Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Mount TBR 2017

His Kidnapper’s Shoes – Maggie James

Psychological Thriller
3*s

Daniel has a difficult relationship with his mother Laura but not so disastrous that he doesn’t pay regular visits to see her but now he has a new woman in his life, the first woman to get passed his super-stud alter ego and he begins examining the life he has led and in particular the shadowy memories of his early years.

We first meet Laura in a police station cell, a powerful and seductive scene and one where Laura states that Daniel is my son. He has always been mine. And he always will be.

The story is told in alternating chapters from both protagonists viewpoints initially prior to the scene where Laura finds herself in prison. Where Laura’s testimony goes back in time to her earliest years for the most part Daniel’s is in the present time although with some reflection on his memories. There is no denying that both storylines are designed to push the reader’s emotional buttons as we hear about Daniel’s father who died in a car accident before the pair could marry, to Laura’s heartbreak during her own early life with an alcoholic mother and a doting Grandmother, the only solid person in her young life.

Maggie James takes the readers on a journey that is all the more shadowy as Laura refuses to talk to anyone, not a word is said, instead her words are for Daniel alone, an explanation, an expose of the damaging secrets that have remained hidden from everyone for many, many years. The author manages to convey the anger in Daniel, his part of the story although no less powerful is angrier and far more present and at times self-absorbed than Laura’s.

Unfortunately I’m not a big fan of lots of internal dialogue which because the construct of this book depends heavily on the hidden thoughts in each of the character’s minds, meant that although I was engaged by the storyline, it wasn’t one that I lost myself in, the way I prefer to read. This is just my own preference for storytelling. Because of my own sense of detachment, I was therefore bound to question the leaps that Daniel’s thought processes took at some points which moved the story along.

What I was impressed with was the way the author illustrated that how even a ‘good-news’ story for one character can have a knock-on effect on other characters, in good and not so good ways, after all no-one lives in a bubble and because these scenes were played out on the page rather than being filtered through the protagonists thoughts, I found them compelling. Be warned even when you think the worst that could happen, has already been and gone, there are more shocks in store for all involved.

His Kidnapper’s Shoes is a great book if you like the more thoughtful end of the psychological spectrum, to understand why someone might behave in to what most people would be an unthinkable way.

Having bought my copy of His Kidnapper’s Shoes in April 2014 this book fully qualified to be part of my Mount TBR Challenge 2017, being my thirty-third read.

mount-tbr-2017

 

 

 

First Published UK: December 2013
Publisher: Orella
No of Pages: 334
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (December 13)

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

My current read is Cold, Cold Heart by Christine Poulson which was published on 17 November 2017 and features to my delight a Patent Attorney.



Blurb

Midwinter in Antarctica. Six months of darkness are about to begin. Scientist Katie Flanagan has an undeserved reputation as a trouble-maker and her career has foundered. When an accident creates an opening on a remote Antarctic research base she seizes it, flying in on the last plane before the subzero temperatures make it impossible to leave. Meanwhile patent lawyer Daniel Marchmont has been asked to undertake due diligence on a breakthrough cancer cure. But the key scientist is strangely elusive and Daniel uncovers a dark secret that leads to Antarctica. Out on the ice a storm is gathering. As the crew lock down the station they discover a body and realise that they are trapped with a killer… Amazon

The last book I finished was His Kidnapper’s Shoes, a psychological thriller by Maggie James that had been lingering on my TBR for quite a while.

Blurb


Daniel is my son. He has always been mine. And he always will be.

On some level deep inside, Laura Bateman knows something is wrong. That her relationship with her son is not what it should be. That it is based on lies.

But bad things have happened to Laura. Things that change a person. Forever.

For twenty-six-year-old Daniel, the discovery that his mother is not who he thought comes close to destroying him. As his world turns upside down, he searches for sanity in the madness that has become his life. Daniel is left with nothing but questions. Why did Laura do something so terrible? Can he move past the demons of his childhood?

And the biggest question of all: can he ever forgive Laura? Amazon

Next I plan to read Room by Emma Donoghue which I purchased all the way back in August 2012 and still haven’t read. This one is for my most certainly failed Mount TBR Challenge 2017.

 

Blurb

Today I’m five. I was four last night going to sleep in Wardrobe, but when I wake up in Bed in the dark I’m changed to five, abracadabra.

