Posted in #20 Books of Summer 2017, Book Review, Books I have read

Dear Mr. M – Herman Koch #20booksofsummer

Contemporary Fiction
4*s

The words that come to my mind when I think about Herman Koch’s writing are despicable characters, sardonic humour and very, very dark. Dear Mr. M without a doubt, lived up to this assessment, easily matching these ingredients first met in The Dinner and Summer House with Swimming Pool.

In this book we have a neighbour obsessed with a writer, aging M who lives in the same block of apartments as he does in Amsterdam.

Dear Mr. M,
I’d like to start by telling you that I’m doing better now. I do so because you probably have no idea that I was ever doing worse. Much worse, in fact, but I’ll get to that later on….

Yes, I have certain plans for you, Mr. M  You may think you’re alone, but as of today I’m here too…

Right from the off, even if you have picked this book up blind, there is a real sense of creepiness, and this persists right through the novel.

Our narrator, the neighbour gives us a full picture of just the kind of man is; a writer who had one hit book, Payback, a writer who although he has written other books now has his greatest hit quite far in the past. He is pompous and scathing of everyone he knows and seemingly incapable without his young wife to tend to him. We don’t however have a name for the narrator, or what he does, but we do know he stalks the author in the most insidious manner, and we have a feeling that there is a purpose, just what, is the mystery.

“By using the word ‘tolerance,’ you’re simply placing yourself on a higher plane than those you tolerate. Tolerance is only possible when one fosters a deep rooted sense of superiority.”

The subject matter for Mr. M’s best-seller was based on the mysterious disappearance forty years before of a trendy school-teacher. The last known sighting of the teacher, Mr Landzaat, was at the holiday home of his pupil Laura who was staying for the Christmas holiday with her classmate Herman. Laura had been the teacher’s lover, but by the time he disappeared their liaison was over and Mr Landzaat was on his way to Paris to welcome in the New Year with friends, but he disappeared one snowy day never to be seen again.

This book is, as might be expected, full of contradictions and spikiness. We attend literary events courtesy of our famous author and see his take on the behind the scenes one-upmanship which it’s only too easy to believe might just exist between literary authors. We also have a sense that his younger wife has been chosen just to get up the nose of those authors who are somewhat higher up the bestseller list than our subject, who churns out war stories, Payback being a one-off foray into a different kind of writing. The signings and the publisher events are marred not just by the lack of his current success but the belt-tightening of the industry with lavish dinners of the past giving way to buffets in the present day.

The seemingly unrelated storylines that make up this book are cleverly combined as the book progresses but even when I was unsure quite how this was going to work, each individual strand is a delight in itself, an insight into the most unattractive people you would probably wish to spend time with. Please don’t read this book if you need to like at least one of the characters, I can guarantee you won’t enjoy this bunch at all! But if like me, you enjoy a clever book, one that is quite unlike anything else you are likely to read, Dear Mr. M will both delight and horrify you in equal measure.

Dear Mr. M was my nineteenth read in my 20 Books of Summer Challenge.

First Published UK: 25 August 2016
Publisher: Picador
No of Pages: 416
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (August 23)

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 the last in my 20 Books of Summer 2017 Challenge; The Summer House by Santa Montefiore. So I’ve just got to catch up with all the reviews after this one…

Blurb

Antoinette’s world has fallen apart: her husband, the man she has loved for as long as she can remember, has died tragically in an accident. He was her rock, the man she turned to for love and support, the man she knew better than she knew herself. Or at least so she thought…

For as she arrives at the familiar old stone church for George’s funeral, she sees a woman she has never met before.
Phaedra loved George too, and she could not bear to stay away from his funeral. But as she sits before his wife, she knows that what she is about to reveal will change all their lives forever.

This book is published in the US under the title The Girl From Paris Amazon

I have just finished Dear Mr M by Herman Koch, another book by this author which has the kind of darkness that makes you feel like you shouldn’t be reading… but I couldn’t help myself!

Blurb

Dear Mr. M,
I’d like to start by telling you that I’m doing better now. I do so because you probably have no idea that I was ever doing worse. Much worse, in fact, but I’ll get to that later on.

