Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads

Anything For Her – G.J. Minett #BlogTour #BookReview

Psychological Thriller
5*s

Well once again G.J. Minett has demonstrated that he knows not only the ingredients required for great story-telling but also when to whisk the mixture slowly and when to turn the speed up, the result a story that may make you wonder if you should have caught on a little earlier but ultimately leave you feeling satiated.

So what’s it all about? Well Billy Orr is back home visiting his older sister, Mia who is ill. He stays on the train at Ashford International – as Billy says the name brings out the cynic in him.

‘It came across as just that little bit too desperate to impress, as if seeing to confer upon the place a status, a sense of glamour and mystery which was never entirely warranted by the town itself. Even the positioning of the word felt lie an afterthought, almost a pose if you like.’

Right from this point, in other words very early on, I liked Billy, saying to myself, he thinks the way I think.

Billy is home in Rye to keep Mia company while her husband Matthew travels for work and although they’ve both assured him that Mia will be ok, the bond between brother and sister is especially close given that Mia, nine years his senior, looked after Billy following the sudden deaths of their parents when he was still in his teens.

The story elegantly shifts backwards and forwards in time, from the present day to an event in 2002, thirteen years before the heart of the story. In the present Mia and Billy go to the supermarket in Tenterden and he’s browsing the cereal aisle when who should he see but his first love Aimi. Now it is clear almost immediately that Mia was not impressed by this chance meeting but she’s content to let them have a five-minute chat, her about her marriage to the son of the local ‘Mr Big’ but she knows that her leaving Billy as a teenager had broken his heart and their closeness has translated into a slightly overbearing attitude as to Billy’s well-being. Aimi wants to talk to Billy but wants him to keep it a secret and sadly the poor bloke doesn’t realise that he should walk away without a backwards glance.

I’m not actually going to say anything else about the plot except to say that the seemingly disparate pieces of information are anything but. I think the author must have had a massive wall of sticky notes to keep track of all the information! Not that this book is complex to read, far from it, but neither is it packed full of irrelevant details, the extra words only ever coming in to paint an evocative scene, a sense of place or time.

Then the clouds came scudding across like locust swarms, treacle black, thick as molasses chasing the light from the sky and squatting over the West End like some malevolent entity. Nature’s literal five o’clock shadow.

The people are well-drawn the ‘at home’ scenes between Mia, Matthew and Billy only too believable, far more so I think than those books where families sit around having witty chats with one another – here there are several points where it is all too obvious that manners keep the family together but their true selves are at times somewhere entirely elsewhere. There are people to hate, people to wonder at, people who remind you of yourself or others and at some point you are going to realise some of these people are hiding something, what is the question?

I am very grateful to the publishers who provided me with a copy of Anything For Her, and of course to be invited to be part of this blog tour. This unbiased review is my thanks to them and to Graham for providing me with another brilliant read. If you haven’t read this author’s previous work, I would urge you to do so each one so different yet at the same time the complex plots are effortlessly read leaving a sense of deep satisfaction.

      Graham Minett

 

 

 

 

 

First Published UK: 30 November 2017
Publisher: Bonnier Zaffre
No of Pages: 368
Genre: Psychological Thriller 
Amazon UK
Amazon US – currently unavailable

Books by G.J. Minett

The Hidden Legacy
Lie In Wait

Don’t forget to catch the other stops on the blog tour!

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (December 6)

This Week In Books
Hosted by Lipsy Lost & Found my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I am reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words

I am currently reading Anything For Her by G.J. Minett an author who has had me mightily impressed with his first two novels and this one looks to be heading in the same direction.

Blurb

You’d do anything for the one that got away . . . wouldn’t you?

When Billy Orr returns home to spend time with his dying sister, he bumps into his ex-girlfriend Aimi, the love of his life. He might not have seen her in eleven years, but Billy’s never forgotten her. He’d do anything for her then, and he’d do anything for her now.

When Aimi tells him that she wants to escape her abusive husband, Billy agrees to help her fake her own death. But is she still the Aimi that Billy remembers from all those years ago?

Once Aimi disappears, Billy has to face the possibility that perhaps she had different reasons for disappearing – reasons that might be more dangerous than she’s led him to believe . . .

Sometimes trusting the one you love is the wrong thing to do. Amazon

Now I’m supposed to tell you the book I last finished, let’s just say that being a bit behind with my reading, this is strictly aspirational, although I have read quite a few of the ‘stories’ in this wonderful non-fiction book. True Stories by Helen Garner, author of This House of Grief, is a collection to be savoured, currently available on kindle in the UK the hardback will be published on 25 January 2017.

