Well that’s the last of our Bank Holiday’s gone until Christmas time and with the nights beginning to draw in I’m setting myself up to an autumn full of brilliant reads after such a hectic summer. It is a double-edged sword living in a beautiful but easily accessible place in that we have lots of visitors and as our last set departed Friday I have spent my Saturday tidying up my book lists, adding my reviews to Goodreads and Amazon and planning my upcoming reads – I’m really not able to do the ‘I’ll see what takes my fancy approach’ and so I now feel much happier!
This was also the week where my book reviews for the year passed the magic 100 mark – you can see them all here
This week I was delighted to appear on The Book Review Cafe’s #TopFiveThursday post where you can find out more about my favourite reads of the year.
Last Week on the Blog
With the last big push before the end of the 20 Books of Summer Challenge I reviewed The Narrow Bed by Sophie Hannah. This is the latest in the Culver Valley Series and a very bookish mystery which perfectly showcased Sophie Hannah’s unique approach to murder mystery writing.
My book choice for First Chapter ~ First Paragraph this week was from The Twins by Saskia Sarginson – my review for this book is here
My post for Wednesday also included my other reads for the week namely two debut novels of the crime fiction persuasion.
This was swiftly followed by a review of Jenny Blackhurst’s psychological thriller Before I Let You In which I awarded the full five stars. This author is now firmly on my ‘must-read’ list.
Yesterday I posted my review for my 15th and final read for the 20 Books of Summer; Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain, which in turn was wonderful and an exasperating read but one that I am pleased I persevered with.
This Time Last Year…
I was reading The Game Changer by Louise Phillips, the fourth in the Dr Kate Pearson series. If you haven’t read any of this author’s Irish crime fiction, I’d urge you to try these books featuring Criminal psychologist Dr Kate Pearson. This book looks at the way memory works, or doesn’t and had an incredible amount packed into the story to keep even the most hyperactive reader entertained. Sadly I can’t see any sign of the fifth in this series, but if you know otherwise please let me know!
A suspected suicide in Dublin. A brutal murder in New York. The abduction of a child over two decades earlier. All linked … but how?
Criminal psychologist Dr Kate Pearson has the answer. Because she was the young girl abducted all those years ago.
And, when she begins to investigate the suspicious suicide in Dublin and confirms a connection to her own disappearance, she is forced to start asking questions. Why did her parents lie to her, telling her she was missing for only a few hours? And why doesn’t she have any memory of the time she was held?
When a sinister note arrives at her home, it becomes clear that Kate is being targeted. But by whom? And why now? Kate is consumed by her efforts to uncover the truth, knowing that her life is in very real danger.
The Game Changer wants someone to pay for the past – and Kate is being held accountable. Amazon
Stacking the Shelves
Well, my low submission last week was actually down to a lack of organisation and bad memory as I’d received two books in the hectic days before the wedding and not added them to the list!
First up the lovely people at Quercus books kindly answered my request for a copy of The Apprentice of Split Crow Lane: The Story of the Carr’s Hill Murder by Jane Housham with a proof copy ahead of publication on 3 November 2016. This book fits perfectly with my renewed interest in historical true crimes, especially in the context of the life and times of the Victorian era.
A Victorian Murder. A Victorian Madman. A Modern Judgement.
Gateshead, April 1866
The Apprentice of Split Crow Lane takes the forgotten case of a child murder in 1866 as a springboard to delve deeply into the pysche of the Victorians. What Jane Housham finds, in this exploration of guilt, sexual deviance and madness, is a diagnosis that is still ripe for the challenging and a sentence that provokes even our liberal modern judgement.
Set around Gateshead, it is a revelatory social history of the North – an area growing in industry and swelling with immigration, where factory workers are tinged blue and yellow by chemicals, the first tabloids are printed, children are left alone by working parents and haystack fires sweep the county in rebellion against the introduction of the police force. Into this landscape, a five-year-old Irish girl named Sarah Melvin sets out over the fell to look for her father, and a troubled young man makes a frightening leap of logic to save his own skin.
Told here for the first time, this is an extraordinary story of sexual deviance and murder. In lively, empathic prose, Jane Housham explores psychiatry, the justice system and the media in mid-Victorian England to reveal a surprisingly modern state of affairs. Amazon
I had also received a copy of Linda Huber’s forthcoming psychological suspense novel, Ward Zero ahead of publication on 1 October 2016.
Horror swept through her. Had she been buried alive?
