Posted in #20 Books of Summer 2018, Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads, Mount TBR 2018

Sanctum – Denise Mina #20BooksofSummer

Psychological Thriller
5*s

My 20 Books of Summer 2018 challenge is a great opportunity to catch up with the back catalogue of some of my favourite authors and so this book, which I found at the local book sale last November was guaranteed a place on the list. As the book was originally published in 2002 I was amazed to see when writing this review that it is now being published as an eBook on 5 July 2018.

Susie Harriot, a forensic psychologist has just been found guilty of murdering a serial killer in her care, Andrew Gow. Susie’s husband Lachlan (Lachie) believes her when she says she is innocent. What we read is Lachie’s recently discovered diary or notes on the case. Lachie having been convinced that she would be found innocent now becomes obsessive, trying to understand his wife’s relationship with Andrew Gow and he is in his element when he finds the notes she wrote about Andrew Gow when she was treating him along with a mountain of other documentation hidden away in her study. I couldn’t help feeling that some of this effort should have been made before, rather than after, the trial. As Lachie digs he begins to realise that the life he thought they were living as a family, wasn’t quite what it seemed.

In the aftermath of the trial Lachie’s parents visit along with an Aunt of Susie’s and he retreats to her previously private study to try to make sense of what has happened. He doesn’t sleep but he has a daughter to care for which causes a stir amongst the staff and other mothers at the nursery she attends – more psychological studies as we observe their behaviour! Denise Mina has a keen eye for observation made all the more delicious because we get to observe the reactions whilst taking a different message from some of the encounters than the Lachie does.

The real beauty of this book is the fact that each of the characters, and the relationships they have, is an individual psychological study. The plot is an original one and I couldn’t wait to see what Lachie would find next, and more intriguingly, what he would make of the information. Let’s just say Lachie is not perhaps as clear-sighted as he might be. There are elements of dark humour as well for instance his dismay when seeing his photo is in the paper, not just because the media are on to him but mainly because it isn’t a flattering picture. As the story progressed I became involved not only in his discoveries but his motivation and ‘take’ on what had happened.

The style of the book begins with a preface explaining the provenance of the document and the ending is in a similar style, ramming home the ‘true-crime’ feel that the book has, for instance the mini exploration around women who are attracted to and become romantically involved with murderers, their motivation and expectations, this device just increased the books appeal as far as I was concerned.
Whilst the characters are on the whole not too pleasant, the exploration of their lives was absolutely fascinating and I was completely hooked. It’s true this isn’t quite like the Paddy Meehan series, nor is it the exploration that I read most recently about Peter Manuel called The Long Drop but it has what I’d call a true psychological base which I love.

An absolute winner of a read and one that absolutely convinced me that I really must read the other books by Denise Mina that I missed when they were first published.

First Published UK: 2002
Publisher: Bantam Press
No of Pages: 304
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Posted in #20 Books of Summer 2018

20 Books of Summer 2018! #20booksofsummer


Cathy at Cathy 746 has a yearly challenge to read twenty books over the summer months starting on 1 June 2018 and running until 3 September 2018, and once again I’ve decided to join her. My aim this year is to read and review all twenty books in the allotted time span!!

As I’m competitive I’m signing up for the full twenty. My personal challenge is to read these twenty books from my bookshelf, physical books that I already own. Funnily enough I have plenty to choose from a total of 109 although my choices for The Classics Club were discounted for this challenge.

Because I know that facts in one book tend to lead me to seek out other books in my tangential reading style, I’ve decided to start with a spread of genres and authors for the first ten books – a book set at sea and one in a drought, the life of a servant jostles with the details of a life of one of Elizabeth II’s ancestors and of course a bit of solid crime fiction has snuck its way in too.

Book lovers will completely understand the hours I have spent honing my choices which have been further complicated to include some faithful friends that are to accompany me on holiday.

Rest assured the second set of ten will be posted when these are all finished, which should be in mid-July, if I’m on schedule!

The links below will take you to the Goodreads description

American Heiress by Jeffrey Toobin

Mrs Woolf and the Servants by Alison Light

Seven Days in May by Kim Izzo

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

Sanctum by Denise Mina 

Raven Black by Ann Cleeves

Child’s Play by Reginald Hill

Master Georgie by Beryl Bainbridge

The Dry by Jane Harper

Wedlock by Wendy Moore

I will be joining Cathy by tweeting my way through the challenge using the hashtag #20booksofsummer to demonstrate when one of my reads is part of this challenge! Should be easy eh?

As in the previous two years there will be a master page linking the titles to my reviews as they are posted, and of course eventually listing the entire twenty books.

Top of my holiday reads is Reginald Hill, I always read one of his books on holiday as does Beryl Bainbridge, so they were always going to join me. If it’s too hot I will open a copy of Raven Black to transport me to Shetland but I’m not sure my conscience will allow me to read about the life of servants while sipping cocktails!

I recently posted a tag My Name in TBR Books and was encouraged to read Life After Life so that one will also be joining me.

So what do you think of my choices? Where would you start?

I’ve enjoyed looking at everyone else’s choices so far and after all having read the full list of 20, I will need replacements.

Posted in Weekly Posts

Weekly Wrap Up (December 10)

This Week on the Blog

A busy week on the blog this week that started with my favourite post of the year Reading Bingo 2017 Edition – if you want to join in with your own choices, I’d be thrilled to see what they are.

I followed that up with my extract post which came from Faking Friends by Jane Fallon which will be published in January 2018

My This Week in Books featured the authors Helen Garner, Jenny Quintana and G.J. Minett.

All of that excitement meant it wasn’t until Thursday that I posted my first review of the week which was for One Bad Turn by Sinéad Crowley, the third, and fastest paced novel in the DS Claire Boyle series which is set in Dublin.