Blurb

Helen Garner visits the morgue, and goes cruising on a Russian ship. She sees women giving birth, and gets the sack for teaching her students about sex. She attends a school dance and a gun show. She writes about dreaming, about turning fifty, and the storm caused by The First Stone. Her story on the murder of the two-year-old Daniel Valerio wins her a Walkley Award.

Garner looks at the world with a shrewd and sympathetic eye. Her non-fiction is always passionate and compelling. True Stories is an extraordinary book, spanning fifty years of work, by one of Australia’s great writers. Amazon

Next up I plan to read The Missing Girl the debut novel by Jenny Quintana which will be published on 18 December 2017.

Blurb

When Anna Flores’ adored older sister goes missing as a teenager, Anna copes by disappearing too, just as soon as she can: running as far away from her family as possible, and eventually building a life for herself abroad.

Thirty years later, the death of her mother finally forces Anna to return home. Tasked with sorting through her mother’s possessions, she begins to confront not just her mother’s death, but also the huge hole Gabriella’s disappearance left in her life – and finds herself asking a question she’s not allowed herself to ask for years: what really happened to her sister?

With that question comes the revelation that her biggest fear isn’t discovering the worst; it’s never knowing the answer. But is it too late for Anna to uncover the truth about Gabriella’s disappearance? Amazon

What do you think? Any of these take your fancy? Please do leave your thoughts in the comments box below.

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (October 18)

This Week In Books
Hosted by Lipsy Lost & Found my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I am reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words

I am currently reading Sweet Little Lies by Caz Frear, the winner of The Richard and Judy search for a bestseller competition.



Blurb

WHAT I THOUGHT I KNEW

In 1998, Maryanne Doyle disappeared and Dad knew something about it?
Maryanne Doyle was never seen again.

WHAT I ACTUALLY KNOW

In 1998, Dad lied about knowing Maryanne Doyle.
Alice Lapaine has been found strangled near Dad’s pub.
Dad was in the local area for both Maryanne Doyle’s disappearance and Alice Lapaine’s murder – FACT
Connection?

Trust cuts both ways . . . what do you do when it’s gone?

The last book I finished was The Ice Child by Camilla Läckberg, the ninth in the Patrik Hedstrom and Erica Falck series. This episode sees Erica up to her eyes in children but she still has time to involve herself in the investigation into a local missing girl.

Blurb

 

SEE NO EVIL
It’s January in the peaceful seaside resort of Fjällbacka. A semi-naked girl wanders through the woods in freezing cold weather. When she finally reaches the road, a car comes out of nowhere. It doesn’t manage to stop.

HEAR NO EVIL
The victim, a girl who went missing four months ago, has been subjected to unimaginably brutal treatment – and Detective Patrik Hedström suspects this is just the start.

SPEAK NO EVIL
The police soon discover that three other girls are missing from nearby towns, but there are no fresh leads. And when Patrik’s wife stumbles across a link to an old murder case, the detective is forced to see his investigation in a whole new light.

Next up is a book that I’ve been anticipating ever since I finished the author’s last book, Lie in Wait. G.J. Minett has finished his third book, Anything for Her which will be published on 30 November 2017 in eBook format with the paperback following in March 2018.

Blurb

You’d do anything for the one that got away . . . wouldn’t you?

When Billy Orr returns home to spend time with his dying sister, he bumps into his ex-girlfriend Aimi, the love of his life. He might not have seen her in eleven years, but Billy’s never forgotten her. He’d do anything for her then, and he’d do anything for her now.

When Aimi tells him that she wants to escape her abusive husband, Billy agrees to help her fake her own death. But is she still the Aimi that Billy remembers from all those years ago?

Once Aimi disappears, Billy has to face the possibility that perhaps she had different reasons for disappearing – reasons that might be more dangerous than she’s led him to believe . . .

Sometimes trusting the one you love is the wrong thing to do. Amazon

What do you think? Any of these take your fancy? Please do leave your thoughts in the comments box below.

Posted in Weekly Posts

Weekly Wrap Up (October 15)

It’s some time since I have done a wrap up post which was mainly due to an unscheduled break from blogging caused by too much paid work to leave any time to devote to the blog and I have a rule to prioritise reading over blogging.

I have been short-sighted since I started at secondary school and after several months of not being able to see the board admitted this fact to my parents and was duly issued with a horrible pair of NHS glasses.

These came in a choice of clear, pink, blue or brown – mine were clear!

