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

Snap – Belinda Bauer

Crime Fiction
5*s

It’s no secret that I am a huge fan of this author’s work in which she invariably manages to lace her crime novels with a sense of humour. Belinda Bauer above all has an exceptional ability to capture her characters on the page and none more so than when the character is a child. This is in contrast to so many other writers who often appear to use their child characters as a device and somehow make them either bland or annoying, but somehow not quite real. Not so in this novel.

Three children, eleven-year old Jack, nine-year old Joy and two-year old Merry are left on the hard shoulder of the motorway while their pregnant mother walks to the phone box to get help when their car breaks down. The sun is shining on this August day in 1998:

It was so hot in the car that the seats smelled as though they were melting. Jack was in shorts, and every time he moved his legs they sounded like sellotape.

Yes, we’ve all had that experience in a hot car but unlike these poor children our mothers didn’t walk into the distance never to return.

The story then jumps forward three years to Catherine While’s house, her husband Adam is away, she’s heavily pregnant and thinks she can hear someone in the house.

When you lived alone, and you heard a noise in the night, you didn’t cower under the bedclothes and wait for your fate to saunter up the stairs and down the hallway. When you lived alone, you got up and grabbed the torch, the bat, the hairspray and you sneaked downstairs to confront… The dishwasher.

This time though, it wasn’t the dishwasher.

When she returns to bed, there is a knife and a note by the side of her bed, that wasn’t there before.

The reader follows Jack’s struggle following his mother’s disappearance as well as observing what Catherine does following the intruder to her house, and not all of her actions are wise ones!

And then we have a Detective Inspector John Marvel who has been sent to Somerset away from his beloved London following a transgression and he’s assigned to the Goldilocks case; a burglar who breaks into people’s houses and sleeps in their beds before making off with their belongings. His team consists of DC Parrott and DS Reynolds and three make a hilarious trio as they try to catch their man.

So lots going on and yet all so enticing. There wasn’t a page that didn’t delight me with vignettes of observation that really hit the mark:

Angry embers spat and popped inside him. The papers always called her ‘mum-to-be’. But she was a mum-who-already-was.
Everyone had forgotten him and Joy and Merry.

Friday night and Catherine’s risotto was a triumph. All she’d done was stand and stir it while The Archers was on, but Jan went on and on about it as I she’d spit-roasted a unicorn.

The star of this show though is Jack, his resilience alone is amazing, and it is precisely because we see the cracks in his armour that I couldn’t help but fall in love with him.

A read that I have to admit is a tad quirky for a crime novel, a book that will truly entertain you while the darkness of murder lurks. It is so refreshing to read something that is differs in style within this, my favourite genre.

I’d like to say a huge thank you to the publishers by way of this unbiased review for allowing me to read a copy of Snap, prior to the publication in eBook format today, 3 May 2018. For those of you who want the print version it is following on 17 May 2018.

First Published UK: 3 May 2018
Publisher:Bantam Press
No of Pages: 352
Genre: Crime Fiction
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Other Books by Belinda Bauer

Blacklands
Darkside
Finders Keepers
Rubbernecker
The Facts of Life and Death
The Shut Eye
The Beautiful Dead

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (April 25)

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

The last book I have read is Three Martini Lunch by Suzanne Rindell which combines the story of three characters in 1950s Manhattan.

‘Back in those days My Old Man was king of what they called the three-martini lunch. This meant that in dimly lit steakhouses all over Manhattan my father made bold, impetuous deals over gin and oysters. That was how it was done.’

Blurb

Cliff Nelson, the privileged son of a New York publishing house editor, is slumming it around Greenwich village in 1958, enjoying the booze, drugs and the idea that he’s the next Kerouac.

Fresh-faced Eden Katz arrives in New York with the ultimate ambition to become an editor, but she’s shocked at the stumbling blocks she encounters.

Miles Tillman, a black publishing house messenger boy, is an aspiring writer who feels he straddles various worlds and belongs to none.

Their choices, concealments and betrayals ripple outwards leaving none of them unchanged. Amazo

I’m currently reading a selection of books with my non-fiction read of the month being The Great Silence by Juliet Nicholson.

Blurb

Peace at last, after Lloyd George declared it had been ‘the war to end all wars’, would surely bring relief and a renewed sense of optimism? But this assumption turned out to be deeply misplaced as people began to realise that the men they loved were never coming home.

The Great Silence is the story of the pause between 1918 and 1920. A two-minute silence to celebrate those who died was underpinned by a more enduring silence born out of national grief. Those who had danced through settled Edwardian times, now faced a changed world. Some struggled to come to terms with the last four years, while others were anxious to move towards a new future.

Change came to women, who were given the vote only five years after Emily Davidson had thrown herself on the ground at Ascot race course, to the poor, determined to tolerate their condition no longer, and to those permanently scarred, mentally and physically, by the conflict. The British Monarchy feared for its survival as monarchies around Europe collapsed and Eric Horne, one time butler to the gentry, found himself working in a way he considered unseemly for a servant of his calibre. Whether it was embraced or rejected, change had arrived as the impact of a tragic war was gradually absorbed.

With her trademark focus on daily life, Juliet Nicolson evokes what England was like during this fascinating hinge in history. Amazon

Next I plan on reading Snap by Belinda Bauer. I’m a huge fan of this writer so I’m excited to read her latest book which is due to be published in eBook on 3 May 2018 with the hardcover coming out on 17 May 2018.

Blurb

SNAP DECISIONS CAN BE DANGEROUS . . .

On a stifling summer’s day, eleven-year-old Jack and his two sisters sit in their broken-down car, waiting for their mother to come back and rescue them. Jack’s in charge, she’d said. I won’t be long.

But she doesn’t come back. She never comes back. And life as the children know it is changed for ever.

Three years later, Jack is still in charge – of his sisters, of supporting them all, of making sure nobody knows they’re alone in the house, and – quite suddenly – of finding out the truth about what happened to his mother. . . Amazon

 

What do you think? Do any of these books take your fancy, or perhaps you’ve already read them? Let me know what you think in the comments box below.