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

A Game For All The Family – Sophie Hannah

Psychological Thriller 5*s
Psychological Thriller

This is a stand-alone book from Sophie Hannah, a woman who creates stories using the most unlikely but not, unbelievable, disturbances of the mind.

On the way to their new home in Devon, the Merrison family; Justine, Alex and Ellen spot a house that resonates inside Justine for no apparent meaning. Justine has just left the world of TV drama and is determined to spend her days doing nothing. Ellen is enrolled into a quirky private school and Alex will continue to sing in Operas around the world.

All goes well, the ugly house is more or less forgotten and for the first couple of months the move out of London to Devon proves to be a good one. But then Ellen becomes withdrawn and secretive. Ah but she’s fourteen, so nothing too out of the ordinary! Ellen is spending all of her time working on a story she’s writing for an English assignment and when Justine finds the first couple of pages she’s alarmed. It is very well-written, set in their new house and has more than one murder! Around the same time Ellen becomes distressed about her friend George Donbavand who has been expelled from school for a crime he hasn’t committed. Justine visits the school and is told that George never existed!

This book had me totally confused but in an enthralled way. It is a puzzle where you have to decide who, and what to believe, and the author does a good job of making that path as murky as possible with each possible scenario being equally unlikely: if George doesn’t exist does that mean Ellen has invented him? Why? If he does exist why would the head-teacher deny his existence? And this is just the beginning!

Ellen’s writing assignment forms a story within a story, featuring a peculiar family, the Bascom’s, with their oddly named children, is well-written and entertaining (it is rare for a psychological thriller that has me sniggering in places) and although the reason for its inclusion isn’t immediately apparent (or for quite some time) I promise it all eventually does become clear.

I think it is essential that you read this book with the mind-set that you will go with the flow! I was slightly concerned when I got half-way through and was absolutely loving the ride but still had absolutely no idea what was going on, let alone where the solution to the puzzle was hiding. Fortunately Sophie Hannah weaves a wonderful tale, with interesting, if not likeable characters to stem my impatience. This is a book that raises more questions than it answers, has you believing, unbelievable events, and is populated by the most untrustworthy bunch of characters that you are ever likely to meet.

I loved it! It is a clever book, but not too complex (it didn’t make my brain hurt too much), the clues are there and this little detective actually managed to provide at least part of the solution once I’d found the question!

For readers who like their psychological mysteries to be something different, who don’t mind reading a story where you have to put your trust in the author that you will, once you’ve finished, be able to work out what all those entertaining words added up to, this is a fantastic read. This is a book of extreme psychological disorders, both in Ellen’s assignment and in Justine’s life. Justine’s life of doing nothing is punctuated with threatening phone calls, anonymous notes and graves being dug for her and her family causing distress and causing Justine to spend her days investigating who is out to get her, but much more importantly why?

I’d like to say a huge thank you to Lovereading who provided me with a copy of this book to review prior to its publication on 13 August 2015, another definite entry into the best reads of 2015, quirky, inventive and original. I was already a fan of Sophie Hannah’s and this is definitely her best book to date.

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week In Books (June 17)

This Week In Books

Hosted by Lypsyy 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

I am currently reading Little Black Lies by Sharon Bolton.

Little Black Lies

You can read the blurb and opening paragraph in yesterday’s post

I have recently finished A Game For All The Family by Sophie Hannah which was an amazing read, one I couldn’t stop reading despite not having the foggiest what on earth it was all about until the final pages…

A Game for all the Family


After escaping London and a career that nearly destroyed her, Justine plans to spend her days doing as little as possible in her beautiful home in Devon.
But soon after the move, her daughter Ellen starts to withdraw when her new best friend, George, is unfairly expelled from school. Justine begs the head teacher to reconsider, only to be told that nobody’s been expelled – there is, and was, no George.
Then the anonymous calls start: a stranger, making threats that suggest she and Justine share a traumatic past and a guilty secret – yet Justine doesn’t recognise her voice. When the caller starts to talk about three graves – two big and one small, to fit a child – Justine fears for her family’s safety.
If the police can’t help, she’ll have to eliminate the danger herself, but first she must work out who she’s supposed to be… Amazon