I hated them and spent the whole of my school career only wearing them when absolutely necessary, leading to at least two pairs ending up under the wheels of the school bus as they flew out of my pocket as I raced for it. Anyway time moved on and eventually I had a more stylish pair and then I moved to contact lenses so I only need to wear my glasses on very rare occasions. But, horror has struck, I went to the optician for my routine eye-test to be informed that I now need to wear reading glasses, the news was accompanied with the phrase ‘well you’re fast approaching that magic milestone!’ The young optician then noticing my lack of appreciation for this helpful comment said, ‘Well it’s not so bad you only have to wear them while working on a screen or reading’ and didn’t believe me when I pointed, out that this was my whole life!!

Of course when they arrive it might mean that my eyes are not so tired after a day at work and I will be able to read more! Here’s hoping.

This Week on the Blog

It’s been a busy week on the blog which sprang back into business with my review  of The Book of Forgotten Authors by Christopher Fowler which not only sparked happy memories of authors read many moons ago but also introduced plenty of other interesting writers all with a tongue-in-cheek writing style.

Next I reviewed Silent Voices by Ann Cleeves, a book from my TBR which had been unread since its purchase back in 2012. As it was number 4 in the Vera series I’ve comforted myself that I have another four books to read whenever I want something that is guaranteed to delight.

My excerpt post was for the winner of the Search for a Bestseller run by Richard and Judy; Sweet Little Lies by Caz Frear.

This Week in Books featured the authors Frances Brody, Sinéad Crowley and William Boyd.

This was neatly followed by my review of the ninth book in the Kate Shackleton series, Death in the Stars by Frances Brody featuring the solar eclipse of 1927 and a story which revolved by a group of variety hall entertainers.

On Friday I posted my review of The Last Thread by Ray Britain, a debut crime fiction thriller written by a former Police Officer which far exceeded my expectations.

The week was rounded up with my review of The Adversary by Emmanuel Carrère, a non-fiction true crime novel that chilled me.

This Time Last Year…

I was reading His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet which was on Man Booker Prize shortlist 2016. Those of you who visit regularly, or even occasionally know that I enjoy historical crime fiction and when I belatedly heard about this book featuring young Roddy Macrae who hailed from the remote crofting community of Culduie in Rossshire I knew I had to read it.  The tale is based on the facts that on an August day in 1869, beat the local constable Lachlan Mackenzie and two other people to death. A brilliant book which I would really like to re-read now I know how it ends…

You can read my full review here or click on the book cover



Blurb

The year is 1869. A brutal triple murder in a remote community in the Scottish Highlands leads to the arrest of a young man by the name of Roderick Macrae. A memoir written by the accused makes it clear that he is guilty, but it falls to the country s finest legal and psychiatric minds to uncover what drove him to commit such merciless acts of violence. Was he mad? Only the persuasive powers of his advocate stand between Macrae and the gallows.

Graeme Macrae Burnet tells an irresistible and original story about the provisional nature of truth, even when the facts seem clear. His Bloody Project is a mesmerising literary thriller set in an unforgiving landscape where the exercise of power is arbitrary. Amazon

Stacking the Shelves

From the TBR perspective one advantage of having been so busy (and not being able to see) is that I haven’t had too much time to request new books, but surprisingly a few have made it into my house anyway!

I was delighted to be offered a copy of Anything for Her by GJ Minett as I was a huge fan of his first two books; The Hidden Legacy and Lie in Wait so I’m eager to see what the author has in store for me this time.

Blurb

You’d do anything for the one that got away . . . wouldn’t you?

When Billy Orr returns home to spend time with his dying sister, he bumps into his ex-girlfriend Aimi, the love of his life. He might not have seen her in eleven years, but Billy’s never forgotten her. He’d do anything for her then, and he’d do anything for her now.

When Aimi tells him that she wants to escape her abusive husband, Billy agrees to help her fake her own death. But is she still the Aimi that Billy remembers from all those years ago?

Once Aimi disappears, Billy has to face the possibility that perhaps she had different reasons for disappearing – reasons that might be more dangerous than she’s led him to believe . . .

Sometimes trusting the one you love is the wrong thing to do. NetGalley

I have also received a copy of The Wicked Cometh by Laura Carlin which sounds irresistible and is due to be published in February 2018.



Blurb

‘We have no need to protect ourselves from the bad sort
because we ARE the bad sort . . .’

‘This newspaper has taken note that the past month has been remarkable for the prevalence of cases where men, women and children are declared missing. Scarcely a week passes without the occurrence of an incident of this type’ – The Morning Herald, Tuesday 13 September 1831

Down the murky alleyways of London, acts of unspeakable wickedness are taking place and the city’s vulnerable poor are disappearing from the streets. Out of these shadows comes Hester White, a bright young woman who is desperate to escape the slums by any means possible.
When Hester is thrust into the world of the aristocratic Brock family, she leaps at the chance to improve her station in life under the tutelage of the fiercely intelligent and mysterious Rebekah Brock.
But whispers from her past slowly begin to poison her new life and both she and Rebekah are lured into the most sinister of investigations, dragging them into the blackest heart of a city where something more depraved than either of them could ever imagine is lurking. . . Amazon

I also have received a copy of Dear Mrs Bird by AJ Pearce which appealed as a humorous change from all the crime and wickedness, it’s not due to be published until April 2018 but I am very tempted to pick it up now anyway.

