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

The Evidence Against You – Gillian McAllister

Psychological Thriller
5*s

Gillian McAllister has already cemented herself as an author whose books I must read so it is fair to say I had very high expectations for The Evidence Against You. Once again the author almost poses her question from the first page of the book, in this case how would you feel if your father, a man who has been in prison for the last seventeen years for the murder of your mother, wants to convince you of his innocence. Yes I acknowledge it’s unlikely that that happens to many people but what Gillian McAllister is great at doing is that after she has posed her question she introduces you to characters that you can absolutely believe in.

Izzy’s mother Alex was murdered. Her body was found in woods some twenty years ago and her father was imprisoned for her murder. But that was then, now Izzy runs her mother’s restaurant even though she isn’t particularly fond of the industry or that interested in the food created there but she has the support of her cousin. Izzy is married to Nick, a police analyst who is her ‘rock.’ Nick would rather her father, Gabe, was left in the past and he’s undoubtedly worried when Gabe turns up seeking Izzy’s undivided attention, seeking to prove that he was innocent of any wrongdoing.

So we have a great premise, some well-drawn and convincing characters and into the mix the author places them all on the Isle of Wight. This being a small community which of course gives us endless secrets either kept close to chests by those islanders who either didn’t want to get involved or those who thought that they would benefit more from keeping quiet. Of course when Gabe makes his way back to the island the news is out – Gabe and Izzy can’t meet without being spotted by someone. A small town setting gives the reader a whole spectrum of levels of secrecy to deal with and it is one I am particularly fond of; living on an island myself I know how precarious secrecy can be depending who knows the secret!

The structure of the story is that of flitting backwards and forwards through town to the events before and immediately after Alex’s murder to those in the present day. The author has done a great job of making the character of Izzy consistent enough to recognise that it is the same person while providing some aspects to show both character growth and change due to the trauma that she has had to deal with since that day.

Once again I found this to be an incredibly addictive read. I did not want to put the book aside, I needed to know what conclusion Izzy would come to and how she would deal with whatever that might be. I was not disappointed and so I’m left hoping that this brilliant author has another incredible idea up her sleeve for me to consume soon.

I am extremely grateful to the publishers Penguin UK The Evidence Against You, and of course Gillian McAllister. This unbiased review is my thanks to them.

First Published UK: 18 April 2019
Publisher: Penguin
No. of Pages: 448
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Previous Books by Gillian McAllister
Everything But The Truth
Anything You Do Say
No Further Questions

Posted in Weekly Posts

Weekly Wrap Up (January 13)

Well my first weekly wrap up post of 2019 is here already and I’m pleased to say I have actually read and reviewed some books this week.

In short I had a bit of a reading/blogging crisis towards the end of 2018 which in part I am blaming my desire to cut down on the TBR by restricting my purposes throughout 2018. I did really well but as the choices on my own TBR became less attractive the aim of the project actually put the brakes on my reading full stop.

But this is a new year and although I am hoping not to purchase numerous books with wild abandon, I will be carrying out regular clear outs on the TBR assigning those of my own books that I have no wish to read either to the virtual bin (eBooks) or handing them off to charity shops (physical books).

On the plus side my break from blogging does mean  I have a few books to review in hand, this week I began by clearing off those read towards the end of November 2018.

This Week on the Blog

My week started with a review of a book that was published on Thursday, Jane Fallon’s Tell Me a Secret switched her usual revenge on men or friends to a work colleague. The story told with the author’s trademark eye for what makes people tick and despite it all the result is a light-hearted look at life.

My excerpt post was taken from a book I have already read; To Catch a Killer by Emma Kavanagh, which will be published by Orion on 24 January 2019.

This Week in Books featured the authors Robert Thorogood, Sofia Lundberg and Fiona Barton.

This was followed by my review of a true crime book that I selected from NetGalley way back in 2016 but didn’t read as I felt I probably needed to watch the connected Netflix series Making a Murderer first. That didn’t happen until the end of 2018. The Innocent Killer by Michael Griesbach was interesting in parts but I felt let down by the amount of bias in the account.