My review will follow shortly

Next up for something a little lighter I am planning to read The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets by Eva Rice

Lost Art of Keeping Secrets


Set in 1950s London, The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets centers around Penelope, the wide- eyed daughter of a legendary beauty, Talitha, who lost her husband to the war. Penelope, with her mother and brother, struggles to maintain their vast and crumbling ancestral home—while post-war London spins toward the next decade’s cultural revolution.
Penelope wants nothing more than to fall in love, and when her new best friend, Charlotte, a free spirit in the young society set, drags Penelope into London with all of its grand parties, she sets in motion great change for them all. Charlotte’s mysterious and attractive brother Harry uses Penelope to make his American ex-girlfriend jealous, with unforeseen consequences, and a dashing, wealthy American movie producer arrives with what might be the key to Penelope’s— and her family’s—future happiness. Goodreads

What have you found to read this week?

See what I’ve been reading in 2015 here

Posted in Weekly Posts

Stacking the Shelves (June 6)

Stacking the shelves

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you’re adding to your shelves, be it buying or borrowing. From ‘real’ books you’ve purchased, a book you’ve borrowed, a book you’ve been given or an e-book they can all be shared!

Well after a week’s break to share my 20 Books of Summer 2015! challenge post I seem to have acquired a few more books!

First up from NetGalley I am thrilled and delighted to have a copy of After The Fire by Jane Casey featuring the brilliant Maeve Kerrigan and Josh Derwent, this book is due to be published on 18 June 2015.

After The Fire


Arson, accident or murder?
After a fire rips through a North London tower block, two bodies are found locked in their 11th floor flat. But is the third victim that ensures the presence of detective Maeve Kerrigan and the murder squad. It appears that controversial MP Geoff Armstrong, trapped by the fire, chose to jump to his death rather than wait for rescue. But what was such a right wing politician doing in the deprived, culturally diverse Maudling Estate?
As Maeve and her senior colleague, Derwent, pick through the wreckage, they uncover the secret world of the 11th floor, where everyone seems to have something to hide… NetGalley

and I’m equally as thrilled and delighted to have received a copy of First One Missing by Tammy Cohen which is due to be published on 2 July 2015.

First One Missing


There are three things no-one can prepare you for when your daughter is murdered:
– You are haunted by her memory day and night
– Even close friends can’t understand what you are going through.
– Only in a group with mothers of other victims can you find real comfort.
But as the bereaved parents gather to offer support in the wake of another killing, a crack appears in the group that threatens to rock their lives all over again.
Welcome to the club no one wants to join. NetGalley

Now comes the naming and shaming for all of you bloggers who have made me stray…. First up is The Book Trail who are constantly tempting me with their original reviews complete with maps. They had a competition to win a copy of The Illusionists by Rosie Thomas and I was lucky enough to win!

The Illusionists


London, 1885
As a turbulent and change-filled century draws to a close, there has never been a better time to alter your fortune. But for a beautiful young woman of limited means, Eliza’s choices appear to lie between the stifling domesticity of marriage or a downwards spiral to the streets – no matter how determined she is to forge her own path.
One night at a run-down theatre, she meets the charismatic Devil Wix – showman, master of illusion, fickle friend. Drawn into his circle, Eliza becomes the catalyst of change for his colleagues – a dwarf, an eccentric engineer, and an artist – as well as Devil himself. And as Eliza embarks on a dangerous adventure, she must decide which path to choose, and how far she should go when she holds all their lives in her hands. Goodreads

or click on the link to read The Book Trail review

And then there is Sonya at A Lover of Books who also has a wonderful selection of books on her blog. She had a competition to win a copy of Set Me Free by Daniela Sacerdoti and I won that too.

