Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

Stone Bruises – Simon Beckett

Crime Fiction  4*'s
Crime Fiction
4*’s

This is a crime thriller with a big difference, the reader doesn’t know what crime has been committed. All the reader knows is that when we meet Sean he is hiding his battered and blood-stained car in France one hot summer day. He leaves the car picks up his rucksack and walks into the unknown. Here is a man without a plan but it is apparent he is hiding and determined to stay hidden.

Told expertly and consistently in the first person this is a subtle story of a mystery man on the run. Sean ends up at a farm-house where things only take a turn for the worse. The claustrophobic feel intensifies as he appears to have been trapped on a farm inhabited by a Monsieur Arnaud, his two daughters, Mathilde and Gretchen and his grandson, little Michele. The only contact Sean has with the outside world is Georges the old man who looks after the sanglochons, a pig which has been bred with a boar.

The reader is treated to snapshots of Sean’s background from the interjections of life in London. A life that included Chloe an artist and joy. The contrast of these short excerpts to the claustrophobic atmosphere in the baking heat in France couldn’t be more dramatic. Be warned though, Beckett makes the reader wait a long time to connect the links between the past and the present.

Despite not knowing what Sean was running from I instantly felt sympathy for him, I wanted for the unpredictable Monsieur Arnaud to ignore him at the same time as trying to work out the cause of the complex tensions in the household one that was closed to everyone outside the family. It was clear that the Arnaud’s were hiding from something or someone too.

This understated book has an underlying thread of violence running through it which serves to build the tension before the inevitable catastrophe which changes everything, forever.

I received a free copy of this book from the publishers Random House UK in return for this honest review. This book will be published on 30 January 2014.

I hadn’t read any of Simon Beckett’s previous books but I am going to be seeking them out now. This book shows that this is a man who knows how to wield his pen to maximum advantage. He gets my vote as I’d never heard of sanglochons before which is a French contraction of pig and boar, and the sanglochons have a part to play in the story so it wasn’t just a writer being clever! But better than that this book used one of my favourite words, doppelganger, in a sentence that sang to me “The Skylight is fogged with condensation. Rain sweeps against it with a noise like a drum roll. Our smudged reflections hang above us as we lay on the bed, misted doppelgangers trapped in glass.” Enough of a reason I think to read this book!

Posted in Weekly Posts

WWW Wednesday (January 22)

WWW Wednesday green

Hosted by Miz B at Should be Reading
To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…
• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

I am currently reading Stone Bruises by Simon Beckett

Stone Bruises

Blurb

Sean is on the run. We don’t know why and we don’t know from whom, but we do know he’s abandoned his battered, blood-stained car in the middle of an isolated, lonely part of rural France at the height of a sweltering summer. Desperate to avoid the police, he takes to the parched fields and country lanes only to be caught in the vicious jaws of a trap. Near unconscious from pain and loss of blood, he is freed and taken in by two women – daughters of the owner of a rundown local farm with its ramshackle barn, blighted vineyard and the brooding lake. And it’s then that Sean’s problems really start…NetGalley

I have just finished a really enjoyable read The Last Winter of Dani Lancing by P.D. Viner

The Last Winter of Dani Lancing
Review to be posted later this week!

Blurb

Twenty years ago, college student Dani Lancing was kidnapped and brutally murdered. The killer was never found, and the case has long gone cold. Her parents, Patty and Jim, were utterly devastated, their marriage destroyed. While Jim fell apart, Patty was consumed by the unsolved case. She abandoned her journalism career and her marriage to spend every waking hour searching and plotting. She keeps contact with Tom, Dani’s childhood sweetheart, who has become a detective intent on solving murders like Dani’s. When he finds a lead that seems ironclad, he brings Patty in on it. After years of dead ends, her obsession is rekindled, and she will do anything for revenge, even become a killer herself-dragging her whole family into the nightmare once again, as lies and secrets are uncovered..Goodreads

Next I will be reading The Never List by Koethi Zan which I have on good authority is an excellent read, published by Random House on 1 January 2014

theneverlist koethizan

Blurb

NEVER GO OUT ALONE AFTER DARK
For years, Sarah and Jennifer kept the Never List: a list of things to be avoided at all costs.
NEVER GET IN THE CAR
But one night, they broke their own rules – with horrifying consequences.
NEVER TAKE RISKS
Sarah has spent ten years trying to forget her terrifying ordeal. But it seems the killer has not forgotten her…
NEVER TRUST ANYONE NetGalley

Posted in Weekly Posts

Teaser Tuesday (January 21)

Teasing Tuesday CB
Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teaser this week is from Stone Bruises by Simon Beckett which is due to be published on 30 January 2014 by Random House UK

Stone Bruises

“The Skylight is fogged with condensation. Rain sweeps against it with a noise like a drum roll. Our smudged reflections hang above us as we lay on the bed, misted doppelgangers trapped in glass.”

