Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

What She Left – T.R. Richmond

Crime Fiction 4*'s
Crime Fiction
4*’s

I’ll be honest I read some reviews of this book before I read it that were less than effusive with the result that when I came to read it I was fairly sure I wouldn’t enjoy it, I was wrong. It was an incredible read which reflects on what we leave behind when we die as much as it is about the mystery of how Alice Salmon dies.

Alice Salmon was drunk, she got separated from her friends in a night out in Southampton and ends up drowning in the river. How she died, no-one knows. Was it suicide? Was it murder? Or was it simply a tragic accident?

Professor Jeremy Cooke who is part of the anthropology faculty at the university attempts to document Alice’s life with a view to find out what happened. Jeremy is definitely an odd character who feels that he has a connection with Alice because he knew her mother, furthermore he’d taken an interest in Alice when she attended the university before starting her career in journalism. The overarching narrative comes from Jeremy in the form of a handwritten letter to his friend, another leading scientist, but the larger part is made up from contemporary sources; text messages, twitter, facebook as well as media interviews and blogs.

I like the fresh approach to the writing style, it didn’t feel like a gimmick given that I believe the author’s point is that when we die, these electronic footprints don’t disappear. I can’t be the only person that has noticed that the media seize on facebook photos of anyone who finds themselves part of an investigation, which one they pick can be used to reflect what ‘story’ they are trying to sell. Jeremey’s approach is to put all these pieces together, almost as if he is trying to bring Alice back to life, if he can gather all the trails of her interactions with her friends, her family and her boyfriend Luke together everyone will get to see the full picture. The fact that we all know that someone’s essence doesn’t live on the pages of their diary or their text messages doesn’t matter because what it does, is bring another element of their life into focus, what it can’t do is say which part is more important than another and the author really does bring into the play that humans are contradictory beings. What Jeremy does uncover though is the sequence of events on the night in question, long after the police had shelved their operation, and the best thing is that reader gets to put the same jigsaw puzzle together.

As the story is told about Alice after her death, she did seem a bit remote, I didn’t care as much as I’d expect to about her life, in fact I had more concern for her mother and how she was coping with the revelations as well as her past coming back to haunt her but maybe that’s just a sign of my age!!

I received my copy of this book through Amazon Vine for review purposes and I will definitely be eager to see what this talented debut novelist produces next. What She Left was published on 23 April 2015 by Michael Joseph.

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week In Books (April 29)

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 The Duke, His Secret Wife and The Missing Corpse by Piu Marie Eatwell

The Dead Duke, His Secret Wife and the Missing Corpse

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

I have recently finished If She Did It by Jessica Treadway

If She Did It

Blurb

What if you began to suspect your child of an unspeakable crime?
When Dawn introduces her family to her new boyfriend, Rud, they hide their unsettled feelings because they’re glad that Dawn, always an awkward child, seems to have finally blossomed.
Then Dawn’s parents are savagely beaten in their own bed, and though Hanna survives, Rud stands trial for Joe’s murder. Claiming her boyfriend’s innocence, Dawn initially estranges herself from everyone she knows, but when Rud wins an appeal, Dawn returns home saying she wants to support her mother.
Hanna knows that if she could only remember the details of that traumatic night, she could ensure her husband’s murderer remains in jail. But Hanna hadn’t realised that those memories may cause her to question everything she thought she knew about her daughter… NetGalley

My review will follow soon

Next I am planning on reading What She Left by T.R. Richmond

What She Left

Blurb

Who is Alice Salmon? Student. Journalist. Daughter. Lover of late nights, hater of deadlines.
That girl who drowned last year.
Gone doesn’t mean forgotten.
Everyone’s life leaves a trace behind.
But it’s never the whole story.
“I will stand up and ask myself who I am. I do that a lot. I’ll look in the mirror. Reassure myself, scare myself, like myself, hate myself. My name is Alice Salmon.”
When Alice Salmon died last year, the ripples from her tragic drowning could be felt in the news, on the internet, and in the hearts of those closest to her. However, the man who knows her best isn’t family or a friend. His name is Professor Jeremy Cooke, an academic fixated on piecing together Alice’s existence. Cooke knows that faithfully recreating Alice, through her diaries, text messages, and online presence, has become all-consuming. But he does not know how deep his search will take him into this shocking story of love, loss and obsession where everyone – including himself – has something to hide . . . Amazon

Have you read any of these? What did you think?