Set Me Free


In London, Margherita’s marriage has slowly been falling apart since her little Lewis’ birth, a surprise baby much wanted by her but not by her husband. To add to her problems, her adopted daughter, Lara, is going through a rough patch and all of a sudden she’s gone from quiet and introverted to constantly angry, burdened by the unhappy memories of her early childhood. Then Margherita’s husband, Ashley, suddenly announces he needs a break from the marriage and from family life. He couldn’t have chosen a worse time, just when Lara needs him most.
As Margherita struggles to come to terms with what’s happening to her, she decides that maybe this is the chance for Laura to spend some time away from London, and for her mother and daughter to reconnect. So, together with three-year-old Lewis, they decide to spend the summer in Glen Avich, where Margherita’s mum and stepfather have opened a coffee shop, La Piazza. To keep herself busy, Margherita agrees to help Torcuil Ramsay get his crumbling estate in order, with Lara’s help. And as her plan begins to work, Lara increasingly finds peace in the beautiful house and its huge library, and in a new friendship with a mysterious local boy, Mal.
And as Margherita discovers, Glen Avich can have a strange effect on people and soon her heart is reawakened by shy, awkward Torcuil in a way she’d never thought possible again. But Mal is hiding a secret, and the summer won’t last forever . . .
Spellbinding and emotional, Set Me Free is a beautifully written story of a family in crisis and a secret that will change their lives forever. Goodreads

And then I’m blaming Fiction Fan for the next book which I purchased on her recommendation following my review of The Magnificent Spilsbury and the case of the Brides in the Bath by Jane Robins, so I have a copy of The Curious Habits of Doctor Adams by the same author.

The Curious Habits of Doctor Adams


‘Was rich Mrs Gertrude Hullett murdered at her luxurious 15-room home on Beachy Head? Detectives are tonight trying to establish the cause of the 50-year-old widow’s sudden death…’ Daily Mail, 1957
In July 1957, the press descended in droves on the south-coast town of Eastbourne. An inquest had just been opened into the suspicious circumstances surrounding the death of Mrs Bobbie Hullett. She died after months of apparent barbiturate abuse – the drugs prescribed to calm her nerves by her close friend and doctor, Dr John Bodkin Adams.
The inquest brought to the surface years of whispered suspicion that had swept through the tea rooms, shops and nursing homes of the town. The doctor’s alarming influence over the lives, deaths and finances of wealthy widows had not gone unnoticed – it was rumoured that the family doctor had been on a killing spree that spanned decades and involved 300 suspicious cases. Superintendent Hannam of Scotland Yard was called in to investigate.
The Curious Habits of Dr Adams brilliantly brings to life the atmosphere of post-war England, and uses a wealth of new documents to follow the twists and turns of an extraordinary Scotland Yard murder enquiry. As expertly crafted as the best period detective novel, this book casts an entertainingly chilling light on a man reputed to be one of England’s most prolific serial killers. Amazon

When Kay from Kay’s Reading Life started reviewing the Days of the Week series by Nicci French she reminded me that I still hadn’t read Thursday’s Child, you can read her review here

Thursday's Child


Two crimes, generations apart . . .
Twenty years ago teenager Frieda Klein was brutally attacked in her own home. No one believed her – not the police, not her mother, not her friends. She left town, trained as a psychologist and never went back.
Now an old classmate has shown up. She wants help with her daughter, who claims to have been attacked at home. An attack eerily similar to the one on Frieda. No one else believes the girl’s story.
Now – with a school reunion in the offing – Frieda returns to the darkness she fled. To the small town which refused to help her and which hides a terrible secret. Because someone at the reunion knows what happened.
And they’ll stop at nothing to prevent Frieda discovering the truth . . . Amazon

Search as I might I can’t find a culprit for my purchase of You Should Have Known by Jean Hanff Korelitz but I’m sure one of you are guilty.