Mr. M is being watched. As a famous writer, he is no stranger to the limelight, although interest in his work has been dwindling of late. His print runs are smaller than they used to be, as are the crowds at his bookshop signings . . . Our narrator clearly takes a keen interest in M.’s work, and indeed in every aspect of his life. But what exactly are his intentions? And to what does Mr. M owe the honour of his undivided attention?

Our narrator seems to be no stranger to murder, while his own story appears to bear more than a passing resemblance to the plot of Mr. M’s most famous novel: a teacher has an affair with a student, only to be brutally murdered by the girl and her teenage boyfriend. The body is never found.

That’s the problem with fiction: in real life, bodies have an awkward habit of turning up. Mr. M has used some artistic licence, and our narrator is not pleased, not pleased at all. And just before he fades into obscurity, he’s prepared to give Mr. M one last review. And it’s unlikely to be a rave. Amazon

Next I am planning on reading Lost in the Lake by A.J. Waines which will be published on 7 September 2017.

Blurb

She came at first for answers…now she’s back for you

Amateur viola player Rosie Chandler is the sole survivor of a crash which sends members of a string quartet plunging into a lake. Convinced the ‘accident’ was deliberate, but unable to recall what happened, she is determined to recover her lost memories and seeks out clinical psychologist, Dr Samantha Willerby.

But Rosie is hiding something…

Sam is immediately drawn to the tragic Rosie and as she helps her piece the fragments together, the police find disturbing new evidence which raises further questions. Why is Rosie so desperate to recover her worthless viola? And what happened to the violin lost in the crash, worth over £2m?

When Rosie insists they return to the lake to relive the fatal incident, the truth about Rosie finally creeps up on Sam – but by now, she’s seriously out of her depth…

A stand alone novel (and the second book in the Dr Samantha Willerby series), Lost in the Lake is a nail-biting, edge-of-your-seat Psychological Thriller that will leave you glancing over your shoulder. Amazon

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

Posted in #20 Books of Summer 2017

20 Books of Summer 2017 – Part 2 #20booksofsummer

Cathy at Cathy 746 has a yearly challenge to read twenty books over the summer months starting on 1 June 2017 and running until 3 September 2017, and once again I’ve decided to join her.

My aim this year was to read all twenty books in the allotted time span but the plan has been somewhat disrupted, however despite only posting reviews for books 1 – 5 of the challenge (you can see the original list the master page here) I have actually finished reading the first set of 10 with reviews to follow,  and so it’s time to choose the next set in the hope I will magically get these read before the cut-off date!

The links below will take you to the Goodreads description

The Ripper of Waterloo Road by Jan Bondeson

The Spider and the Fly by Claudia Rowe

Dear Mr M by Herman Koch

Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood

Stranger in the House by Julie Summers

Before the Poison by Peter Robinson

The Summer House by Santa Montefiore

The Judges Wife by Ann O’Loughlin

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne

Murder is Easy by Agatha Christie

My original second list looked a wee bit on the bleak side so I chose some cheerier books to break it up but never fear there is plenty of murder to get me through August!


I will continue to tweet my way through the challenge using the hashtag #20booksofsummer to demonstrate when one of my reads is part of this challenge!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I seem to have a big pile of books to read!

Any of these take your fancy?

Posted in Weekly Posts

Weekly Wrap Up (January 8)

Weekly Wrap Up

Well it seems like an age since I have done one of these weekly wrap-up posts. I hope you all had a good time over the holiday period and I wish you all the best for 2017.

I do like starting up new pages for each year and I have decided to post the reviews written in 2017 onto their own page, even those I read in 2016. I know this is going to confuse my counting later on in the year when my reads will be lower than the number of reviews, but believe me when I say I’ve deliberated long and hard before coming to a conclusion!!

deliberating

On The Blog

My first post of the year was aptly titled the First Book of the Year 2017 and featured a book very close to my heart, the one I chose to read over the New Year; A Dangerous Crossing by Rachel Rhys. I have to say this post was phenomenally popular completely smashing my previous views for a day by nearly double! I am not sure that Owen would have been quite so pleased to have his photo all over social media, especially with his slightly tipsy mother!

On Monday I posted my first review of the year, Painkiller by N.J. Fountain, a psychological thriller about a woman who lives with chronic pain since an accident five years before, which proved to be far more enjoyable than I expected.

