Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

For All Our Sins – T.M.E. Walsh

Crime Fiction 3*s
Crime Fiction

This book opens with the horrific murder of a priest who is then left discarded in the church. Enter DCI Claire Winters who is juggling a somewhat unruly team, not helped by the fact she has mixed business with pleasure with her junior Sergeant Michael Diego.

I’ll be honest, it took me a little while to get into the swing of this book. I’m not a fan of explicit violence and Father Wainwright’s murder which occurred early on, didn’t help. As is the norm with police procedurals there was a whole cast of characters with the police eagerly questioning those who were known to see the priest on his last day. The man identified as being the last to meet the priest was one of his close friends, Mark Jenkins who was also involved in Shrovesbury Manor, a retreat for spiritual enlightenment, where Father Wainwright worked as well as being a regular at his church.

Alongside the police procedural we had flashbacks from the murderer as well as the mysterious Guardian whose identity is shrouded in mystery. The change in viewpoints can be quite brief which can be a little disconcerting, especially early on in the novel. With the team of detectives on the case being well-represented, with banter and egos cropping up in equal measure adding another layer of credibility to the novel. I liked Claire Winters who was strong without ever becoming overbearing and I felt a far more realistic portrayal of a woman in her role than other books in this genre. With the glimpses of her personal life leaking into her time at work was a great, and realistic way of giving the detective character without making the book more about her than the murders.

Despite putting the hours into the investigation it isn’t too long before another murder is committed! This time the victim is as far removed from a priest as is possible and the police struggle to find any commonality, except method, to link the two. As the police pick away at the few clues they have, they are left probing at half-truths and outright lies, with a few manipulative tears thrown in for good measure. With some of those they want to question are not willing to oblige, I felt we got a realistic view of a typical murder enquiry and the author handled this aspect really well, I felt involved rather than bored by the investigation because I was busy putting the same clues together, albeit with a bit of extra information.

Often when the identity of the murderer is half-revealed at the start, as in this novel, it is hard to keep the mystery element alive and kicking. After all we know the motive for the murders early on and we also know who is next on the hit-list but despite the author making life unnecessarily hard for herself, there was plenty still to discover and by the time I was a third of the way through I was busily turning the pages at a rate of knots to find out the missing parts of the puzzle. And I can reveal the ending… was terrific!

I’d like to thank Carina who sent me a copy of For All Our Sins which was published in paperback format on 6 October 2016.

First Published UK: February 2011
Publisher: Carina
No of Pages: 512
Genre: Crime Fiction
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

The Good Mother – A.L. Bird

Psychological Thriller 3*s
Psychological Thriller

When Susan wakes up in a strange room with a locked door, she has no memory of why she is there or even what her name is at first. Her captor comes in, she doesn’t recognise him but she has an instinctive need to know what has happened to her fifteen year old daughter Cara.

If you like books that are full of twists you may well enjoy this one but I have to confess for the most part I was simply confused by this story. Not in an irritated way; I wanted to know what had happened to both Susan and Cara and the author did a good job if her intention was that none of the readers is likely to stumble upon anything like the right idea. And that’s about all I can say about the plot because anything else will be a major spoiler. The pace is fast and furious, this is one of those books that is best read in long sittings to get the most out of it, there is a lot to absorb and ponder on as the facts are revealed piece by piece.

The story is told from two viewpoints, that of Susan in captivity, and by her captor. This man’s voice wasn’t threatening, he comes across as quite a needy character, but one who can be volatile but Susan is unaware of that. Quite naturally she is suspicious, frightened and alone, which makes her prone to ramblings about her perfect teenage daughter, her best friend and her motivation to stay strong and escape.

Although sympathetic to Susan’s plight I didn’t feel that I got to know her in any meaningful way for reasons that became clear in the last few chapters but this made it hard to really care about her in the way I would normally. The captor, despite having a number of contradictory aspects to his character was a bit easier to get a handle on but in this instance I found the switches between points of view quite off-putting in respect of both characters.

I have a feeling this is one of those books that if you are able to put yourself in Susan’s shoes, will work really well, after all everything is revealed to the reader before Susan thereby giving a chance to absorb the facts before witnessing her reaction but for me something didn’t quite gel enough for me to do this. Maybe I wasn’t in the right frame of mind for this type of narrative which is mainly in the first person present tense, again this should have played in this book’s favour, but I found the stream of consciousness it provoked without any great amount of dialogue to hang it on, just added to my confusion about what was going on, and sadly this has persisted even since I found out.

Having read some other reviews since writing mind, I think I’m in the minority with this one and it definitely has a great premise and is a change from all the books about missing children that are around this year.

I’d like to thank Carina UK for allowing me to read a copy of The Good Mother which was published on 4 April 2016 in return for this, my honest opinion.

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

The Moment Keeper – Buffy Andrews

Contemporary Fiction 3*'s
Contemporary Fiction

I’d like to start by saying a big thank you to the publishers Carina for giving me a copy of The Moment Keeper in exchange for an honest review.

A Moment Keeper is someone who has died who takes note of each of the moments in a living person for them to see at the end of their life. The flashback of key events is made up from their faithful recording of events over the years.

In The Moment Keeper Sarah is assigned the job of recording Olivia’s life and so the book starts with the naming of baby Olivia by her parents. Olivia is adopted but clearly adored by her parents, however it becomes clear that Sarah’s life wasn’t quite as full of love and affection. Sarah’s mother died and her father Matt appears to blame her for the loss of his wife.

At first I found the large amounts of dialogue in this book a little off-putting and it took a while for me to get into this style of writing. The story continues as along with Sarah we watch Olivia grow up, through childhood into the teenage years where Olivia peruses her ambition to become a dancer while Sarah’s wonderful Grandmother longs for her to have opportunities at college and to better herself. Needless to say everything does not go to plan.

I found myself rooting for Sarah, longed to know why she died at such a young age, and wondered at the sheer contrast of Olivia’s life. I did find the difference in attitudes of young American teenagers quite different to those portrayed here in the UK but I think that is probably just due to my lack of exposure to the cultural differences.

Be warned this is a tale about choices, bereavement and relationships in this book which may cause a few tears to fall…

This is the first book I have read as part of the COYER challenge.
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