You Should Have Known


Grace Reinhart Sachs is living the only life she ever wanted for herself, devoted to her husband, a pediatric oncologist at a major cancer hospital, their young son Henry, and the patients she sees in her therapy practice. Grace is also the author of You Should Have Known, a book in which she castigates women for not valuing their intuition and calls upon them to examine their first impressions of men for signs of serious trouble later on. But weeks before the book is published, a chasm opens in her own life: a violent death, a missing husband, and, in the place of a man Grace thought she knew, only a chain of terrible revelations. Left behind in the wake of a spreading and very public disaster and horrified by the ways in which she has failed to heed her own advice, Grace must dismantle one life and create another for her child and herself. Goodreads

Lastly I was delighted that Lovereading saw fit to provide me with a copy of A Game For All The Family by Sophie Hannah which will be published on 13 August 2015.

A Game for all the Family


Justine thought she knew who she was, until an anonymous caller seemed to know better…
After fleeing London and a career that nearly destroyed her, Justine Merrison plans to spend her days doing as little as possible. But soon after the move, her daughter Ellen starts to seem strangely withdrawn. Checking Ellen’s homework one day, Justine finds herself reading a chillingly articulate story about a series of sinister murders committed at the family’s new house. Can Ellen really have made all this up, as she claims? Why would she invent something so grotesque, set it in her own home and name one of the characters after herself? When Justine discovers that Ellen has probably also invented her best friend at school, who appears not to be known to any of the teachers, Justine’s alarm turns to panic.
Then the anonymous phone calls start: a stranger, making accusations and threats that suggest she and Justine share a traumatic past – yet Justine doesn’t recognise her voice. When the caller starts to talk about three graves – two big ones and a smaller one for a child – Justine fears for her family’s safety. If the police can’t help, she’ll have to confront the danger herself, but first she must work out who she’s supposed to be… Goodreads

Any of these take your fancy or perhaps you’ve already read them?
What have you found to read this week? Please do share in the comments below

Posted in My book problem

On My Bookshelf – What’s In a Name?

On My Bookshelfv1

Following on from yesterday’s post where I gave you a peak at some of my bookshelves I have decided to extend the theme and show you more – yes there is more!

I have endured a lot of mocking about my reviews over the years, chiefly from my brother who on discovering them on Amazon felt the need to add helpful comments on random reviews. These comments are chiefly made up of ‘in jokes’ and will make no sense to anyone hoping for enlightenment, something that is gratifyingly noted by the number of people who thinks it adds to the discussion!

One of the latest objects for mirth is my ‘Five of the Best’ posts, which was initially prompted by my son, who insists that what I read in a certain month can’t possibly be of any help to anyone – after all a book I read in February has no relevance to what someone else will choose in February – I take all this on the chin and tell myself it is done out of affection.

However all this mickey taking got me to thinking… and I give you an excerpt of an early comment on one of my book reviews. The book I was reviewing was written by Sophie Hannah:

Probably also the kind of person who only reads books by people who have surnames as first names like Clive Michael or Betty Richards – don’t bother looking them up as I made them up as I’m not that kind of person myself –  although I once did have a surname as a first name but now I don’t as I changed it about three weeks ago for a first name to another name with a first name afterwards so it’s not a hypocritical thing to say at all…

So if you can disentangle the last part of that sentence you will deduce that my  maiden name is also a surname which is a first name… so today I am spotlighting five authors who have first names as surnames and currently sit on my bookshelf! That’s got to be helpful right?

Sophie Hannah – I have read all the books in the Culver Valley series which are very clever puzzles, one was too obscure for this reader, and although I haven’t enjoyed them all, I do like to see what direction the author will take us in next.

My review for book nine in the Culver Valley series: The Telling Error

Sophie Hannah1

Peter James – Regular readers of this blog will know that I am a huge fan of this series, not least for another name detail, Roy Grace’s wife is called Cleo! Peter James delivers consistent well-told tales including his latest book You Are Dead which is out later this month.