Blurb

London, 1940. Emmeline Lake and her best friend Bunty are trying to stay cheerful despite the Luftwaffe making life thoroughly annoying for everyone. Emmy dreams of becoming a Lady War Correspondent and when she spots a job advertisement in the newspaper she seizes her chance – but after a rather unfortunate misunderstanding, she finds herself typing letters for the formidable Henrietta Bird, the renowned agony aunt of Woman’s Friend magazine.

Mrs Bird is very clear: letters containing any form of Unpleasantness must go straight into the bin. Emmy finds herself dismissing problems from lovelorn, grief-stricken and morally conflicted readers in favour of those who fear their ankles are unsightly or have trouble untangling lengths of wool. But soon the thought of desperate women going unanswered becomes too much to bear and Emmy decides the only thing for it is to secretly write back . . .

Irresistibly funny and enormously moving, Dear Mrs Bird is a love letter to female friendship, Blitz spirit, the kindness of strangers and the art of letter-writing itself. Amazon

What have you found to read this week? Any of these take your fancy?

tbr-watch

Since my last post I’ve read 7 books, and DNF 1.
My TBR now has a total of 175
Physical Books – 95
Kindle Books – 59
NetGalley Books – 21

Posted in Blog Tour

Lie In Wait – G.J. Minett #BlogTour #Author Post

Lie In Wait

On 9 March 2017 Lie In Wait by G.J. Minett is being published as a paperback and looking inside the front cover I can see that I’m not the only reader to heap praise on this novel

lie-in-wait-inside-cover

So I was thrilled to be asked to kick off the blog tour to celebrate the paperback publication especially as the author was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule, which includes submitting book three to the publishers, to write this exclusive post about writing characters!

Writing Characters

All authors have to choose a starting point that works for them and for me it’s the central character. That doesn’t mean to say that potential plots don’t occur to me from time to time – they do, and I tend to shut them away for future reference because until I have a character I want to work with, there is no story to tell. Once I do, I can then look for that character’s Achilles heel and choose a situation that is going to test her/him to the limit. But it’s character first.

In The Hidden Legacy, Ellen sprang out of an exercise we did for the MA in Creative Writing at the University of Chichester. We were given a comprehensive checklist which we had to use to ask our character questions ranging from which newspaper she read to what her deepest fear would be. I took ages over fleshing her out and carried her around with me for months, even asking myself how she would react to news items on TV. Not far off schizophrenic maybe but very useful for getting to know your character.

In Lie In Wait Owen was a composite of a handful of children I’ve taught over the years who seem to have the words ‘natural victim’ stamped into their psyche. Very often they are different but they are made more so by the reaction of those around them who exclude them from everything.

Writing is not just about central characters though and I’ve come up with three tips which work for me when developing the cast of supporting actors who help to bring the novel to life. In no particular order they are:

• Avoid extremes if possible. Not many people are without flaws and no one I’ve met is entirely without redeeming features. Try to make sure you throw in a few little surprises which show a different side to your characters or there’s a danger they’ll be too wooden and stereotypical to be interesting. It’s always better to challenge the reader’s expectations.

• Get the dialogue right. We all speak slightly differently from each other with a variety of hesitations, digressions, favourite expressions that, you know, we seem to kind of throw in every other sentence . . . basically. Know what I mean? Listen to people around you, borrow extensively from them. In an ideal world, it should be possible for a reader to listen to a dozen or so examples of speech from one character in your novel and know exactly who it is without being told. And the listening part is important too – try taping an extended piece of dialogue you’ve created and playing it back to see what it sounds like. If it clunks, change it.

• Test your characters. You won’t want (or have time) to do this with all of them but with half a dozen or so who appear relatively frequently, try to come up with a situation which will put them under pressure and bring out a different side to them. Characters when pressurised behave in ways that surprise us and readers tend to like being caught on the hop. At any social gathering, I don’t suppose I’m very different from anyone else in seeking out the individuals who are interesting, entertaining and informative and readers are the same. If we can make a character that little bit more interesting, we’re winning the battle for the their attention.

I did say these work for me. It doesn’t mean they will for everyone but if there’s even one small suggestion there that helps, I’ll be delighted.

