Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Books I have read

Don’t You Cry – Mary Kubica (Blog Tour)

Psychological Thriller 4*s
Psychological Thriller
4*s

Blog Tour Banner Don't You Cry

When Quinn Collins realises that her dependable flat-mate, Esther Vaughan is not at home where she left her the night before, nursing a minor ailment, she is at first far more confused than concerned. That Esther has left her phone behind and the door to the fire-escape open, causes her moments of disquiet which slowly build into anxiety that something bad has happened. With the Chicago police not moved to do a great deal Quinn starts playing detective and finds letters that seem to indicate that Esther wasn’t the friend Quinn thought she was.

In a small town in Michigan Alex Gallo is working as a dishwasher, left behind by his school friends as he had to work to keep a roof above his, and his father’s heads. Alex’s father is a drunk. One day a girl Alex names pearl walks into the diner where he works and Alex develops a huge crush on Pearl and starts to take a real interest in her life. She reciprocates his offer of friendship but who is she and where has she come from?

With Quinn narrating the section in Chicago, we learn as much about her as we do Esther and likewise in Michigan, Alex reveals so much about his past, his present and his future which seems unrelentingly bleak. A boy with a brain but no prospects and doing odd-jobs for a woman with disabling agoraphobia; playing cards with her is the highlight of his week.

This is a far slower paced book than Mary Kubica’s previous two novels, but despite not being action-packed as the story unfolds the underlying darkness gradually comes into focus but not so much so that I had any clear idea what was ultimately going to be revealed. This is one of those books that should be held up of a good example of how to write a book that is compelling reading without being full of fancy techniques or non-stop action. I really wanted to find out what was behind Esther’s disappearance and whether Quinn’s suspicions were going to prove to be true. Mary Kubica is a master at making you look in one direction for clues and certainties and then sneaking up behind you to present an alternate possibility and I really do love it when a book convincingly deceives me.

When the storyline is light on action you do need solid characters to hold the reader’s interest and the people living amongst these pages were certainly convincing. The shades of their personalities came through in their own doubts; neither Alex nor Quinn were blessed with over-confidence and the confusion about the situations they found themselves in was only too believable. Thankfully despite the two young adults narration it was far from over-burdened with navel-gazing instead we see most of this from the way they interact with others around them.

As you know I don’t usually say much about the ending – this one was convincing and definitely borne out of the pages which preceded it or in other words, the clues were there; albeit buried! This is Mary Kubica’s third book and I was exceptionally impressed by the previous two; The Good Girl and Pretty Baby and once again the author has shown how versatile a writer she is, a different type of psychological thriller, a different structure and yet another great read. Mary Kubica is firmly on my list of must-read authors.

I was delighted to receive a copy of Don’t You Cry from the publishers Harlequin, this unbiased review is my thank you to them. Don’t You Cry was published on 19 May 2016.

I’m on the organised blog tour for Don’t You Cry today so if you want to find out more do go and visit the other posts!

Posted in Books I have read

The Secret By The Lake – Louise Douglas

Historical Fiction 4*s
Historical Fiction
4*s

I need to preface this review by stating that I am not a lover of ghostly matters and The Secret By The Lake has plenty of spookiness spread amongst its pages. But… somehow this didn’t feel quite as out of place as it might have done perhaps because the book was set in the 1960s with reference back as far as the 1930s and they were allowed to have ghosts back then!

Amy worked for the Laurent family in their beautiful home in Deusables, France ever since she had left home which consisted of her father and his beloved pigeons and her Grandmother; Amy’s mother left home when she was a small child never to return. With that background the Laurent family became her second family and when the time came for her to return home to care for her dying Grandmother Amy desperately missed her charge, ten year-old Vivienne. Soon after her Grandmother’s death a letter arrives from Julia Laurent. In a sudden change of circumstances Julia and Vivienne are living in a dilapidated cottage on the side of a reservoir in Somerset.

This book goes in for eeriness in spades, the locals are at best reserved and at worst, well, this isn’t a village where I’d like to visit much less live! If making the cottage fit for sale wasn’t hard enough Julia is filled with melancholy. To make matters worse her return to the family home has stopped her escaping the memory of her elder sister Caroline, who died aged just seventeen under somewhat of a cloud. If Julia was the sweet pretty younger daughter, history states that Caroline was the exact opposite. With no money and a cold winter to contend with things are bleak for them all.

Despite my misgivings I was keen to find out the truth of what happened all those years before, even if I couldn’t quite believe that the dead were determined to communicate quite so frequently with the living. There is as to be expected, an element of romance which should have provided some light relief but sadly the ghosts of the past seem to want to interfere with that too! One thing’s for sure, they are determined little ghoulies! I like books that can successfully carry some side-plots, and Louise Douglas uses this to add real depth to her characters although I didn’t really warm to Julia, who even giving credence for her despair, was far too content to allow the action to happen around her for my liking. Fortunately Amy’s tenacity made up for this and her depiction of a 1960s child, the hardest characters for a writer to successfully make feel authentic, worked well within this storyline. The tension rose because of the intense feeling that the ghosts must be appeased before history repeated itself in some terrible way, and as the dramatic dénouement died away I was left with a real sense of satisfaction.

I’d like to thank the publishers Black Swan for allowing me to read an advance proof copy of this book which is published today, 19 November 2015, in return for my honest opinion.

Posted in Books I have read

Ninepins – Rosy Thornton

Contemporary Fiction 3*'s
Contemporary Fiction
3*’s

Ninepins is set in the fens where Laura a divorcee lives with her twelve year old daughter Beth. Willow who is now seventeen needs somewhere to live after spending the last four years in care and rents the ‘pumphouse’ from Laura with the support from her Social Worker Vince.

The story that follows is billed as having the tension of a thriller; I’m not sure this is the really the case, to me it is mainly about an anxious mother learning to let her daughter grow up. Laura comes across as a sympathetic, if a little fussy, character but Willow and Beth remain a little more indistinct.

This book about relationships has them all, the mothers and daughters, ex-husbands, pets and budding romances are all there to be explored in this book. An easy comfortable read.