Peter James 1

Agatha Christie – probably the author that started my trend of reading books by people with surnames that can be first names. I love Poirot and his little grey cells and here are three 1970’s editions published by Fortuna!
See my review of One, Two, Buckle My Shoe

Agatha Christie 1

Graeme Cameron – the newest author to join this special gang has created a serial killer with a wicked sense of humour in Normal

Graeme Cameron

Sarah Hilary has created a fantastic protagonist in Marnie Rome (perhaps my next post should be characters who have countries for names?) while simultaneously covering difficult issues in this immensely readable series.

See my review of No Other Darkness Sarah Hilary

So today’s challenge is to tell me who sits on your bookshelf with a first name as a surname!

Tune in next time and you might be lucky and find a useful link between my chosen books although this can’t be guaranteed!

Posted in Weekly Posts

Friday Finds (July 18)

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!

After last weeks extravagant amount of Friday Finds this edition is much more restrained.

My kind friend had to go to the last book sale by herself as I was on holiday but she bought me a copy of The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (AKA J.K. Rowling) because she knew I’d been on the look-out for this one.

The Cuckoo's Calling


After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Strike is down to one client, and creditors are calling. He has also just broken up with his longtime girlfriend and is living in his office.
Then John Bristow walks through his door with an amazing story: His sister, the legendary supermodel Lula Landry, known to her friends as the Cuckoo, famously fell to her death a few months earlier. The police ruled it a suicide, but John refuses to believe that. The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers, and it introduces him to every variety of pleasure, enticement, seduction, and delusion known to man.
You may think you know detectives, but you’ve never met one quite like Strike. You may think you know about the wealthy and famous, but you’ve never seen them under an investigation like this. Goodreads

From NetGalley I have a copy of Trust in Me by Sophie McKenzie whose novel, Close My Eyes sat on my wishlist but was never purchased.

Trust in Me


Julia has always been the friend that Livy turns to when life is difficult. United fifteen years ago by grief at the brutal murder of Livy’s sister, Kara, they’ve always told each other everything.
Or so Livy thought.
So when Julia is found dead in her home, Livy cannot come to terms with the news that she chose to end her own life. The Julia that Livy knew was vibrant and vivacious, a far cry from the selfish neurotic that her family seem determined to paint her as.
Troubled by doubt but alone in her suspicions, Livy sets out to prove that Julia was in fact murdered. But little does she realise that digging into her best friend’s private life will cause her to question everything she thought she knew about Julia. And the truth that Livy discovers will tear the very fabric of her own life apart. NetGalley

I also have a review copy on the way from the author of Last Kiss; Louise Phillips. I read both her debut, Red Ribbons , and the follow-up The Doll’s House last year.

Last Kiss

Saundra Neville’s husband is having an affair. The other woman wants her life, following her like a shadow, moving objects around her home, playing mind games to push her over the edge. But who does the killer really have in her sights? Meanwhile, criminal psychologist Dr. Kate Pearson and Detective Inspector O’Connor are brought in to investigate the vicious murder of businessman Rick Shevlin, who was tied up and butchered in a Dublin hotel room. They soon find themselves plunged into an investigation which spreads across Europe. Will they find the killer before Saundra discovers a truth far deadlier than anyone can imagine? Goodreads

Lastly something for my wishlist, due to be published 9 September 2014 The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah. Poirot meets Sophie Hannah, this I must read!

The Monogram Murders


‘I’m a dead woman, or I shall be soon…’
Hercule Poirot’s quiet supper in a London coffeehouse is interrupted when a young woman confides to him that she is about to be murdered. She is terrified – but begs Poirot not to find and punish her killer. Once she is dead, she insists, justice will have been done.
Later that night, Poirot learns that three guests at a fashionable London Hotel have been murdered, and a cufflink has been placed in each one’s mouth. Could there be a connection with the frightened woman? While Poirot struggles to put together the bizarre pieces of the puzzle, the murderer prepares another hotel bedroom for a fourth victim…Goodreads

So what have you found this week?