Many thanks to Cleo as usual for the opportunity.

Thank you Graham, and one of the things I’ve loved most about both books is how realistic the characters are, for me it is the mixture of redeeming, and not so redeeming qualities which tends to convince me but I can see that by employing all of those tips, there is nothing to doubt about how life-like a character is.

gj-minett-author-pic

G.J. Minett’s first book A Hidden Legacy was published by Twenty7 Books then a new imprint of Bonnier Publishing, specialising in debut fiction from every genre. They are incredibly passionate about supporting the best new authors and finding innovative ways of bringing their books to readers across the world.

Lie In Wait
has been published by Bonnier and has already amassed an impressive quantity of five star reviews on Amazon.

You can visit Graham’s author page on Facebook at G.J.Minett author or on Twitter @GJMinett

Lie in Wait

Synopsis

A man is dead. A woman is missing. And the police have already found their prime suspect…

Owen Hall drives into a petrol station to let his passenger use the facilities. She never comes back – and what’s more, it seems she never even made it inside.

When Owen raises a fuss, the police are called – and soon identify Owen himself as a possible culprit – not least because they already have him in the frame for another more sinister crime.

Owen’s always been a little different, and before long others in the community are baying for his blood. But this is a case where nothing is as it seems – least of all Owen Hall…

A dark, addictive thriller, ingeniously plotted with a twist that will make you gasp, LIE IN WAIT is perfect for readers of Angela Marsons or Rachel Abbott. Amazon

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads

The Hidden Legacy by G.J. Minett – Paperback Publication Day

Psychological Thriller 5*s
Psychological Thriller
5*s

I first posted this review in November of last year when Graham’s debut novel was being published in eBook by Twenty7 books, an imprint for debut novels. This book wowed me in so many ways, something which I confirmed by writing another review for A Great Crime Novel Recommendation in memory of book blogger Maxine at Petrona Remembered.

Well today The Hidden Legacy is out in paperback so now is your opportunity to get a copy and read this book for yourself – if you need persuading here is my exuberant review from November!

Every now and again a book really hits all the individual spots that make perfect reading experience for me, this is one of those books!

In 1966 in a school playground in Gloucester, there is a horrific crime committed by a young boy, just eleven years old. Two points hit already; I lived near to, and in Gloucester from the age of nine and didn’t leave the area until I was nineteen so I have a geographical point of reference and I’m really interested in children involved in crime, in fact I only had an exchange about this matter with the learned Margot Kinberg on one of her posts earlier this month. Anyway back to the plot; John Michael Adams was sent to trial and the media went into a frenzy calling him ‘Every Parent’s Nightmare’, and as the book continues, we see that this interest never truly fades away, with every related story or supposed sighting of the grown man, causing a re-hash of the crime complete with his picture and his tag-line. So here is point three, how crime reporting effects both the victims and the perpetrators is also an interest of mine – why do some stories become big news whilst others get barely a mention?

In 2008 Ellen Sutherland, receives a solicitor’s letter from a firm in Cheltenham, some way from her home in West Sussex. Reeling from divorce and busy running a business as well as carrying out the multitude of tasks and pointless conversations that are involved in bringing up two children she is unimpressed that she has to visit the office in person, especially as she has never heard of her benefactor, Eudora Nash. She wants to ask her mother whether she knows who Eudora is, but Barbara is in a home suffering from dementia and so unlikely to be able to solve the mystery. Point four, and this is a biggie, I really enjoy a story where the past comes crashing into the present, and it is this that drew me to this book in the first place. When there is a proper and realistic mystery too as there is in The Hidden Legacy– well a book gets a bonus three points!

Ellen travels alone to find out what her legacy is and to her delight it was worth the drive, a beautiful three bedroomed house complete with contents, but she is no closer to finding out why it was left to her. Already puzzled and confused her suspicions are aroused when from stage left a journalist, the wonderfully portrayed Andrew O’Halloran, appears on the doorstep. At this point Ellen begins to keep her own secrets and starts her investigation into Eudora’s life for real. On returning home she recruits her friend Kate (point eight, I like my protagonists to have friends and ones who are real people not just bystanders) for a road trip the two women travel to Gloucestershire to rifle through the old lady’s papers and to talk to the locals.