My excerpt choice this week came from Relativity by Antonia Hayes which I thought got off to a strong start.

On Wednesday in This Week in Books, I emphasised my plan to read more of my own books with one of the books that has been on my TBR since 2015; Redemption by Jill McGown

Thursday’s review was another psychological thriller, bear with me, I’m reading an awful lot of review copies at the moment to be able to achieve the reduction in the TBR – no laughing at the back! What Remains of Me by Alison Gaylin didn’t work as well as it might have for me, but there are elements that I’m sure others will love

Good Me, Bad Me by Ali Land has already received a lot of attention in the book world, and it’s not published until 12 January! With it’s intriguing premise of a teenager who shopped her mother for being a serial killer, this proved to be an unsettling and well-executed read.

Yesterday with my fourth review of the week, and another psychological thriller; Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson was written by a writer I admire through his previous work. Complex and yet easy to read this creepy thriller certainly got under my skin.

This Time Last Year…

I was reading The Lake House by Kate Morton. I love dual time line stories when they are done well, and Kate Morton has a reputation for doing them really well. This tale had me entranced over the first few days of January 2016 with a number of different pasts being featured. I especially liked the fact that there were books within the book which added appeal to this incredibly readable novel. You can read my full review here

The Lake House

Blurb

A missing child . . .
June 1933, and the Edevane family’s country house, Loeanneth, is polished and gleaming, ready for the much-anticipated Midsummer Eve party. Alice Edevane, sixteen years old and a budding writer, is especially excited. Not only has she worked out the perfect twist for her novel, she’s also fallen helplessly in love with someone she shouldn’t. But by the time midnight strikes and fireworks light up the night skies, the Edevane family will have suffered a loss so great that they leave Loeanneth forever.
An abandoned house . . .
Seventy years later, after a particularly troubling case, Sadie Sparrow is sent on an enforced break from her job with the Metropolitan Police. She retreats to her beloved grandfather’s cottage in Cornwall but soon finds herself at a loose end. Until one day, Sadie stumbles upon an abandoned house surrounded by overgrown gardens and dense woods, and learns the story of a baby boy who disappeared without a trace.
An unsolved mystery . . .
Meanwhile, in the attic writing room of her elegant Hampstead home, the formidable Alice Edevane, now an old lady, leads a life as neatly plotted as the bestselling detective novels she writes. Until a young police detective starts asking questions about her family’s past, seeking to resurrect the complex tangle of secrets Alice has spent her life trying to escape… Amazon

Stacking The Shelves

I had an unprecedented influx of books (yes even for me!) in the week before Christmas and of course, I received few books for presents. Some have already appeared on the blog so I’ve decided to spotlight a few this week.

I have a copy of Quieter Thank Killing by the wonderful Sarah Hilary, the fourth in the Marcie Rome series which will be published on 9 March 2017.

quieter-than-killing

Blurb

‘You only ever ask that. Why did I do it? You never ask what they did.’
The winter cold is biting, and a series of assaults is pulling DI Marnie Rome and DS Noah Jake out into the frosty, mean streets of London far more than they’d like. The attacks seem random, but when Marnie’s family home is ransacked, there are signs that the burglary can have only been committed by a child – and someone who knows all about her. It will take a prison visit to her foster brother, Stephen, to help Marnie see the connections – and to force both her and Noah to face the truth about the creeping, chilling reaches of a troubled upbringing. For how can a damaged child really leave their past behind them? Amazon

I have a copy of The Doll Funeral by Kate Hamer which is set in the Forest of Dean in 1983. I simply had to read this one because that’s where I lived in 1983, and like the protagonist Ruby, I was thirteen that year too, so I was delighted when the kind people at Faber & Faber sent me a copy.

the-doll-funeral

Blurb

My name is Ruby. I live with Barbara and Mick. They’re not my real parents, but they tell me what to do, and what to say. I’m supposed to say that the bruises on my arms and the black eye came from falling down the stairs.
But there are things I won’t say. I won’t tell them I’m going to hunt for my real parents. I don’t say a word about Shadow, who sits on the stairs, or the Wasp Lady I saw on the way to bed.
I did tell Mick that I saw the woman in the buttercup dress, hanging upside down from her seat belt deep in the forest at the back of our house. I told him I saw death crawl out of her. He said he’d give me a medal for lying.
I wasn’t lying. I’m a hunter for lost souls and I’m going to be with my real family. And I’m not going to let Mick stop me. Amazon

I got given a copy of Herman Koch’s Dear Mr M by my brother for Christmas – I think he likes that I have a large selection to chose from on my wishlist! This one added because I admired both The Dinner and Summer House with Swimming Pool

dear-mr-m

Blurb

Dear Mr. M,
I’d like to start by telling you that I’m doing better now. I do so because you probably have no idea that I was ever doing worse. Much worse, in fact, but I’ll get to that later on.