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

The Telling Error – Sophie Hannah

Psychological Thriller 5*'s
Psychological Thriller

The Telling Error is the ninth in the Culver Valley series which features the extremely clever but somewhat odd Simon Waterhouse and his wife Charlie who solve the fiendishly complex psychology to explain an equally intricately planned crime.

The book starts with a post on Intimate Connections website with a post entitled “Looking For A Secret”, the post then goes onto describe a murder-scene and appealing to the murderer who the author is certain is female. Who would post the question and would anyone be compelled to answer? This opening had me hooked, which is not unusual for one of Sophie Hannah’s books and I was like a fish on the end of the line until the last page.

In The Telling Error a well-known controversial columnist Damon Blundy is found dead in mysterious circumstances and the police trail leads back to Nicki Clements. Nicky to be fair, doesn’t help matters by taking a detour to avoid a policeman she recognises, although as a reader you may have little sympathy when you read about her cyber secrets. Nicky is a misguided woman who seems to have a bit of a wimp of a husband who has turned to the internet for a bit of excitement which unsurprisingly threatens to blow her world apart. Nicky also reveals a worrying past where it appears she longs to be loved for who she is, but tellingly has been wary of revealing the truth to any of the normal candidates including her best-friend or her husband.

One of the things the author does really well is an intricate plot (sometimes far too intricate) giving a sense of satisfaction as the pieces slot into place revealing some fairly outrageous motives, in this book, just on the right side of believable. On another level this book examines the recent phenomenon of cyber relationships, long-kept secrets and sibling relationships. Even while describing unusual characters the author handles this with a surety which gives quite an insight into human behaviour while simultaneously entertaining the reader with a complex puzzle.

Although the Police are constant throughout the series their own stories don’t over shadow the main action which means that anyone of these books can be picked up and enjoyed as a stand-alone read.

I was delighted to find that this was one Sophie Hannah’s better novels. I have read them all and enjoyed the majority, although I struggled with her last book so this one was approached with a caution which was completely unfounded.

I was lucky enough to receive a copy of this book from the publishers Hodder & Stoughton ahead of publication on 24 April 2014.

Culver Valley Series
1. Little Face
2. Hurting Distance
3. The Point of Rescue
4. The Other Half Lives
5. A Room Swept White
6. Lasting Damage
7. A Kind of Cruel
8. The Carrier

Posted in Weekly Posts

WWW Wednesday (April 16)

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 The Telling Error by Sophie Hannah this is the ninth book in the Culver Valley Series.

The Telling Error


Stuck in a traffic jam, Nicki Clements sees a face she hoped never to see again. It’s definitely him, the same police officer, stopping each car on Elmhirst Road. Keen to avoid him, Nicki does a U-turn and makes a panicky escape.
Or so she thinks. The next day, Nicki is pulled in for questioning in connection with the murder of Damon Blundy, controversial newspaper columnist and resident of Elmhirst Road.
Nicki can’t answer any of the questions detectives fire at her. She has no idea why the killer used a knife in such a peculiar way, or why ‘HE IS NO LESS DEAD’ was painted on Blundy’s study wall. And she can’t explain why she avoided Elmhirst Road that day without revealing the secret that could ruin her life.
Because although Nicki is not guilty of murder, she is far from innocent . . . Amazon

I have recently finished The Last Boat Home by Dea Brøvig

Click on the book cover to read my review

The Last Boat Home


Next I am going to read Before You Die by Samantha Hayes

Before You Die

Oh God, please don’t let me die.
It has taken nearly two years for the Warwickshire village of Radcote to put a spate of teenage suicides behind it.
Then a young man is killed in a freak motorbike accident, and a suicide note is found among his belongings. A second homeless boy takes his own life, this time on the railway tracks.
Is history about to repeat itself?
DI Lorraine Fisher has just arrived for a relaxing summer break with her sister. Soon she finds herself caught up in the resulting police enquiry. And when her nephew disappears she knows she must act quickly.
Are the recent deaths suicide – or murder?
And is the nightmare beginning again? NetGalley

What are you reading this week?