On Sarah’s first visit to see her foster mother, Mim, in Brockburn General Hospital, she is sucked into a world that isn’t what it should be.
Someone is lying, someone is stealing. And someone is killing – but who? With a grieving child to take care of, as well as Mim, Sarah has to put family first. She doesn’t see where danger lies – until it’s too late.
If you think you’re safe in a hospital, think again
And delightfully I won my choice of the Ngaio Marsh Award for Best First Novel on Margot Kinberg’s blog, Confessions of a Mystery Novelist. Margot donated this prize after serving on the panel for this award and using the giveaway to support a wonderful charity Storytime which provides books to New Zealand’s most deprived children. If you haven’t discovered this blog, I urge you to do so Margot has a wealth of knowledge and is exceptionally supportive of other bloggers. After careful consideration I plumped for Inside The Black Horse by Ray Berad as my choice, having noted that this was also was a finalist for ‘Best Crime Novel’ in the Ngaio Marsh Awards.
A Desperate young man commits an armed robbery of a pub that interrupts a drug deal, upending many lives and lighting the fuse on a violent chain of events that exposes a grittier side of Aotearoa. The International Judging panel for the Ngaio Marsh called it “A lucid and potent portrait of good people and gangsters that is unmistakably Kiwi in flavour and tone… a fine crime story with considerable depth” Amazon
I’ve also added books from NetGalley this week starting with a historical fiction novel The Jeweller’s Wife by Judith Lennox This promises to be an epic tale of passion and betrayal which should provide a change from crime fiction.
1938. As England awaits the outbreak of war, Juliet Winterton journeys from the Mediterranean to the Essex countryside to begin her life as the beautiful young wife of a London jeweller.
But beneath her husband’s intelligence and ambition, lies a cruel and ruthless man. And when dashing politician Gillis Sinclair comes to stay at Marsh Court, Juliet is drawn to his irresistible charm.
So begins a passionate affair that will have consequences far beyond anything Juliet imagines. For Gillis Sinclair is hiding a dark secret and, as the next generation of Wintertons grows up, Juliet fears that they, too, will be tainted by the past… NetGalley
I was taken by my next book after reading an excerpt on Heather’s blog Worth Getting Into Bed For when she featured it on the First Chapter ~ First Paragraph meme; The Woman on the Orient Express by Lindsay Jayne Ashford caught my eye and seems to promise a bit more variety to my reading this month.
Hoping to make a clean break from a fractured marriage, Agatha Christie boards the Orient Express in disguise. But unlike her famous detective Hercule Poirot, she can’t neatly unravel the mysteries she encounters on this fateful journey.
Agatha isn’t the only passenger on board with secrets. Her cabin mate Katharine Keeling’s first marriage ended in tragedy, propelling her toward a second relationship mired in deceit. Nancy Nelson—newly married but carrying another man’s child—is desperate to conceal the pregnancy and teeters on the brink of utter despair. Each woman hides her past from the others, ferociously guarding her secrets. But as the train bound for the Middle East speeds down the track, the parallel courses of their lives shift to intersect—with lasting repercussions.
Filled with evocative imagery, suspense, and emotional complexity, The Woman on the Orient Express explores the bonds of sisterhood forged by shared pain and the power of secrets. NetGalley
And lastly one of my must-read authors Belinda Bauer has a new book which will be published on 3 January 2017 titled, The Beautiful Dead.
Belinda Bauer is an award-winning British crime writer of the highest caliber, whose smart, stylish novels have captivated readers and reviewers on both sides of the Atlantic and earned her a reputation as “the true heir to the great Ruth Rendell” (Mail on Sunday (UK)). Her latest, The Beautiful Dead, is a riveting narrative centered on a down-on-her-luck journalist and a serial killer desperate for the spotlight.
TV crime reporter Eve Singer’s career is flagging, but that starts to change when she covers a spate of bizarre murders—each one committed in public and advertised like an art exhibition. When the killer contacts Eve about her coverage of his crimes, she is suddenly on the inside of the biggest murder investigation of the decade. But as the killer becomes increasingly obsessed with her, Eve realizes there’s a thin line between inside information and becoming an accomplice to murder—possibly her own. NetGalley
Since my last post I have read 3 books, had to DNF a NetGalley read purely because the formatting rendered it unreadable, and gained 6 so the total is now on the ascent again to 174 books!
83 physical books
22 books on NetGalley
What have you found to read this week?