Mr. M is being watched. As a famous writer, he is no stranger to the limelight, although interest in his work has been dwindling of late. His print runs are smaller than they used to be, as are the crowds at his bookshop signings . . . Our narrator clearly takes a keen interest in M.’s work, and indeed in every aspect of his life. But what exactly are his intentions? And to what does Mr. M owe the honour of his undivided attention?
Our narrator seems to be no stranger to murder, while his own story appears to bear more than a passing resemblance to the plot of Mr. M’s most famous novel: a teacher has an affair with a student, only to be brutally murdered by the girl and her teenage boyfriend. The body is never found.
That’s the problem with fiction: in real life, bodies have an awkward habit of turning up. Mr. M has used some artistic licence, and our narrator is not pleased, not pleased at all. And just before he fades into obscurity, he’s prepared to give Mr. M one last review. And it’s unlikely to be a rave.  Amazon

My daughter went with a far less subtle choice of Talking With Serial Killers by Christopher Berry-Dee as my Christmas book.

talking-with-serial-killers

Blurb

An investigative criminologist, Christopher Berry-Dee is a man who talks to serial killers. Their pursuit of horror and violence is described in their own words, transcribed from audio and videotape interviews conducted deep inside some of the toughest prisons in the world. Berry-Dee describes the circumstances of his meetings with some of the world’s most evil men and reproduces, verbatim, their very words as they describe their crimes and discuss their remorse – or lack of it. This work offers a penetrating insight into the workings of the criminal mind. Amazon

And lastly from NetGalley I have a late entry of a book I’ve been longing to read; The Good People by Hannah Kent. Burial Rites was one of those books that I’d had on my kindle for a long time and I didn’t get around to reading it until early last year – I loved it, definitely one of my favourite reads of the year so I have high hopes for The Good People

the-good-people

Blurb

County Kerry, Ireland, 1825.
NÓRA, bereft after the sudden death of her beloved husband, finds herself alone and caring for her young grandson Micheál. Micheál cannot speak and cannot walk and Nóra is desperate to know what is wrong with him. What happened to the healthy, happy grandson she met when her daughter was still alive?

MARY arrives in the valley to help Nóra just as the whispers are spreading: the stories of unexplained misfortunes, of illnesses, and the rumours that Micheál is a changeling child who is bringing bad luck to the valley.

NANCE’s knowledge keeps her apart. To the new priest, she is a threat, but to the valley people she is a wanderer, a healer. Nance knows how to use the plants and berries of the woodland; she understands the magic in the old ways. And she might be able to help Micheál.

As these three women are drawn together in the hope of restoring Micheál, their world of folklore and belief, of ritual and stories, tightens around them. It will lead them down a dangerous path, and force them to question everything they have ever known.

Based on true events and set in a lost world bound by its own laws, The Good People is Hannah Kent’s startling new novel about absolute belief and devoted love. Terrifying, thrilling and moving in equal measure, this long-awaited follow-up to Burial Rites shows an author at the height of her powers. NetGalley

TBR Watch

I’m going to say it really quickly the first count in 2016 came to 171 books, so lets see how this has worked shall we?
tbr-watch

As the books have been flooding in I’m just going to stand up and say – since my last post I’ve read lots of books but gained even more!
Physical Books – 103
Kindle Books – 70
NetGalley Books – 11

Giving a grand total for the first week of 2017 of 184 books.

If you didn’t manage to catch my post of my Top Ten Books Published in 2016 you can see it here, or check out the page on the tabs – Now I have my favourite reads for four years, I feel like a proper blogger!

What have you found to read this week?