Posted in Weekly Posts

Teaser Tuesday (April 15)

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

their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

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

My Teaser this week is from The Telling Error by Sophie Hannah

The Telling Error

Stuck in a traffic jam, Nicki Clements sees a face she hoped never to see again. It’s definitely him, the same police officer, stopping each car on Elmhirst Road. Keen to avoid him, Nicki does a U-turn and makes a panicky escape.
Or so she thinks. The next day, Nicki is pulled in for questioning in connection with the murder of Damon Blundy, controversial newspaper columnist and resident of Elmhirst Road.
Nicki can’t answer any of the questions detectives fire at her. She has no idea why the killer used a knife in a way that involved no spilling of blood, or why ‘HE IS NO LESS DEAD’ was painted across Blundy’s study. And she can’t explain why she avoided Elmhirst Road that day without revealing the secret that could ruin her life.
Because although Nicki is not guilty of murder, she is far from innocent . . .Goodreads

Choosing a teaser from one of Sophie Hannah’s books is a tough call as you are never quite sure what constitutes a clue so I’ve chosen one from the begging of the book  where a message is posted on the internet…

My Teaser

When alive, he was well known and – though this might well have nothing to do with anything – strikingly attractive in a stubbly, cowboy-without-hat kind of way. If I were to include his name in this account, I think most people would have heard of him.


Posted in Weekly Posts

Friday Finds (April 11)

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!

Well after counting my TBR last weekend I shouldn’t have anything to share with you today… but I do have a couple of additions to my reading list!

First up is a book I’m so excited to have as I have read the nine (yes, nine) previous books in the series and not only because there is a character called Cleo! Want You Dead by Peter James
is due to be published on 5 June 2014 by Pan Macmillan.

Want You Dead


Virtual romance becomes a terrifying obsession in Want You Dead…
Single girl, 29, smouldering redhead, love life that’s crashed and burned. Seeks new flame to rekindle her fire. Fun, friendship and – who knows – maybe more?
When Red Westwood meets handsome, charming and rich Bryce Laurent through an online dating agency, there is an instant attraction. But as their love blossoms, the truth about his past, and his dark side, begins to emerge. Everything he has told Red about himself turns out to be a tissue of lies, and her infatuation with him gradually turns to terror. Within a year, and under police protection, she evicts him from her flat and her life. But Red’s nightmare is only just beginning. For Bryce is obsessed with her, and he intends to destroy everything and everyone she has ever known and loved – and then her too . . .

I have also been lucky enough to receive a copy of Keep Your Friends Close by Paula Daly which I have been coveting for quite some time along with her first book What Kind Of Mother Are You which I haven’t read yet….

Keep Your Friends Close


Natty and Sean Wainwright are happily married. Rock solid in fact. So when Natty’s oldest friend, Eve Dalladay, appears – just as their daughter collapses on a school trip in France – Natty has no qualms about leaving Eve with Sean to help out at home.
Two weeks later and Natty finds Eve has slotted into family life too well. Natty’s husband has fallen in love with Eve. He’s sorry, he tells her, but their marriage is over.
With no option but to put a brave face on things for the sake of the children, Natty embarks on building a new life for herself.
And then she receives the note.
Eve has done this before, more than once, and with fatal consequences…NetGalley

I also have a copy of The Telling Error by Sophie Hannah. I’m intrigued to read this one despite the fact that I found her last book, The Carrier, almost incomprehensible. I have both liked and disliked earlier books in the Culver Valley Crime Series so I will have to wait and see what side of the fence this one falls. Telling Error is due to be published on 24 April 2014 by Hodder & Stoughton.

