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

In the Dark – Cara Hunter

Crime Fiction
5*s

This is the second in the series by Cara Hunter featuring DI Adam Fawley. It might be set in Oxford but we have quite a different type of detective, crimes and characters than those who featured in Inspector Morse.

DI Adam Fawley falls into the breed of likeable detective. As you’d expect, he has some baggage, but in his case his past is one that is only likely to illicit sympathy. We learn a little more about him following on from his first outing Close to Home but his story is very much in the background, the foreground is most definitely the crimes committed in the quiet Oxford street where a woman and a young child are found locked in a basement.

The woman Vicky and child are starved and thirsty and severely traumatised, Vicky not speaking at all at first and with the owner of the house, Dr William Harper, is denying all knowledge of them the police are up against it trying to work out who the prisoners are, and more importantly how long and why they’ve been locked up. In their search for clues they realise that the house backs onto the garden of the home of a missing woman called Hannah Gardiner.

There are lots of characters who all add rich detail to what becomes an investigation into the two women, and of course the child who is too young to be able to tell them anything. The police team of course consists of more than DI Fawley and the relationship between the officers is good with Detectives Quinn and Gislingham (Gis) providing a realistic view of how to survive working on such a harrowing investigation.

“Gis, who has always been exceptionally good at knowing when to stop digging, and Quinn who carries his own set of shovels“

The author has worked hard though to provide a reasonable complement of police, all with distinct personalities which is far more realistic that the older style police procedurals with just a couple of detectives involved in solving a case. Another example that gives this book an up-to-date feel is the full use of the female detectives and supporting police personnel throughout the story. As in real life they are no longer used just to pass hankies these women are involved from beginning to end.

With the use of news reports from BBC Midlands and the like, inserted into the story the author also moves away from the more traditional tale that is told just from one viewpoint, this element is built upon with transcribed interviews, including from those living in Frampton Road. These are brilliant, the author telling us so much about the area from both the content and the words used.

This, as was the first book, is a fast-paced police procedural with the author liberally sprinkling her story with red-herrings to keep her reader’s guessing and I for one lapped it all up and I’m eager for the next book by this author to see what dark mystery Oxford will serve up for us next.

I’d like to say a huge thank you to Penguin Books UK who allowed me to read an advance copy of In the Dark. This unbiased review is my thanks to them and of course Cara Hunter for keeping so thoroughly entertained if a little traumatised by what was waiting for me on this visit to Oxford!

First Published UK: 12 July 2018
Publisher: Penguin Books UK
No of Pages: 448
Genre: Crime Fiction – Series
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Lisa Jewell Novels

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (July 4)

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 have just started No Further Questions by Gillian McAllister, one of my latest favourite authors. This book was published on Monday 2 July.

Blurb

he police say she’s guilty.
She insists she’s innocent.
She’s your sister.
You loved her.
You trusted her.
But they say she killed your child.
Who do you believe?
Original, devilishly clever and impossible to forget, this is a thriller with a difference. You won’t be able to tear yourself away from the trial that will determine both sisters’ fates. NetGalley

The last book I read was In the Dark by Cara Hunter the second in the Adam Fawley series set in Oxford which will be published on 12 July 2018.



Blurb

A woman and child are found locked in a basement room, barely alive. No one knows who they are – the woman can’t speak, and there are no missing persons reports that match their profile.

The elderly man who owns the house claims he has never seen them before. The inhabitants of the quiet Oxford street are in shock. How could this happen right under their noses?

But DI Adam Fawley knows that nothing is impossible. And that no one is as innocent as they seem . . NetGalley

Next on my list is The Story Keeper by Anna Mazzola which will be published on 26 July 2018. I loved this author’s debut novel The Unseeing and so I’m hoping for great things from this one too.

Blurb

Audrey Hart is on the Isle of Skye to collect the folk and fairy tales of the people and communities around her. It is 1857 and the Highland Clearances have left devastation and poverty, and a community riven by fear. The crofters are suspicious and hostile to a stranger, claiming they no longer know their fireside stories.

Then Audrey discovers the body of a young girl washed up on the beach and the crofters reveal that it is only a matter of weeks since another girl disappeared. They believe the girls are the victims of the restless dead: spirits who take the form of birds.

Initially, Audrey is sure the girls are being abducted, but as events accumulate she begins to wonder if something else is at work. Something which may be linked to the death of her own mother, many years before. NetGalley

What do you think? Do any of these take your fancy?

Posted in Weekly Posts

Weekly Wrap Up (January 28)

You may have noticed my absence last week while I was on a weekend break in the Peak District. This was actually my Christmas present from the OH and it was everything I hoped for: it was peaceful, it snowed and this was the stunning view from our bedroom window.