 

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

Summer House with Swimming Pool – Herman Koch

Contemporary Fiction 4*'s
Contemporary Fiction
4*’s

To avoid spoiling this book for anyone who hasn’t read I am unable to tell you very much about the plot at all as this is one of those books which needs to be discovered page by page.

Dr. Marc Schlosser, a GP is the narrator, our main protagonist and at the very beginning of the book we find out that he is about to face the Board of Medical Examiners. We know this is connected to the death of Ralph Meier, a famous actor and his wife is accusing the doctor of murder. The only thing we know what connects these two men is that the root of this death went back to a consultation by the doctor eighteen months previously.

The structure of the book takes us back from the present and builds up to a vacation taken at a Summer House with Swimming Pool then moves up the arc the other side back to the present. This works incredibly well, giving a feeling that Herman Koch is inviting the reader to make a judgment on the characters. The characters in this book are not as inherently as dislikeable as those in The Dinner but their actions are just as questionable, not least, our narrator Dr. Marc Shlosser whose thoughts on his patients alone made me wince (and make me wonder about my own doctor). However when we see Marc in a domestic setting, a different side of him shines through.

Herman Koch is exceptionally good at managing the pace in this book. I really needed to keep reading, I had to know what had happened to lead Marc to the Board of Medical Examiners and I desperately wanted to know what the outcome would be; but ultimately, this is a book about morality. What you as a reader find sympathy with and what you find abhorrent will potentially be different to my views. In my opinion this is one of the reasons why I liked reading this book, despite the feeling that this was almost a train crash in slow motion. I love the darkness to the writing, Marc’s views are imposed on the reader and these range from his patients, the arts, certain types of people and virtually anything that makes his life uncomfortable are astute if at times almost intolerably objectionable.

Like The Dinner it is hard for me to state I enjoyed this book, for the same types of reasons at times I had to squint at the page because as much I needed to know what happened next, I almost didn’t want to get drawn any further into the murky depths of horror, so much more repulsive for what wasn’t said.

I found myself thinking about Marc at odd times long after I’d left the book. If that isn’t the sign of a book that makes you think, question where you stand on the line of morality, I don’t know what is.

I’d like to thank the publishers Crown Publishing for a copy of this book prior to the publication date of 3 June 2014 in return for this honest review.

My review of The Dinner

Posted in Weekly Posts

WWW Wednesday (May 21)

WWW Wednesday green

Hosted by Miz B at Should be Reading
To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…
• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

I am currently reading Elizabeth Is Missing by Emma Healey

Elizabeth is Missing
Blurb

How do you solve a crime when you can’t remember the clues?
Maud is forgetful. She makes a cup of tea and doesn’t remember to drink it. She goes to the shops and forgets why she went. Back home she finds the place horribly unrecognizable – just like she sometimes thinks her daughter Helen is a total stranger.
But there’s one thing Maud is sure of: her friend Elizabeth is missing. The note in her pocket tells her so. And no matter who tells her to stop going on about it, to leave it alone, to shut up, Maud will get to the bottom of it.
Because somewhere in Maud’s damaged mind lies the answer to an unsolved seventy-year-old mystery. One everyone has forgotten about.
Everyone, except Maud. NetGalley

I have just finished reading Summer House with Swimming Pool by Herman Koch

My review will follow shortly.

Summer House With Swimming Pool

Blurb

When a medical mistake goes horribly wrong and Ralph Meier, a famous actor, winds up dead, Dr. Marc Schlosser is forced to conceal the error from his patients and family. After all, reputation is everything in this business. But the weight of carrying such a secret lies heavily on his mind, and he can’t keep hiding from the truth…or the Board of Medical Examiners.

Next I will be reading The Murder of Harriet Krohn by Karin Fossum

The Murder of Harriet Krohn

Blurb

On a wet, gray night in early November, Charlo Torp, a former gambler who’s only recently kicked the habit, makes his way through the slush to Harriet Krohn’s apartment, flowers in hand. Certain that paying off his debt is the only path to starting a new life and winning his daughter’s forgiveness, Charlo plans to rob the wealthy old woman’s antique silver collection. What he doesn’t expect is for her to put up a fight.
The following morning Harriet is found dead, her antique silver missing, and the only clue Inspector Sejer and his team find in the apartment is an abandoned bouquet. Charlo should feel relieved, but he’s heard of Sejer’s amazing record — the detective has solved every case he’s ever been assigned to.
Told through the eyes of a killer, The Murder of Harriet Krohn poses the question: how far would you go to turn your life around, and could you live with yourself afterward? Goodreads

What are you reading this week?

