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August 2015

Someone Out There by Catherine Hunt

71ULrS075WLI received this book from Net Galley in return for an honest review.

A good book should grab you from the very first chapter and ‘Someone Out There,’ the debut thriller from Catherine Hunt does this and then some! My heart was racing as divorce lawyer, Laura Maxwell, finds herself involved in a race for her life as she is doggedly pursued by an unknown car. This becomes the first in a series of incidents and soon Maxwell realises that her life is in danger. Who is trying to kill her and why?

We soon realise that although Laura seems to have it all with a successful career and a handsome husband, all is not what it seems. Laura is battling her own personal demons and her life is threatening to crumble all around her.

It is not often that a book has a genuine ‘OMG’ moment but this one definitely does. It is hard to say anything about this moment without giving too much away, but when the motives were revealed, I did gasp out loud!

An absolutely superb book – a great debut.

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Death at Whitewater Church by Andrea Carter

I received this book from Net Galley in return for an honest review.5157sv5in7L

Skeletal remains being discovered in the crypt of a deconsecrated church doesn’t sound suspicious, but when it is known that all remains had been previously removed and the skeleton is found wrapped in a blanket, the interest of Inishowen solicitor, Benedicta ‘Ben’ O’Keeffe, is piqued.

Soon, the local community is convinced that this is the body of Conor Devitt, a local man who went missing of the morning of his wedding six years ago. It is up to the local police, headed by Sergeant Tom Molloy, to discover the identity of the body and the circumstances behind the death. Ben O’Keeffe, in her position as local solicitor, is soon finding herself privy to information that can help to solve the crime but will her information put her in danger?

This is a solid start to a series with the pace of the story being just right. It soon becomes apparent that Ben has a story of her own to tell about why she ended up living where she does, isolated from her family and her past, and the author reveals just enough information throughout the book to keep you wanting to know more. The author also successfully deals with the sensitive issues of the political history of Northern Ireland and weaves it into the mystery effortlessly.

Highly recommended to lovers of crime fiction, I look forward to reading further books in the series.

The False Inspector Dew by Peter Lovesey

the-false-inspector-dewAlma Webster lives a life of make believe thanks to the romance novels she enjoys reading. After an appointment with her dentist, Walter Baranov, make believe becomes reality as she falls head-over-heels in love. Soon, inspired by the real-life case of Doctor Crippen, the pair are plotting the murder of Walter’s wife and planning to embark on a new life in America.

Set mainly on board the ocean liner Mauretania, in 1921, the tale takes a dramatic twist when a body is disvovered in the water but it is not the body of Walter’s wife, Lydia. To compound matters even further, Mr Baranov has assumed a false identity whilst onboard the ship – that of Walter Dew, the police inspector credited for the capture of the aforementioned Doctor Crippen! Soon, Walter is being called upon to investigate the murder…

This is an excellent read and was genuinely a book I struggled to put down. The characters are extremely well-written and no loose ends are left at the end of the story. Several historical events are woven successfully into the tale and help to build up an image of events that were occurring at that time.

Any book that is described as ‘A masterpiece’ by the late, great Ruth Rendell has to be worth a read!

The Quality of Silence by Rosamund Lupton

23310342I received this proof-copy from Net Galley in return for an honest review.

Ever since reading ‘Sister’ and ‘Afterwards’ I had been eagerly anticipating Rosamund Lupton’s third offering. The joy of this author’s books is always having to expect the unexpected as they are not as formulaic as other suspense books I have read. This was no exception.

Yasmin and her daughter Ruby have arrived in Alaska to meet up with Matt, her film-maker husband only to be met by officials who break the news to her that her husband has died in a devastating fire. Refusing to believe what she is hearing, the story follows the two main characters on their terrifying journey across the formidable Alaskan terrain, desperate to prove that Matt is still alive.

Lupton succeeds in creating a clear image of the desolate yet beautiful landscape and makes it even more poignant by having much of the story told by Ruby, who we soon find out is deaf. The fear of loneliness is a recurring theme, especially for Ruby, for whom darkness is the enemy.

Although this did not have the shock factor of ‘Sister’, I enjoyed this just as much, and struggled to put it down. The only downside is now having to wait so long for the author’s next book!

Doc’s Codicil by Gary F. Jones

I received this book from Net Galley in return for an honest review.cover69420-medium

Although this isn’t generally the sort of book I would read, the synopsis intrigued me enough to give it a go. Doc, a Wisconsin vet, has left, as part of his will, a mysterious codicil that his family must solve in order to inherit his fortune. This leads the reunited family to undertake a quest whereby they must speak to his friends, hack into his computer to find email evidence and read a book that Doc had been writing.

At times, this book was ‘laugh out loud’ funny and also poignant as the siblings work together to discover what was happening in Doc’s life before he died. However, I did find myself spending a lot of time skipping through sections of text as parts of the story seemed to serve little purpose. I could not warm to the character of ‘Doofus’ and admit that, even by the end of the book, I was a bit confused as to who he actually was.

The book is well-researched and clearly shows the author’s understanding of bovine matters!

Heirs and Assigns by Marjorie Eccles

Heirs and AssignsI received this book from Net Galley in return for an honest review.

A family gathering followed by the untimely demise of the host all sounds very Agatha Christie and, indeed, there are some similarities in this crime novel by Marjorie Eccles. Inspector Reardon and Sergeant Gilmore are summoned to the rural Shropshire village to investigate the murder and they soon realise that this close-knit community have more secrets than they care to reveal…

A book containing so many characters could have been confusing but the author does a good job in introducing the characters and building up their back stories in order to avoid this. I do feel that the character of Ellen, as a strong woman, was underused and I wonder if she is being saved for a larger role in a follow-up book.

Placing enough red herrings along the way to throw you off track, the ending is satisfying and makes perfect sense. Based on this, I would be happy reading any further books in the series.

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