So we got to walk around the lake, have a few drinks in the local hotel and I even managed to read some of my books!

This Week on the Blog

My excerpt post this week was from the very intriguing concept mystery, The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton.

I was part of the Blog Tour for Cara Hunter’s crime fiction novel Close to Home which is set in Oxford. Cara kindly sent me a piece about the setting and I rounded off with my review which awarded this book the full five stars.

On Thursday I reviewed Hell Bay by Kate Rhodes, a dark crime thriller set on one of the smallest of the Scilly Islands, Bryher.

My final review of the week was for Dead Souls by Angela Marsons, the sixth in her DI Kim Stone series which was just as brilliant, if not more so than the five preceding books.

My week was rounded off by finally publishing my list for The Classics Club – I think I could have read about five of these in the time I’ve spent deciding which ones to put on the list, or those to leave off – take a look and see if you think I chose wisely.

This Time Last Year…

I was reading The Good People by Hannah Kent. A book steeped in the folklore and superstition that I’m sure reigned worldwide at the beginning of the nineteenth century but possibly had its most ardent followers in the Irish countryside with its stories of fairies, changelings and many rituals to ward off evil. The Good People is set in County Kerry in 1825 and is best summed up as a disturbing tale.

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

 

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 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. Amazon

Stacking the Shelves

Even though I have now read three of my own books, I haven’t spent my token yet with no books bought in 2018 so far. I’ll come back to the New Year’s Resolutions later in the post…

I have received two approvals from NetGalley, I’m actually not sure which one I’m most excited about!

I have a copy of The Cliff House by Amanda Jennings which I am desperate to read after her previous novel In Her Wake in 2016. The Cliff House will be published on 17 May 2018.



Blurb

Cornwall, summer of 1986.

The Davenports, with their fast cars and glamorous clothes, living the dream in a breathtaking house overlooking the sea.
If only… thinks sixteen-year-old Tamsyn, her binoculars trained on the perfect family in their perfect home.

If only her life was as perfect as theirs.
If only Edie Davenport would be her friend.
If only she lived at The Cliff House…

Amanda Jennings weaves a haunting tale of obsession, loss and longing, set against the brooding North Cornish coastline, destined to stay with readers long after the final page is turned. NetGalley

And.. after being blown away by the first in the DI Adam Fawley series, Close to Home (see above) I am delighted to have received a copy of book two called In the Dark by Cara Hunter which will be published on 5 July 2018.

Blurb

DO YOU KNOW WHAT THEY’RE HIDING IN THE HOUSE NEXT DOOR?

From the author of CLOSE TO HOME, comes the second pulse-pounding DI Fawley crime thriller. A woman and child are found locked in a basement room, barely alive… No one knows who they are – the woman can’t speak, and there are no missing persons reports that match their profile. And the elderly man who owns the house claims he has never seen them before.

The inhabitants of the quiet Oxford street are in shock – how could this happen right under their noses? But DI Adam Fawley knows that nothing is impossible. And that no one is as innocent as they seem . . . NetGalley

Now in addition to originally reading six classic books this year my aim was to visit my local library more regularly. Well yesterday with my list for The Classics Club finally completed I took a trip to see which one I should pick up to get me started. After spending quite some time looking through the shelves I came away with four that appeared on my list so I can decide which one to start with.

So I will be choosing from:

Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons

Our Spoons Came from Woolworths by Barbara Comyns

Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton

And I picked up a copy of My Life in Houses by Margaret Forster which has sat on my wishlist since it was published back in 2014. I was a huge fan of this author’s work, particularly her non-fiction books and this should fit well with the insight’s she gave us into her life through her previous books on her family such as Hidden Lives.

Blurb

‘I was born on 25th May, 1938, in the front bedroom of a house in Orton Road, a house on the outer edges of Raffles, a council estate. I was a lucky girl.’

So begins Margaret Forster’s journey through the houses she’s lived in, from that sparkling new council house, to her beloved London home of today. This is not a book about bricks and mortar though. This is a book about what houses are to us, the effect they have on the way we live our lives and the changing nature of our homes: from blacking grates and outside privies; to cities dominated by bedsits and lodgings; to the houses of today converted back into single dwellings. Finally, it is a gently insistent, personal inquiry into the meaning of home. Amazon

tbr-watch

Since my last post I have read 5 books and appear to have gained 2 so my TBR on the downward slide to 186

Physical Books – 109
Kindle Books – 55
NetGalley Books –22

 

I have banked another third of book token this week and as I haven’t bought any books I’m in credit!