Quercus

About time Quercus had their own page considering the number of fantastic books they publish so here it is. Anything I read of theirs from now on will be right here….Enjoy.

Publication Date: February 2017 from Quercus Children’s/Hatchette Children’s Group.

Source: Netgalley

Back then I thought that if it weren’t for that cliff, our cities would be one and there would be no need for all this fierceness toward each other. But then I learned about pride and tradition and prophecy, and those things are harder than rock.

Joomia and Aula are Chosen. They will never be normal. They can never be free.

On the last island on Erthe, Chosen Ones are destined to enter Ariadnis on the day they turn eighteen. There, they must undertake a mysterious and deadly challenge. For Joomia and Aula, this means competing against each other, to end the war that has seethed between their cities for nine generations.

As the day draws nearer, all thoughts are on the trial ahead. There’s no space for friendship. No time for love. However much the girls might crave them.

But how you prepare for a task you know nothing certain about? Nothing, except that you must win, at whatever cost, or lose everything.

Ariadnis encompassed a highly imaginative concept with some beautiful language to describe it, some top characters too and a magical feel with more than a hint of darkness.

Two cities ever divided, two girls chosen, a quest for knowledge and a mysterious challenge – all added up to a great read. Joomia I especially loved and I thought the way the two main protagonists here were really very different, each having their own quirks and consequences, kept the story feeling fresh and unpredictable throughout.

The world building is truly excellent, the author takes time to ingrain it into the readers senses – the magic and the power of the setting is one of the huge plus points of Ariadnis. I liked the moral messages layered into the plot, there are things to think about but mostly its a fun and involving read that indulges pure escapism.

Overall really very good. I will be interested to see more from this author if this one is anything to go by.

Recommended.

You can Purchase Ariadnis HERE

 

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Publication Date: Available Now (riverrun)

Source: Review Copy

Police Sergeant William South has a reason for not wanting to be on the murder investigation.

He is a murderer himself.

But the victim was his only friend; like him, a passionate birdwatcher. South is warily partnered with the strong-willed Detective Sergeant Alexandra Cupidi, newly recruited to the Kent coast from London. Together they find the body, violently beaten, forced inside a wooden chest. Only rage could kill a man like this. South knows it.

Really enjoyed this one from William Shaw – a bit of a different take on the normal whodunnit with a main protagonist who is himself a murderer so prefers to just be a community officer – however when his neighbour is killed he gets sucked into the investigation through the brilliantly portrayed Alexandra Cupidi (I rather loved her and daughter Zoe). South’s hobby, even a bit of an obsession is birdwatching, again a little different from the norm and I’m always a fan of crime writing where the author attempts to change things up a bit or add something a little different into the mix.  The Birdwatcher had loads of that and is a beautifully written atmospheric thriller to boot.

There is a wonderfully clever use of the past/present vibe as we come to learn what led South to murder in the first place and how that follows him through life – mixed in with the present day murder investigation and some beautifully placed scenes of his normal routines in life. The birdwatching aspects were fascinating enough to make me consider taking it up and the relationship South builds with both Cupidi and her daughter just had a beautiful depth  which made you worry about where they would all end up. Especially considering the secrets being kept, all in all its quite the page turner.

The setting is realistic, you can see it right there and I adored the descriptive sense of feeling William Shaw brought to all of that, a true sense of place and it just added so much to the overall. The mystery is enticing and there are surprises along the way, I was very randomly upset by the ending in that “ohhhh” way (the best way)  – I can only hope perhaps that these characters will be revisited in another novel. Yes that is a blatant questioning glare I’m giving there so if you read this Mr Shaw – Hmm.

Really really good. In fact as I said on twitter having just finished it – bloody good.

Highly Recommended.

You can purchase The Birdwatcher HERE

 

 

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Publication Date: 7th April

Source: Netgalley

No oxygen, no life
Scientists have been warning for decades that we are
poisoning the Earth. Now their prophecy is coming
true. The oceans have become polluted, destroying a
crucial link in the planet’s life-support system.
While corrupt superpowers plot to secure the last
remaining clean air for the privileged few, one
team of maverick scientists from across the globe
are the planet’s only hope.
TIME IS SHORT.
THE AIR IS RUNNING OUT.