Blurb

Sean is on the run. We don’t know why and we don’t know from whom, but we do know he’s abandoned his battered, blood-stained car in the middle of an isolated, lonely part of rural France at the height of a sweltering summer. Desperate to avoid the police, he takes to the parched fields and country lanes only to be caught in the vicious jaws of a trap. Near unconscious from pain and loss of blood, he is freed and taken in by two women – daughters of the owner of a rundown local farm with its ramshackle barn, blighted vineyard and the brooding lake. And it’s then that Sean’s problems really start…

Posted in Weekly Posts

Friday Finds (November 8)

Friday Finds Hosted by Should be Reading

FRIDAY FINDS showcases the books you ‘found’ and added to your To Be Read (TBR) list… whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library — wherever! (they aren’t necessarily books you purchased).

So, come on — share with us your FRIDAY FINDS!

So as I am working hard to read some of my free and cheap books on my e-reader in November the last thing I should be doing is looking at more books to buy, or requesting new ones from Netgalley!

As it happens the people at Random House have been really kind to me this week and I have 3 new books from Netgalley.

Wake by Anne Hope to be published 16 January 2014

Wake

Blurb

Unfolding over five days leading up to 11 November, 1920, a powerful debut telling of three women who have lost loved-ones, set against the journey of the Unknown Soldier from Northern France to the Cenotaph.
Five Days in November, 1920:
As the body of the Unknown Soldier makes its way from the fields of Northern France to the Cenotaph, three women are overcoming loss in their own way: Hettie, who dances for sixpence a waltz at the Hammersmith Palais; wealthy Evelyn, who toils at a lowly job in the pensions office, and Ada, a housewife who snatches glimpses of her dead son in the street.
As each struggles to move on with her life, a wartime mystery begins to unravel. But where will the threads lead, and will they bring the answers these women crave? In this shattering novel of intertwining lives, Anna Hope shows the beginnings of a new era, and the day the mood of the nation changed, for ever Netgalley

This looks like a great addition to feed my historical fiction.

I also received A Pleasure And A Calling by Phil Hogan which looks like a real psychological thriller.

A Pleasure and a Calling

Publication date 13 February 2014, be scared if you receive this one as a Valentines gift!

Blurb

You won’t remember Mr Heming. He showed you round your comfortable home, suggested a sustainable financial package, negotiated a price with the owner and called you with the good news. The less good news is that, all these years later, he still has the key.
That’s absurd, you laugh. Of all the many hundreds of houses he has sold, why would he still have the key to mine?
The answer to that is, he has the keys to them all.
William Heming’s every pleasure is in his leafy community. He loves and knows every inch of it, feels nurtured by it, and would defend it – perhaps not with his life but if it came to it, with yours…

and lastly Stone Bruises by Simon Beckett

Stone Bruises

Publication date 30 January 2014

Blurb

‘Somebody!’ I half-sob and then, more quietly, ‘Please.’ The words seem absorbed by the afternoon heat, lost amongst the trees. In their aftermath, the silence descends again. I know then that I’m not going anywhere…Sean is on the run. We don’t know why and we don’t know from whom, but we do know he’s abandoned his battered, blood-stained car in the middle of an isolated, lonely part of rural France at the height of a sweltering summer. Desperate to avoid the police, he takes to the parched fields and country lanes only to be caught in the vicious jaws of a trap. Near unconscious from pain and loss of blood, he is freed and taken in by two women – daughters of the owner of a rundown local farm with its ramshackle barn, blighted vineyard and the brooding lake. And it’s then that Sean’s problems really start…
Superbly written, Stone Bruises is a classic nail-shredder of a thriller that holds you from the beginning. The narrative slowly, inexorably tightens its grip as the story unfurls and will keep you guessing until the unnerving and shocking final twist…Netgalley

I have to admit I am a little worried that this one might be a bit too scary for me (I know I pretend to be big small and brave but maybe I’m not quite as fearless after all… I’ll let you all know!