My next review was for the fabulous Good Friday by Lynda La Plante which takes us back to Covent Garden in 1975 when the IRA were active. I loved this and questioned how I’d missed out on this author for so many years.

My last review was for Poison Panic by Helen Barrell which examines arsenic deaths in Essex in the 1840s. A fascinating and well researched non-fiction book.

 

This Time Last Year…

I was reading the amazing, the fabulous and one of those books that once read, is not forgotten in a hurry; Blood Wedding by Pierre Lemaitre. Despite my wariness at the death of a young child in the care of nanny Sophie Duguet; his nanny, and the somewhat graphic violent scenes this book gripped hard and would not let me know. In short Sophie Duguet who suffered with memory problems goes on the run as we follow weakly in her wake we learn more.

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



Blurb

Sophie is haunted by the things she can’t remember – and visions from the past she will never forget.

One morning, she wakes to find that the little boy in her care is dead. She has no memory of what happened. And whatever the truth, her side of the story is no match for the evidence piled against her.
Her only hiding place is in a new identity. A new life, with a man she has met online.
But Sophie is not the only one keeping secrets . . .
For fans of Gone Girl and Lemaitre’s own internationally bestselling Alex, Blood Wedding is a compelling psychological thriller with a formidable female protagonist. Amazon

Stacking the Shelves

You’ll all be delighted to hear that my vow not to acquire any books in December has got off to a roaring success with only 6 books being added to my shelf since last Sunday!

In my defence, there have been some absolute brilliant books added to NetGalley this week – here a few to whet your appetite (I’m saving the other half for next week when obviously I won’t have any new books to show you!))

First up is from a series I have followed (in order, no less) since the beginning. The Killing House by Claire McGowan, the sixth in the Paula McGuire series set on the boarder between Northern and Southern Ireland where her speciality is missing persons. The Killing House will be published in the UK on 5 April 2018.

Blurb

When a puzzling missing persons’ case opens up in her hometown, forensic psychologist Paula Maguire can’t help but return once more.

Renovations at an abandoned farm have uncovered two bodies: a man known to be an IRA member missing since the nineties, and a young girl whose identity remains a mystery.

As Paula attempts to discover who the girl is and why no one is looking for her, an anonymous tip-off claims that her own long-lost mother is also buried on the farm.

When another girl is kidnapped, Paula must find the person responsible before more lives are destroyed. But there are explosive secrets still to surface. And even Paula can’t predict that the investigation will strike at the heart of all she holds dear. NetGalley

I was also lucky enough to be approved to the latest by a now favourite author of mine, Louise Candlish. Our House will also be published on 5 April 2018 in the UK.

Blurb

On a bright January morning in the London suburbs, a family moves into the house they’ve just bought in Trinity Avenue.
Nothing strange about that. Except it is your house. And you didn’t sell it.

For better, for worse.

When Fi arrives home to find a removals van outside her house, she is completely blind-sided. Trinity Avenue has been her family’s home for years. Where are all her belongings? How could this have happened? Desperately calling her ex-husband, Bram, who owns the house with her, Fi discovers he has disappeared.

For richer, for poorer.

The more Fi uncovers, the more she realises their lives have been turned upside by a nightmare of their own making. A devastating crime has been committed, but who exactly is the guilty party? What has Bram hidden from her – and what has she hidden from him?

Till death us do part. NetGalley

And finally from NetGalley I had my fingers firmly crossed for a copy of this book ever since I first heard about it and I have to confess I’ve already read the first chapter which is just as delightful as I hoped it would be. Bookworm A Memoir of Childhood Reading by Lucy Mangan is one of those books that firmly should be shelved under the library classification ‘for booklovers’ and it will be published on 1 March 2018.

Blurb

The Cat in the Hat? Barbar? The Very Hungry Caterpillar? Whoever it was for you, it’s very hard to forget the vivid intensity of your first encounter with a book.

As a bespectacled young bookworm, Lucy Mangan devoured books: from early picture books, to Swallows and Amazons, Enid Blyton to Little Women, and from trashy teen romances to her first proper ‘grown-up’ novels. In Bookworm, she revisits this early enthusiasm; celebrating the enduring classics, and disinterring some forgotten treasures.

This is a love letter to the joys of childhood reading, full of enthusiasm and wit, telling the colourful story of our best-loved children’s books, the extraordinary people who created them, and the thousand subtle ways they shape our lives. It also comes packed with brilliant recommendations to inspire the next generation of bookworms and set them on their way.

This impassioned book will bring the unforgettable characters of our collective childhoods back to life – prompting endless re-readings, rediscoveries, and, inevitably, fierce debate. It will also act as an invaluable guide to anyone looking to build a children’s library and wondering where to start, or where to go next. NetGalley

A recent acquisition which hasn’t yet been featured but I assure you all was purchased before 1 December is Sanctum by Denise Mina, an author who I have a huge admiration for.

Blurb

When Dr Susie Harriot is convicted of the brutal murder of Andrew Gow, a serial killer in her care, it looks certain that she will be given a life sentence, depriving her of her home, her family and her two-year-old daughter.

Susie’s husband, Lachlan, is convinced his wife is innocent, and is determined to find evidence to support an appeal. Every night he sits in Susie’s study and goes through her papers – her case notes, her interviews with Gow, and the press cuttings from the trial.

But the more Lachlan uncovers, the more questions arise, leaving him wondering about the secrets his wife was hiding… Amazon

tbr-watch

Since my last post I have read 3 books and appear to have gained 6 so my TBR now stands at a magnificent 186
Physical Books – 108
Kindle Books – 56
NetGalley Books –22