The Last Gasp was originally published back in 1983, set in the future (which actually starts in 2016 here) it follows a series of scientific types who realise that the Earth is moving towards being unable to sustain life rather too fast and political types that have their own agendas – and ends up being a wildly sprawling yet intriguing and fascinating novel that hits quite close to home.

It was not without its faults for me, the concept was sound and definitely thought provoking, the characters are brilliantly drawn and for the majority of its rather tome like length I was completely immersed. The action so to speak takes place over a number of years, this is a slow burner of a literary fantasy novel with a hard scientific edge.

However, for want of a better way of putting it, it did bang on a bit in places. I enjoyed the scientific elements very much, Trevor Hoyle writes it so it is easily understandable whilst making his characters sound professional, but there were moments in this novel that I was begging him to PLEASE not tell me anything else about plankton. Or oxygen. Or how it all works within the eco system.  I get it already. Lack of Oxygen bad!

Even having said that though, despite my preference being for less science more story on occasion, The Last Gasp is really very clever, definitely will give you pause for thought and descriptively speaking is stunning – so it has an awful lot going for it. And if you love extending your knowledge with a lot of added information as well as being entertained you will adore this from first page to last. I thoroughly enjoyed almost all of it and would definitely recommend it to science fiction and fantasy fans.

You can purchase The Last Gasp HERE

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Publication Date: March 3rd 2016

Translated by Jonathan Lloyd-Davies (brilliantly)

Source: Netgalley

SIX FOUR.
THE NIGHTMARE NO PARENT COULD ENDURE.
THE CASE NO DETECTIVE COULD SOLVE.
THE TWIST NO READER COULD PREDICT.

For five days in January 1989, the parents of a seven-year-old Tokyo schoolgirl sat and listened to the demands of their daughter’s kidnapper. They would never learn his identity. They would never see their daughter again.

For the fourteen years that followed, the Japanese listened to the police’s apologies. They would never forget the botched investigation that became known as ‘Six Four’. They would never forgive the authorities their failure.

For one week in late 2002, the press officer attached to the police department in question confronted an anomaly in the case. He could never imagine what he would uncover. He would never have looked if he’d known what he would find.

Six Four is really the most amazing read BUT you have to have patience. It is unexpected. I will be absolutely honest and say that at about 50 pages in (and this is a long one!) I almost gave up. If you get to that point kick yourself into continuing – it will reward you in many ways. From a little after that point I devoured it. It kicked in big time.

To clarify – the problem for me came with a bit of a culture clash – the names are all very similar and I was muddling up the characters and had to keep backtracking which was challenging.But then, like magic, suddenly all that goes away, you are bang in it.  Another thing to note: Hideo Yokoyama has written a slow burner of a novel, with no clear investigative track and a very different approach to things. If you are expecting a standard Crime novel with a detective and clues and suspects and the like, no. You only kind of get that. What you actually get is a character and political study which has an emotional and very intriguing mystery at the heart of it.

I can’t really tell you too much about the plot because to know it is to spoil it – Ive not read a construction quite like this before in which a crime story has very few of the defacto crime elements but manages to be a completely marvellous crime novel none the less. It is baffling and extraordinarily intelligent, a character fuelled creative piece of genius with a twist in the tale that Agatha Christie would get writers envy over.

It is a reading experience this one – it will engage the little grey cells (yes another Christie reference) and offer the reader something different in the field  – ultimately I can’t do anything except highly recommend this one for anyone that likes to think outside the box and if you fancy seeing a mystery story done in a very different yet highly credible way Six Four is definitely for you.

I loved it. Yes I did – despite having to engage high levels of concentration in the first little bit, because in doing so I ended up getting what I did out of it.  A bloody tremendous read!

You can order Six Four HERE

 

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Publication Date: Available Now

Source: Review Copy

Stretching along the shelf, standing upright, were twelve wooden coffins. Nine were closed, and three open . . . with little dolls standing inside them . . .

It was supposed to be the most special day of her life – until the unthinkable happened. Leslie Petersen is shot dead on her wedding day. With the bride’s killer vanished without a trace, the investigation into the murder grinds to a halt before it’s even begun.
But then, the decomposing body of an unidentified homeless man is found in an old Cold War bunker, and DCI Mark Lapslie makes a bizarre discovery. Hidden near the body is a shrine full of miniature wooden coffins. Each coffin contains a little doll, all dressed differently. One of the dolls is dressed as a bride – could this be a link to Leslie’s murder? And if so, who do the other dolls represent? Can Lapslie and his team stop the countdown of the ‘dying dolls’ before it’s too late?