The Telling Error

The amazing Lady Fanciful recommended a book after reading that I have a fascination with affairs, so I am now the proud owner of The End of the Affair by Graham Greene

The End of the Affair

The love affair between Maurice Bendrix and Sarah, flourishing in the turbulent times of the London Blitz, ends when she suddenly and without explanation breaks it off. After a chance meeting rekindles his love and jealousy two years later, Bendrix hires a private detective to follow Sarah, and slowly his love for her turns into an obsession. Amazon

My copy arrived yesterday and I’m trying to work out where in the schedule I can squeeze this book that  I am sure I’m going to love, after all it has an affair and obsession!

What have you found this week?

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

The Carrier – Sophie Hannah

Psychological Thriller 3*'s
Psychological Thriller

I have read all Sophie Hannah’s books and having turned the final page I’m left with the feeling that I’m not clever enough to have ‘got it’ for this one.

Tim Breary is in prison for killing his wife, an invalid who is confined to bed and silence due to a stroke, but he won’t give the local police; Simon Waterhouse, Sam, Charlie, Proust etc. a reason why. As always these characters from the series have their own hang-ups and point scoring to be getting on with alongside solving the mystery. To add to these characters we have a household all backing Tim Breary’s account of the murder including the care assistant Lauren.

Sophie Hannah creates excellent puzzles and the main reason for not awarding this book less than 3 stars is that the interplay and teasing out of human behaviour is fantastic, she is clearly fascinated by the human psyche. There are some truly horrible characters but sadly I have come across the aspects of behaviour that make them so appalling. This is what the author convey so well in my opinion. On the whole we manage difficult people we meet to minimise offence while she gives us a glimpse of what the long-term effect can be. The large amount of poetry used to tell the story has detracted from my enjoyment as it isn’t something that appeals to me and has contributed to the feeling that I have missed something important.

The characterisation was good, the observations wonderful, as always, I just wish that having read the whole book that parts which were emphasised throughout the book were never properly explained, or if they were they clearly passed me by. On reflection the whole series of Sophie Hannah’s books seem to appeal to different people, I loved Kind of Cruel but didn’t really take to A Room Swept White so I will continue to read what she offers whilst keeping my expectations of enjoyment in check.

I received this book through Amazon Vine. I’m slightly upset that my reading year has started on a disappointing note but hopefully it will pick up soon.

Kind of Cruel (Spilling CID, #7)Kind of Cruel by Sophie Hannah

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have read each and every one of Sophie Hannah’s six previous books and had this one on pre-order, something I never do. The story is laid out over a matter of two years but many of the events discussed had already happened. The narrator is a hypnotherapist who explains that memory is different to the stories we tell to make fragmented memories whole. Ususally I find devices like this, at best, slightly annoying. In this book I found the therapist’s words interesting, giving real insight into the character’s lives. The therapist is trying to help Amber Hewerdine with her insomnia, Amber Hewerdine wants to know why her sister-in-law disappeared over Christmas Day years previously.

This book is superb, it has every element that creates a good psychological thriller. There is a cast of believable characters,including the ongoing back story of Simon and Charlie Waterhouse along with the truly awful boss Proust. The mystery has twists and turns right up to the end. Although the motive was unlikely, it was not so off the wall that I felt let down, the whole story was pure enjoyment.

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A Room Swept White (Spilling CID, #5)A Room Swept White by Sophie Hannah

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book focusses on mothers who have been convicted of killing their babies. Sophie Hannah mixes in a puzzle and a murder or two producing both variety and interest for the reader. The only thing that lets this book down is that the characters weren’t likeable and so unlike some books (including her previous ones) I could put the book down.

I felt the second half of the book was much better than the first but as other reviewers have noted many of the themes weren’t followed through to any sort of conclusion. That said I’m glad I bought this one.

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