And if you want to know any more you are going to have to read the book for yourself. Rest assured the plot is devious and sneaky and thoroughly believable. The writing style is engaging, I really didn’t want to put this one down for anyone or anything, there are plenty of red herrings, detours and locations as the action spreads up to Inverness, through Gloucestershire taking in West Sussex on route, and best of all age old secrets that are ultimately uncovered without descending into farce. So as you see, even if some of the subjects I like to explore in my reading aren’t the same as yours, there is an enormous amount for any reader to enjoy. In fact when I finished writing my review up I went onto Goodreads to get the cover picture for the book and was astounded to see this book currently has a high rating of 4.53, unusual for a debut that as far as I know hasn’t undergone massive hype prior to its publication (in e-book format) on 5 November 2015. This time slip thriller is definitely going to end up on my Top Ten of 2015, enthralling yet giving the reader a reason to explore the effects of a crime on everyone involved – and I will award my final point for this reason.

If you want less gushing and more facts about the book, here is the synopsis

ONCE YOU KNOW, YOU CAN’T FORGET

Ellen has received a life-changing inheritance. If only she knew who had left it to her . . .

1966. A horrifying crime at a secondary school, with devastating consequences for all involved.

2008. A life-changing gift, if only the recipient can work out why . . .

Recently divorced and with two young children, Ellen Sutherland is up to her elbows in professional and personal stress. When she’s invited to travel all the way to Cheltenham to hear the content of an old woman’s will, she’s far from convinced the journey will be worthwhile.
But when she arrives, the news is astounding. Eudora Nash has left Ellen a beautiful cottage worth an amount of money that could turn her life around. There’s just one problem – Ellen has never even heard of Eudora Nash.
Her curiosity piqued, Ellen and her friend Kate travel to the West Country in search of answers. But they are not the only ones interested in the cottage, and Ellen little imagines how much she has to learn about her past . . . Amazon

Paperback Published UK: 25 August 2016
Publisher: Twenty7 Books
No of Pages 448
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Amazon UK
Amazon US

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Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads

Lie In Wait – G.J. Minett

Psychological Thriller 5*s
Crime Thriller
5*s

There are times when I’m reading that I just know that I’m in a pair of safe hands and this is exactly what I felt when I opened the first page of Lie In Wait. That despite not really knowing at the start what this book was going to be about, I could immediately tell though, that this was a different type of book to this author’s debut novel The Hidden Legacy, despite sharing some of the same themes.

The book opens with Owen, our protagonist, clearly a young man who struggles with the social side of life, but is exceptionally good with numbers. Owen has met up with one of his fellow students from the days before he was removed from secondary school to be home-schooled by his mother. As I said, luckily I felt I was in a pair of safe hands because this tale doesn’t go in the same direction as you might expect from such a character. Yes the book is about Owen but there is a whole cast of others that all have pasts and presents that are full of colour and surprises.

Without giving too much away Owen is hired by his old schoolmate Abi to redesign her garden and it is Abi who is the main link to the web of characters that flesh out the storyline. Abi is married to her childhood sweetheart, Callum who is a highly professional networker, hence the ready funds to use on a fancy garden. But there is a twist, Callum and Owen have their own history and the discord runs deep. Despite being successful in his own right Callum appears slightly put out in the change in Owen in the intervening years now he is a tall, well-built owner of his own gardening business.

At its heart there is a straightforward mystery, someone is dead and the police are looking to find out who caused the death. Surrounding this obvious crime there are many smaller crimes being committed, with some dastardly characters some with good intentions, many not so. The reader meets diverse characters such as security guards in the local shopping centre, policemen and friends of the main characters. What you can be sure of is that all of these characters matter to the plot in one way or another, no pointless filling for this author! Each of the chapters is headed with the name of the character narrating and the time period that it covers – yes it is one of those books that keep you on your toes switching not only character but time period. Thankfully the author has managed to give each of the narrators a very distinctive voice so despite the complexity of construction, following the plot as a reader is easy.

The switch in characters definitely kept me hooked particularly when the author tantalisingly ends a chapter with a revelation that you just know is going to have massive consequences and then the time period switches away from that particular cliff-hanger to provide a separate clue or maybe a red-herring to excite you. But what makes this novel so particularly clever, is that yet again G.J. Minett has produced a book that isn’t all action, rather it is has the essence of a psychological thriller in the purest sense. Not everything is spelt out for the reader but as information is revealed be it directly or ‘between the lines’ the reader is invited to think about the background to some of the characters and really evaluate why they behave the way they do.

It is important to me to have a sense of not only the time and the characters but of place. This book is set around Chichester, not a place I’ve been, but I didn’t for a moment doubt that this place exists; with its fancy houses and back alleys, the busy road and its retail park as well as the cinema where Owen treats himself to a solitary film and the fish and chip shop, where he buys his treat for afterwards. is all evocatively described I can believe I’ve visited, more than once.

I’ll be honest there are some parts of the plot which seemed to stretch my credulity, if not to the limit, at least to ‘ooh that’s a bit tight’ point, but by this time I was invested in the story, I wanted to know what happened because like the characters or despise them, they had all become important to me. After all this is what good storytelling is all about!