Posted in Weekly Posts

Teaser Tuesday (May 20)

Teasing Tuesday CB

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read

• Open to a random page

• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to

My Teaser this week is from Summer House with Swimming Pool by Herman Koch, the author who wrote one of the most uncomfortable yet astute novels I’ve ever read in The Dinner.

Summer House With Swimming Pool

Blurb

When a medical procedure goes horribly wrong and famous actor Ralph Meier winds up dead, Dr. Marc Schlosser needs to come up with some answers. After all, reputation is everything in this business. Personally, he’s not exactly upset that Ralph is gone, but as a high profile doctor to the stars, Marc can’t hide from the truth forever.

It all started the previous summer. Marc, his wife, and their two beautiful teenage daughters agreed to spend a week at the Meier’s extravagant summer home on the Mediterranean. Joined by Ralph and his striking wife Judith, her mother, and film director Stanley Forbes and his much younger girlfriend, the large group settles in for days of sunshine, wine tasting, and trips to the beach. But when a violent incident disrupts the idyll, darker motivations are revealed, and suddenly no one can be trusted. As the ultimate holiday soon turns into a nightmare, the circumstances surrounding Ralph’s later death begin to reveal the disturbing reality behind that summer’s tragedy. NetGalley

My Teaser

“Murderer!” she screamed
I glanced over at my patients in the waiting space; I knew all three of them by sight. A film director with hemorrhoids, a gallery owner with erectile dysfunction, and a no-longer-so-very-fresh-faced actress who was expecting her first chid – albeit not from the blond, hulking, and permanently unshaven actor she had married seven months earlier in a Tuscan castle, all paid for by the society program on the commercial TV channel that had been granted exclusive broadcast rights to the entire ceremony and after-party.

Share your thoughts with me as well as a link to your Tuesday Teaser.

Posted in Weekly Posts

Friday Finds (January 24)

Friday Finds Hosted by Should be Reading

FRIDAY FINDS showcases the books you ‘found’ and added to your To Be Read (TBR) list… whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library — wherever! (they aren’t necessarily books you purchased).

So, come on — share with us your FRIDAY FINDS!

First up this week is a new novel by Herman Koch, Summer House With Swimming Pool due to be published by Crown Publishing on 3 June 2014 I have a copy from NetGalley! I’m especially pleased with this find as I was one of those people who appreciated (enjoyed is the wrong word) The Dinner.

Summer House With Swimming Pool

Blurb

When a medical procedure goes horribly wrong and famous actor Ralph Meier winds up dead, Dr. Marc Schlosser needs to come up with some answers. After all, reputation is everything in this business. Personally, he’s not exactly upset that Ralph is gone, but as a high profile doctor to the stars, Marc can’t hide from the truth forever.
It all started the previous summer. Marc, his wife, and their two beautiful teenage daughters agreed to spend a week at the Meier’s extravagant summer home on the Mediterranean. Joined by Ralph and his striking wife Judith, her mother, and film director Stanley Forbes and his much younger girlfriend, the large group settles in for days of sunshine, wine tasting, and trips to the beach. But when a violent incident disrupts the idyll, darker motivations are revealed, and suddenly no one can be trusted. As the ultimate holiday soon turns into a nightmare, the circumstances surrounding Ralph’s later death begin to reveal the disturbing reality behind that summer’s tragedy. NetGalley

This is billed as another controversial book that will be talked about so watch this space….

I also have secured a copy of Daughter by Jane Shemilt from Penguin books, to be published on 14 August 2014.