I couldn’t resist The Medea Complex by Rachel Florence Roberts when she offered me a free copy… the fact that it is billed as a psychological thriller within a historical context meant that my heart quickly typed ‘yes please’ as it overruled the head which was saying ‘you’ve loads of books to read and review already!’

The Medea Complex

Blurb

***Based On A True Story***
Anne wakes up in a strange bed, having been kidnapped from her home. Slowly, she realizes she is in a lunatic asylum.
1885. Anne Stanbury – Committed to a lunatic asylum, having been deemed insane and therefore unfit to stand trial for the crime of which she is indicted. But is all as it seems?
Edgar Stanbury – the grieving husband and father who is torn between helping his confined wife recover her sanity, and seeking revenge on the woman who ruined his life.
Dr George Savage – the well respected psychiatrist, and chief medical officer of Bethlem Royal Hospital. Ultimately, he holds Anne’s future wholly in his hands.
The Medea Complex tells the story of a misunderstood woman suffering from insanity in an era when mental illnesses’ were all too often misdiagnosed and mistreated. A deep and riveting psychological thriller set within an historical context, packed full of twists and turns, The Medea Complex explores the nature of the human psyche: what possesses us, drives us, and how love, passion, and hope for the future can drive us to insanity Amazon

The Medea Complex

and another kind author Jane Riddell has also sent me a copy of her book Water’s Edge

Water's Edge

Blurb

When Madalena invites her four children to Switzerland for a family gathering, she isn’t prepared for the excess baggage of their lives they bring along – secrets they are compelled to keep and those that must be divulged; the compromises they make, and, ultimately, what can and can’t be resolved – for Madalena, too, has things about her past that she would prefer not to reveal.
Set against a backdrop of mountains and lakes, Water’s Edge is a tapestry of love, lies and family – Goodreads

Water’s Edge

On top of these wonderful sounding books I have two purchases to make Imago by Celina Grace with the third of the Kate Redman Mystery series which I have enjoyed so much. .

Imago

Publication date Sunday 10 November

Blurb

They don’t fear me, quite the opposite. It makes it twice as fun… I know the next time will be soon, I’ve learnt to recognise the signs. I think I even know who it will be. She’s oblivious of course, just as she should be. All the time, I watch and wait and she has no idea, none at all. And why would she? I’m disguised as myself, the very best disguise there is.”
A known prostitute is found stabbed to death in a shabby corner of Abbeyford. Detective Sergeant Kate Redman and her partner Detective Sergeant Olbeck take on the case, expecting to have it wrapped up in a matter of days. Kate finds herself distracted by her growing attraction to her boss, Detective Chief Inspector Anderton – until another woman’s body is found, with the same knife wounds. And then another one after that, in a matter of days.
Forced to confront the horrifying realisation that a serial killer may be preying on the vulnerable women of Abbeyford, Kate, Olbeck and the team find themselves in a race against time to unmask a terrifying murderer, who just might be hiding in plain sight… Amazon

and The Flavours of Love by Dorothy Koomson which was published yesterday 7 November 2013

FOL
Blurb

‘I’m looking for that perfect blend of flavours; the taste that used to be you. If I find it, I know you’ll come back to me.’
It’s been 18 months since my husband was murdered and I’ve decided to finish writing The Flavours of Love, the cookbook he started before he died. Everyone thinks I’m coping so well without him – they have no idea what I’ve been hiding or what I do away from prying eyes. But now that my 14-year-old daughter has confessed something so devastating it could destroy our family all over again, and my husband’s killer has started to write to me claiming to be innocent, I know it’s only a matter of time before the truth about me and what I’ve done is revealed to the world.
My name is Saffron Mackleroy and this is my story.

The Flavours of LoveDorothy Koomson’s novels are all extremely well plotted and with the sort of writing that immerses you in the story…

All I need now is a time machine to make enough time to read everything I’ve got planned!

Please let me know what you have found this week because as you can see I’m always looking for more books to read!