All in all this was a deeply satisfying read which has real depth to it which despite a complex plot which has been thought out to the nth degree it is an easy and enjoyable read. As an aside the construction of this novel would lend itself very nicely for TV, I would watch it even now I know what happens at the end!!

I received an advance copy of this book from the publishers Bonnier Zaffre, and this review is my unbiased thanks to them and the author for a superb read. Lie In Wait will be published in eBook format on 25 August 2016 with the paperback coming out in November 2016.

Published UK eBook: 25 August 2016
Publisher: Bonnier Zaffre
No of Pages: 400
Genre: Crime Thriller
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (August 10)

This Week In Books

Lypsyy Lost & Found my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I am reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words

At the moment I’m reading Lie In Wait by G.J. Minett which is out in eBook format on 25 August 2016.

Lie In Wait

Blurb

Owen Hall has always been different. A big man with an unusual fixation, one who prefers to put his trust in number patterns rather than in people, it’s unsurprising that he’d draw the attention of a bully.
Or a murder investigation.
And, in the storm of emotions and accusations that erupts when a violent killing affects a small community, it soon becomes clear that a particularly clever murderer might just get away with it.
All they’d need is a likely suspect . . . Goodreads

That was after I finished Did She Kill Him?: A Victorian Tale of Deception, Adultery, and Arsenic by Kate Colquhoun

Did She Kill Him

Blurb

In the summer of 1889, young Southern belle Florence Maybrick stood trial for the alleged arsenic poisoning of her much older husband, Liverpool cotton merchant James Maybrick.
‘The Maybrick Mystery’ had all the makings of a sensation: a pretty, flirtatious young girl; resentful, gossiping servants; rumours of gambling and debt; and torrid mutual infidelity. The case cracked the varnish of Victorian respectability, shocking and exciting the public in equal measure as they clambered to read the latest revelations of Florence’s past and glimpse her likeness in Madame Tussaud’s.
Florence’s fate was fiercely debated in the courtroom, on the front pages of the newspapers and in parlours and backyards across the country. Did she poison her husband? Was her previous infidelity proof of murderous intentions? Was James’ own habit of self-medicating to blame for his demise?
Historian Kate Colquhoun recounts an utterly absorbing tale of addiction, deception and adultery that keeps you asking to the very last page, did she kill him? Goodreads

You can read my review of Did She Kill Him? here

Next I am going to be reading You Should Have Known by Jean Hanff Korelitz, a psychological thriller about a marriage counsellor who doesn’t know where her husband is or what he may have done!

You Should Have Known

See yesterday’s post for the synopsis and an excerpt from this book

What are you reading this week? Please share in the comments envelope below.

Posted in Weekly Posts

Weekly Wrap Up (August 7)

Weekly Wrap Up

Nothing exciting to report from the ranch this week all fairly normal except I managed to smash my phone’s screen which resulted in it having to be fixed – this in turn meant that I was around less on social media than normal this week. But it’s all better now and normal life can resume once more.

Last Week on the Blog

On the blog last week I posted a review one of my favourite reads of the year so far; I See You by Clare Mackintosh meaning that with two five-star reads under her belt that she is now firmly on my ‘must-read’ list of authors. As in her first book, her twelve years in the police force, including a stint in CID adds to the realism of what was a very creepy book, albeit one with a beautiful cover!

My opening paragraph on Tuesday was from the Queen of Crime; Agatha Christie’s The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, the review of this book was posted later in the same week!

Wednesday’s post featured the books I am reading this week, sadly I didn’t take to Eleanor Catton’s The Rehearsal at all and it is a DNF. It is a long time since I have tossed a book aside, I fear I wasn’t in the mood for the arty language and after struggling through the first few chapters have put this aside. I’m a bit disappointed as this was one of my 20 Books of Summer but since I was never going to get to number 20 anyway…

Following my review of The Murder of Roger Ackroyd the poll indicates that my readers favourite Agatha Christie novel is Murder on the Orient Express!

Friday found me talking/rambling about the fact that the end of a book is so important and yet, in order to avoid spoiling the book for other readers, is something I rarely emphasise in my reviews. I then went on to discuss the end of series which the common method for finishing seems to be the death of the protagonist.

Yesterday had me posting my review of Rat Run by Caro Ramsay a police procedural set in Scotland (I do seem to have read a far few Scottish crime novels lately) which has a definite bite to it!

Stacking the Shelves

I was contacted by Bonnier Zaffre to ask if I would like to read G.J. Minett’s second book Lie In Wait. This man’s debut novel The Hidden Legacy was an outstanding read, so after thinking for a millisecond, I swiftly said ‘yes please’ Lie In Wait will be published in eBook format on 25 August 2016.

