a place of safety but no-one knows what goes on behind closed doors. As Alicia faces her past and heads into a dangerous future you are never quite sure where the journey is going to end. Ms Huber has a genuine talent for putting you in her characters heads and this is an intelligent and thoughtful debut.
On another note it is also has an eye to dealing with illness and the very real issues having an elderly parent who needs full time care can pose for a family. Alicia’s opposing view to that of her Aunt in what is best for her father is very well imagined – a discussion I am sure goes on in homes all over the country…and that adds to the realism of the situation Alicia finds herself in.
All in all I would definitely recommend this for lovers of mystery stories – it has a hint of the “old school” about it which makes it a great book to sit and indulge yourself with. Watch out though…you never know who might be watching you!
Psychological Thriller – Thanks to the publisher and netgalley.
In Too Deep had an interesting premise – Hiding under an assumed name, Maura lives day to day life as quietly as possible. She is shocked therefore to discover that a reporter knows her true identity and wants to know exactly what happened in her previous life. Reluctantly but having little choice, Maura tells her story..
I enjoyed this book it has to be said, without completely loving it. Its possible that I have read so many psychological thrillers and crime stories lately that it has to be absolutely top notch for me to rave about it. Having said that it is extremely well written, with an interesting protagonist and it holds your attention – you will want to know what is going on.
The location is key here – a small village where everyone knows everyone elses business and yet can be reluctant to interfere, its easy to see how Maura got caught up in her problem. As we find out more about her in both her incarnations, things become clearer. Or do they? I think one of my problems with this particular story is I really couldnt see why Maura acted as she did, her character seemed stronger than her actions…
Domestic violence however is a difficult subject to tackle – who can tell how any one of us would act in any given situation?
To sum up I would say if you like this type of thriller you WILL enjoy this one, but I doubt you will find any surprises. I would like to read another book by this author – I feel that this was a great debut but not the greatest I have read. Elizabeth Haynes “Into the Darkest Corner” with its similar themes is definitely superior by quite a long way. BUT this is not a bad book by any means…if you are a crime and mystery aficionado I would definitely recommend giving this one a try.
Happy Reading Folks!