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

Broken Heart – Tim Weaver #20booksofsummer

Crime Fiction
3*s

A car-park in Somerset is the scene of the disappearance of Linda Korin who drove in one day, left her car and was never seen again. The police investigate but are unable to come up with a satisfactory query of what happened the most likely explanation is that she went into the sea, a theory that doesn’t really stack up as the tide was out at the time her car is captured on CCTV going into the car park. After months with no news Linda’s sister in America asks David Raker to take on the case.

Tim Weaver has produced something quite special with this series, Broken Heart being the seventh book. We have crime fiction but the focus is on missing people rather than dead bodies and in doing so often uncovers tales which are mulit-layered and unusual. Here we have a woman in her sixties, and although she is beautiful having been a former model and actress in second-rate horror movies, she is not the typical crime fiction victim.

The story had me engaged, from the start I was trying to work out how the facts presented could be, you see this is one author that doesn’t ‘cheat.’ There is no trying to gloss over incontrovertible facts by having random witnesses lying for no good reason all the many problems to solve, and there are lots within this novel, are unravelled fairly. After a skype meeting with Linda’s sister, Wendy Fisher he begins to look at her early life with her husband who had been a famous film director until he was exiled from Hollywood to Spain for being a communist.

Having read and been engaged in the lives of the subjects, as well as fully entertained by David Raker himself in the previous books I found this one veered perhaps down a too convoluted path for me although I am mindful that due to events in my personal life I wasn’t perhaps in the right frame of mind for any book at this time. So my observations are that there was more violence in this episode than the previous books in the series and the expose into film making was fascinating but perhaps a little bit too ‘nerdy’ for those of us who aren’t as thrilled by the subject as Tim Weaver as a result the endless playing of sections of a film, a director obsessed by his star and lost copies of films made years previously which included fairly lengthy explanations of how originals need to be stored to keep them from deteriorating slowed the pace down for me. If you have a love of old Hollywood movies, especially those naff horror ones, then you will love this aspect. What is not in doubt that there is a complicated mystery to be solved and my sleuthing didn’t even come close.

Ultimately although the storyline was inspired by the film world, underneath, as in all good books this is about people and you don’t have to have an interest in the parts to be interested in how others behave.

Broken Heart was my tenth read in my 20 Books of Summer 2017  Challenge.

First Published UK: 28 July 2016
Publisher: Penguin
No of Pages: 528
Genre: Crime Fiction Series
Amazon UK
Amazon US 

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

What Remains of Me – Alison Gaylin

Psychological Thriller 3*s
Psychological Thriller
3*s

On a hot summer night in 1980 Kelly Lund killed John McFadden, a famous film director. Kelly is imprisoned for the crime at aged just seventeen, and she does her time. Thirty years later, five years after Kelly’s release from prison, her father-in-law, Sterling Marshall, a movie star, is murdered. In 1980 following her appearance in court she was pictured with a half-smile on her face, that picture has accompanied every story written about Kelly and John McFadden ever since, it looks like it may need another airing now.

The book uses the setting of Hollywood itself to underpin a book which shows us the events of 1980 in flashback. It is a tale of a poor kid mixing with the elite and not fitting in. at school not helped by the fact that Kelly had a sister who committed suicide after getting in with the rich and famous and her mother is terrified that Kelly will follow in her footsteps. That doesn’t seem likely at first with Kelly being of a far quieter nature, but then Bellamy choses her to be her friend and soon she is mixing with her famous friends. We get to see the progression where Kelly doesn’t really feel like she belongs; she lives in Hollywood because her father was a stunt man and her mother a make-up artist, a life where the huge houses and free access to drink and drugs has never been part of her world, but once she teams up with Bellamy, it is.

In 2010 the police don’t immediately swoop in on Kelly Lund their approach being far more stealthy, which is just as well because she has a backer, someone who doesn’t believe she is guilty of the latest murder and will fight to prove it. Her husband Shane is welcomed back into the family bosom, his marriage to Kelly having caused a little bit of consternation, and they are all pointing the finger at the former killer.

Kelly Lund was a bit of an enigma throughout this book, understandably so as part of the mystery is whether she is a murderer or not, but for me, this device meant that it was quite hard to connect with her, and perhaps, not being interested in being rich or famous myself, I wasn’t as impressed by the Hollywood lifestyle as Kelly was. On her release from prison Kelly isn’t that impressed either and she lives a quiet life with her husband Shane some distance away from the scene of the first crime, but the links, however weak, are still there.

This book had many of the individual elements that make for a good read, a strong, well-thought out plot, an interesting protagonist, a whole boxful of secrets and a heap of red-herrings, but for me, it just didn’t culminate in the type of absorbing read I expected. This wasn’t helped by the slow start, the numerous cruel characters and the absence of any real information about what it was that meant that Kelly was convicted of the first murder. It was just all a little too elusive for my tastes. For all that the events that led to both deaths, once revealed meant that a lot of the earlier confusion was cleared up, ideal for readers who enjoy a slow burn and are more patient than me at sitting it out until the conclusion.

I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy of What Remains of Me from the publishers Random House UK, this review is my unbiased thanks to them.

First Published UK: 1 December 2016
Publisher:Random House UK
No of Pages: 400
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Amazon UK
Amazon US