Lie In Wait

Blurb

Owen Hall has always been different. A big man with an unusual fixation, one who prefers to put his trust in number patterns rather than in people, it’s unsurprising that he’d draw the attention of a bully.
Or a murder investigation.
And, in the storm of emotions and accusations that erupts when a violent killing affects a small community, it soon becomes clear that a particularly clever murderer might just get away with it. NetGalley
All they’d need is a likely suspect . . .

And Fiction Fan kindly let me know  that I’d missed the announcement of the Agatha Christie Blogathon organised by Christina Wehner for 16 to 18 September 2016. It is no secret that I am a huge fan of this author but the re-reads I have been doing over the last couple of years have always been the Poirot books, or standalones because I wasn’t a fan of Miss Marple. I am now biting the bullet and giving Miss Marple a chance, and to be scrupulously fair I researched to see what other readers thought the best one was. I am going to read and review The Murder at the Vicarage but of course in order to do so, I needed a copy of the book!

The Murder at the Vicarage

Blurb

Agatha Christie’s first ever Miss Marple mystery, reissued with a striking cover designed to appeal to the latest generation of Agatha Christie fans and book lovers.
’Anyone who murdered Colonel Protheroe,’ declared the parson, brandishing a carving knife above a joint of roast beef, ‘would be doing the world at large a service!’
It was a careless remark for a man of the cloth. And one which was to come back and haunt the clergyman just a few hours later. From seven potential murderers, Miss Marple must seek out the suspect who has both motive and opportunity. Amazon

So that’s me, what have you found to read this week?

PicMonkey Collage TBR

TBR WATCH
Since my last post I have read 3 books, discarded 1 and gained 2 so the total this week is now standing at 174 books!
87 physical books
68 e-books
19 books on NetGalley

Posted in Uncategorized

#CoverReveal – Hidden Legacy by G.J. Minett

The Hidden Legacy Cover Reveal

I was honoured and thrilled to be asked by the lovely Emily Burns from Midas PR to reveal the cover for the paperback verion of The Hidden Legacy which will be available on 25 August 2016 by Twenty7 books. This book really wowed me and so I think it is fitting it has such a brilliant new cover, one that will soon be gracing bookshelves up and down the land – Isn’t it a beauty?

Blurb

1966. A horrifying crime at a secondary school, with devastating consequences for all involved.
2008. A life-changing gift, if only the recipient can work out why . . .
Recently divorced and with two young children, Ellen Sutherland is up to her elbows in professional and personal stress. When she’s invited to travel all the way to Cheltenham to hear the content of an old woman’s will, she’s far from convinced the journey will be worthwhile.
But when she arrives, the news is astounding. Eudora Nash has left Ellen a beautiful cottage worth an amount of money that could turn her life around. There’s just one problem – Ellen has never even heard of Eudora Nash.
Her curiosity piqued, Ellen and her friend Kate travel to the West Country in search of answers. But they are not the only ones interested in the cottage, and Ellen little imagines how much she has to learn about her past . . . Amazon

The Hidden Legacy was initially published in eBook format on 5 November 2015 which is how the publishers Twenty7 Books launch the debut novels they have hand-picked for our delight. There was little doubt that it would make one of my Top Ten Books of 2015 Readers of my blog may have been able to predict this as the tone was somewhat gushing, it started like this…

Every now and again a book really hits all the individual spots that make perfect reading experience for me, this is one of those books!

You can read the rest of the review here

I’m not the only one to be deeply impressed by this book, 99 other reviewers on Amazon UK have also awarded The Hidden Legacy the full five stars!!

When I was contemplating which book to recommend to Maxine on the blog set up in her memory Petrona Remembered,  it didn’t take me long to realise this was the one that was the best fit for an ‘intelligent’ crime novel and even better it is immensely readable.

That post started like this…

…being a lover of ‘intelligent’ crime fiction and in my opinion this book, a debut novel, fits that phrase exactly. The Hidden Legacy doesn’t just have excellent plotting, it is one of those books that ask the big ‘moral’ questions wrapped up in a story that touches on some big issues.

Interested? You can read the rest of this review which talks about the many layers to this book, the different time periods and narratives, here

But better still if you prefer reading a physical book then you can pre-order this now and plan to finish the summer with a bang!!

If now you’ve read more about this book you can’t wait to August why don’t you purchase it for your eReader?

You can tweet with Graham at @GJMinett or follow him on Facebook G.J.Minett author – he really is such a lovely man so I can’t quite work out how he dreamt up the shocking opening to The Hidden Legacy