Jack lives with his Ma in Room. Room has a single locked door and a skylight, and it measures ten feet by ten feet. Jack loves watching TV but he knows that nothing he sees on the screen is truly real – only him, Ma and the things in Room. Until the day Ma admits there is a world outside. Amazon

What do you think? Any of these take your fancy?

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

Blackwater Lake – Maggie James

Novella
4*s

For someone who has repeatedly stated that shorter fiction is really not my cup of tea, I have had a short burst of reading quite a few examples of this craft lately, not at all in a bid to meet certain challenges, I hasten to add!
Blackwater Lake actually didn’t fit into any challenge but I do have a couple of the author’s books on my TBR and when another blogger reviewed this novella stating that it featured hoarding, I had to learn more and I wasn’t disappointed with what I found.

“It may not have been a lifestyle she chose, remember. Choice and compulsion don’t always go together.”

Matthew Stanyerhad left his Bristolian home as soon as he was able to, although at that time his mother’s hoarding was comparatively low level, he’d never been able to have friends round. As he got older, he visited sporadically but with the onset of his mother’s illness with dementia the visits became more frequent and his concern about the state his parents lived in multiplied. His father is still holding down his job as a groundsman for the Blackwater Estate but managing his wife’s condition is taking its toll. Then the day came when he couldn’t contact either of them and when he finds a note he knows that he will have to call the police. Even now as a grown man he wishes there was another way, he doesn’t want the state of the house to become public knowledge.

Matthew needs to clear the house out and starts sorting through the masses of papers and objects stored in the house, the tins of tuna hoarded for an eventuality only clear to his mother and the seemingly endless piles of clothes, many of which she’d never worn. When enough clutter has been sorted, Matthew uncovers some facts about his family all previously shrouded at best in secrecy or at worst shielded from his view in a veil of lies.

This is one meaty story for a novella, the characters see definite progression and end up as fully rounded people, although Matthew’s girlfriend is a little more of a shadowy being. I found the whole story of Blackwater Lake well and truly gripping all of which goes to show that a good story doesn’t need to be long to be satisfying. The plotting was also complex to fit into what amounts to a little under one hundred pages, and yet nothing felt rushed, the story easy to follow and I was on the roller-coaster ride to find out what happened in the past as well as the truth of what led to the disappearance of Matthew’s parents. I think it is often harder for a writer to give emotional depth to a story, particularly when the subject is male without moving towards the extremes yet although I never doubted the turmoil the chief protagonist was dealing with, the author didn’t allow those feelings to run out of control.

This absolute delight of a novella has confirmed that those books of Maggie James that have sat patiently on the TBR definitely need to be shuffled closer to the top of the mountain.

First Published UK: 27 September 2015
Publisher: Orelia Publishing 
No. of Pages: 93
Genre: Novella – Psychological Suspense
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (November 28)

First Chapter
Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening. Feel free to grab the banner and play along.

Having recently read a novella called Blackwater Lake (review to follow) by this author I thought I’d try one of her books which has been sat on the TBR since 2014, so my opener is selected from His Kidnapper’s Shoes by Maggie James, a novel full of psychological suspense.



Blurb

Daniel is my son. He has always been mine. And he always will be.

On some level deep inside, Laura Bateman knows something is wrong. That her relationship with her son is not what it should be. That it is based on lies.

But bad things have happened to Laura. Things that change a person. Forever.

For twenty-six-year-old Daniel, the discovery that his mother is not who he thought comes close to destroying him. As his world turns upside down, he searches for sanity in the madness that has become his life. Daniel is left with nothing but questions. Why did Laura do something so terrible? Can he move past the demons of his childhood?
And the biggest question of all: can he ever forgive Laura? Amazon

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

1

JUDGEMENT DAY

My body aches. The wall against my back grinds into my bones, as does the bench under my bottom; however much I fidget, I can’t get comfortable. I guess they don’t build police cells with such considerations in mind. There’s no clock and I’ve lost track of how much time I’ve spent in this place. Two, maybe three hours? I wonder – why, I don’t know – how much longer they’ll keep me here. I remind myself it doesn’t matter. I feel strangely disconnected from such things. All I can think about is my son.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Well the writing certainly bought that scene to life for me, I could almost feel the discomfort but most of all I want to know what happens next.

So would you keep reading? Have you read any of Maggie James’ other books

Your thoughts in the comments box are always gratefully received.