Really enjoyed The Thirteenth Coffin. It was really uber creepy crime which always appeals to me – those tiny dolls in those tiny coffins *shudder*

I love Lapslie too – he’s a great addition to the memorable detective group, his condition making things just that bit more interesting. It actually works strangely well knowing how other characters might taste as well as act and look. Yes ok I’m a little strange myself but it is a fascinating condition – one I’ve come across before with other characters in other books but not done quite so cleverly as it is in the Lapslie novels.

As for this particular story I refer you back to my earlier uber creepy comment. This was particularly disturbing, for a start I’m not a huge fan of dolls in the first place horrible scary things, but teeny tiny ones murdered and stuck into teeny tiny coffins? Noooooo hurry up and catch THIS killer please DCI Lapslie.

The story rocked along, twisting and turning, as our gang go after a killer and unravel the mystery, the pace is set fair, the descriptive prose working to keep you off kilter and as I said. Great characters. I’m especially fond of Bradbury.

Highly readable addictive Crime. Wonderful!

 

Are You Watching Me

Publication Date: Available Now

Liz Cafferky is on the up. Rescued from her dark past by the owner of a drop-in centre for older men, Liz soon finds herself as the charity’s face – and the unwilling darling of the Dublin media.
Amidst her claustrophobic fame, Liz barely notices a letter from a new fan. But then one of the centre’s clients is brutally murdered, and Elizabeth receives another, more sinister note.
Running from her own ghosts, Liz is too scared to go to the police. And with no leads, there is little Sergeant Claire Boyle can do to protect her.

I was a huge fan of Sinead Crowley’s first book and so was very excited to get this one – and it was a corker.

Claire Boyle is back (thank heavens I LOVE her), having had her baby and working to get her feet firmly back in the world of Policing. Meanwhile, Liz Cafferky is receiving some disturbing mail. When a body is discovered, Claire finds herself embroiled in the secrets and lies surrounding a local men’s shelter.

I love how the author mixes police procedural with intense character drama – a touch of the Tana French about it as we follow along with someone external to our main series protagonist and see a snapshot of their lives before, during and after – always intriguing to see both sides of the fence so to speak.

There is an addictive mystery element running through the narrative, some lovely little twists and turns and some real world issues once more getting a spotlight. That alongside some great characters make this a real page turner and a welcome addition to the ever growing Crime and Mystery family.

Overall a terrific read. Highly Recommended.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

The Wrong Girl

Publication Date: Available Now.

Dan’s death brings his hippie sister Janice back to Norfolk where she’s re-united with Molly’s mother Suze, the daughter she gave up for adoption decades earlier. Janice discovers that a former lover, Joe Vincent, lives nearby. Joe was a rock star who, at the height of his fame, turned his back on public life.

As she is drawn back into the past, Janice begins to wonder if Dan’s death and Joe’s reputation as a reclusive acid casualty are quite what they appear…

And then Molly disappears.

A really beautifully written and atmospheric family drama come psychological thriller here from Laura Wilson – a highly addictive and often haunting read that is utterly gripping.

Janice gets a phone call to say her brother has died – shocked not only by this but by the fact that the caller is her daughter, adopted at birth, she returns home to find out what is going on. There she ends up embroiled in family secrets whilst desperately trying to establish an emotional connection with the child she thought she would never see again…

This is a multi layered and many faceted story – about family, adoption, identity and all the emotional resonance that comes with that, all dealt with intelligently and with real impact – whilst also having a really terrific mystery element that will keep you avidly turning the pages.

I’m being careful not to say too much, the author having obviously taken inspiration from real life headlines to create some of the tale, there is an authentic and truly emotive feel overall as you move through the lives of these characters, all of whom are intriguing and beautifully drawn.

The heartache that surrounds missing children cases is a large part of what makes “The Wrong Girl” so touching in places, Laura Wilson has created a distinct and affecting voice through young Molly and indeed through all her characters here that paint a picture of the grief and suffering that comes often from simply not knowing. It all has a huge impact, a story that will stay with you long after finishing.

Overall then a really great read. Not that I was expecting anything less from Ms Wilson who has that delicate touch when it comes to story flow which means you are ever engaged and involved.

Highly Recommended.

 

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