What have you found to read this week?

See what I’ve been reading in 2015 here

Posted in Weekly Posts

Stacking The Shelves (April 11)

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!

From good old NetGalley I have Redemption Road by Lisa Ballantyne whose first novel The Guilty One was definitely a five star read for me.

Redemption Road

Blurb

The crash is the unravelling of Margaret Holloway. Trapped inside a car about to explode, she is rescued by a scarred stranger who then disappears. Margaret remembers little, but she’s spent her life remembering little – her childhood is full of holes and forgotten memories. Now she has a burning desire to discover who she is and why her life has been shrouded in secrets. What really happened to her when she was a child? Could it have anything to do with the mysterious man who saved her life?
Flitting effortlessly between past and present, this is a suspenseful, gritty and emotionally charged journey of an estranged father and daughter, exploring the strength of family ties and our huge capacity for forgiveness. NetGalley

Redemption Road is due for publication on 1 July 2015

From Bookbridgr I have a copy of The Lost Art Of Keeping Secrets by Eva Rice

Lost Art of Keeping Secrets

Blurb

Set in the 1950s, in an England still recovering from the Second World War, this is the enchanting story of Penelope Wallace and her eccentric family at the start of the rock’n’roll era.
Penelope longs to be grown-up and to fall in love, but various rather inconvenient things keep getting in her way. Like her mother, a stunning but petulant beauty widowed at a tragically early age, her younger brother Inigo, currently incapable of concentrating on anything that isn’t Elvis Presley, a vast but crumbling ancestral home, a severe shortage of cash, and her best friend Charlotte’s sardonic cousin Harry… Bookbridgr

The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets is also due for publication on 1 July 2015

From Amazon Vine I have a copy of What She Left by T.R. Richmond

What She Left

Blurb

Who is Alice Salmon? Student. Journalist. Daughter. Lover of late nights, hater of deadlines.
That girl who drowned last year.
Gone doesn’t mean forgotten.
Everyone’s life leaves a trace behind.
But it’s never the whole story.
“I will stand up and ask myself who I am. I do that a lot. I’ll look in the mirror. Reassure myself, scare myself, like myself, hate myself. My name is Alice Salmon.”
When Alice Salmon died last year, the ripples from her tragic drowning could be felt in the news, on the internet, and in the hearts of those closest to her. However, the man who knows her best isn’t family or a friend. His name is Professor Jeremy Cooke, an academic fixated on piecing together Alice’s existence. Cooke knows that faithfully recreating Alice, through her diaries, text messages, and online presence, has become all-consuming. But he does not know how deep his search will take him into this shocking story of love, loss and obsession where everyone – including himself – has something to hide . . . Amazon

And finally I have courtesy of Daniel Pembrey whose book Harbour Master I recently reviewed has sent me a copy of The Candidate.

The Candidate

Blurb

WHEN HEADHUNTER BECOMES THE HUNTED: Nick Thorneycroft is a British headhunter working in Luxembourg. His company asks him to recruit a high-flying executive for the company’s Russian business. The best candidate turns out to be smart, beautiful… and mysterious. Soon the effects of Russia’s political upheaval, and the arrival of an ex-girlfriend who won’t leave him alone, make Nick’s Luxembourg life increasingly perilous; worlds collide in this gripping, atmospheric tale. Goodreads

Any of these take your fancy? What have you found to read this week? Please do share in the comments below