Daughter

Blurb

Jenny loves her three teenage children and her husband, Ted, a celebrated neurosurgeon. She loves the way that, as a family, they always know each other’s problems and don’t keep secrets from each other.
But when her youngest child, fifteen-year-old Naomi, doesn’t come home after her school play and a nationwide search for her begins, secrets previously kept from Jenny are revealed.
Naomi has vanished, leaving her family broken and her mother desperately searching for answers. But the traces Naomi’s left behind reveal a very different girl to the one Jenny thought she’d raised. And the more she looks the more she learns that everyone she trusted has been keeping secrets.
How well does she really know her sons, her husband? How well did she know Naomi? If Jenny is going to find her, she’ll have to first uncover the truth about the daughter she thought told her everything. NetGalley

and finally a copy of After The Silence by Jake Woodhouse due to be published on 24 April 2014 by Penguin Books. It’ll be my first crime novel set in Amsterdam, a city I love so I’m looking forward to this read.

After The Silence

Blurb

A murdered policeman, a dead businessman hanging from a hook, a building burnt to the ground in an arson attack and a missing girl – identity unknown.
It’s up to damaged, world-weary Inspector Jaap Rykel of Amsterdam’s finest to piece it all together. Alongside him he’s got an inexperienced female detective wrestling with the ghosts of her past, and a Sergeant with a drugs habit. And then there’s the internal affairs investigation . . .NetGalley

I found Where Petals Fall by Melissa Foster on My Reading Corner

Where Petals Fall

Blurb

On the surface Junie Olson’s life looks idyllic, from her handsome husband and beautiful daughter to her successful business, the bakery she always dreamed of opening. But in the past few months her world has slowly unraveled. Her precocious child is withdrawing, showing unexplainable signs of emotional regression, a condition that frays the bonds of Junie’s once impenetrable marriage. When her father dies suddenly of a heart attack, Junie packs up her daughter and goes home to help her mother. Her homecoming stirs up memories of the nightmare she thought she had put behind her, the disappearance of her childhood friend, Ellen. Haunted by recurring memories of what happened on that fateful day, Junie must gather the courage to revisit her past and untangle the secrets surrounding her missing friend, and the trauma that has caused her little girl to climb back into herself. As the pieces come together on the event that shook her small town, and at the risk of losing everyone she loves, Junie will question everything she thought she could rely on and everyone she thought she knew.

Read the review here

My last addition to the TBR was prompted by a brilliant review of a Somewhere in France by Jennifer Robson by Diary Of An Eccentric  led this one to be added to my TBR

somewhere-in-france

This novel set around the Great War will go nicely with the others I have from this time period. To ring the changes this book looks at the role of women ambulance drivers in France. Read the full review here

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

The Dinner – Herman Koch

Contemporary Fiction 4*'s
Contemporary Fiction
4*’s

When I have mentioned that I was going to read this book I received a number of comments that made me think I wasn’t going to like it – that wasn’t strictly true, it was a good read but not enjoyable due to the horrific actions recounted.

Set across the course of a dinner in a Dutch restaurant two men sit down to discuss their sons. Paul and Serge, and their wives, Claire and Babette, meet for dinner in a swanky restaurant in Amsterdam. Each of the couples has a 15-year-old son and, we discover, the dinner has been arranged to discuss a horrifying act perpetrated by the two boys.

What follows is a shocking tale, and I don’t use that phrase lightly.  This is not a simple tale of the boy’s transgressions but a journey back through time showing how earlier actions led to the need to have the dinner.

I found this book thought-provoking although it wasn’t what you could call an entirely enjoyable read.  In short there were moments when I was genuinely shocked at the revelations on the page in front of me.  I found it disturbing how my sympathy for the various characters changed totally with each piece of information casually revealed.

The root of this tale of how far should a parent go to protect their child? A ‘What would you do?’ sort of story.   A look at what happens when certainties of middle-class are shattered. Don’t be deceived though, it is also more than that, an example of how the surface of a family can hide much darker undertones.  I found the way that the truth of what has happened and why  coming out over the course of a dinner a great setting.  To then realise that I felt totally differently about the four diners at the end than I had at the beginning the mark of a clever author it’s just a shame that his characters were morally deficient.

Posted in Weekly Posts

WWW Wednesday (October 9)

WWW Wednesday green

Hosted by Miz B at Should be Reading

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…
• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

I am currently reading

 

The Doll’s House by Louise Phillips. Really enjoying this crime novel with multiple strands.

I have just finished Sixteen Sixty-One by Natalie Lucas which tells the tale of an inter generational relation, much more to this than I anticipated!

Next I will read The Silent Tide by Rachel Hore.