I then reviewed The Wych Elm by Tana French, the author of the Dublin Series, who has now penned this standalone book. This was crime fiction which concentrated on the chief protagonist and looked at society and the beliefs we tell ourselves and each other as well as a solid mystery of how there came to be a skull in a tree!

My last review of the week was for another true crime, this one a historical one set in 1931 which has stumped crime writers ever since. Move to Murder by Antony M Brown like the other two books currently in the series, is linked to a website which holds some of the ‘evidence’ used as well as giving the reader the opportunity to vote for the most likely scenario.

This Time Last Year…

I was reading Close to Home by Cara Hunter, later on in the year I read In The Dark, the second in the series which features Adam Fawley, and currently have an ARC of the third No Way Out which is due out later this year.

The book was an instant winner for me. Number one the characters well-formed although I have a feeling some will be universally disliked although Adam Fawley is a likeable detective, not an alcoholic although he does have a bit of baggage, but who doesn’t and it’s the kind of problem which is likely to produce a hefty amount of sympathy. He has a good team who are in the main supportive of each other, a fairly inoffensive bit of rivalry between a couple of officers but not the angst ridden teams with endless pressure piled on from above that is the normal crime fiction fare.

Secondly the plot was great – there are multiple strands and there was no doubt in my mind that some rigorous editing had taken place to ensure that they were all kept straight as the story progressed. If that weren’t enough the structure of the book whist not being wacky so it becomes bigger than the story itself was different enough to give a ‘fresh feel’ to this crime fiction novel.

You can read my review here or click on the book cover.

Blurb

HOW CAN A CHILD GO MISSING WITHOUT A TRACE?

Last night, eight-year-old Daisy Mason disappeared from a family party. No one in the quiet suburban street saw anything – or at least that’s what they’re saying.

DI Adam Fawley is trying to keep an open mind. But he knows the nine times out of ten, it’s someone the victim knew.

That means someone is lying…
And that Daisy’s time is running out.

Introducing DI Fawley and his team of Oxford detectives, and a Richard and Judy Book Club pick for Spring 2018, CLOSE TO HOME is the new crime thriller series to get addicted to. Amazon

Stacking the Shelves

Unsurprisingly I’ve done a fair bit of stacking the old shelves since the clock struck midnight on 1 January 2019.  To keep the list to a minimum I’m going to share one from each type of book this week.

 

From NetGalley I have a copy of The Evidence Against You by Gillian McAllister who is one of the new authors that have really wowed me over the last couple of years.  This book isn’t due to be published until 18 April 2019 but I’m going to have to read it long before then!

Blurb

It’s the day her father will be released from jail. Izzy English has every reason to feel conflicted – he’s the man who gave her a childhood filled with happy memories. But he has also just served seventeen years for the murder of her mother.

Now, Izzy’s father sends her a letter. He wants to talk, to defend himself against each piece of evidence from his trial. But should she give him the benefit of the doubt? Or is her father guilty as charged, and luring her into a trap? Amazon

For my kindle I have purchased a copy of Day of the Dead by Nicci French, the eighth and last book in the Freida Klein series which I’ve been longing to read for a while.

Blurb

At long last, a final reckoning is coming for Frieda Klein…

On a north London high street, a runaway vehicle crashes to a halt, but the man in the driving seat was murdered a week earlier.

On Hampstead Heath, a bonfire blazes: in the flames lies the next victim.

As autumn leaves fall, a serial killer runs amok in the capital, playing games with the police. The death toll is rising fast, and the investigation is floundering.

But this is no ordinary killer, and every new victim is intended as a message to just one woman – psychologist Freida Klein.

And the message is very simple.

You’re next. . .

Frieda Klein’s duel with her dark nemesis is finally coming to a climax – and only one can make it out alive. Amazon

My audio selection is Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman as this seemed to be in a similar vein to other books I’ve chosen to listen to, rather than read, although I’m slightly concerned by the ‘heartbreaking tag’ as that may cause me some issues on my daily walk home from work.

Blurb

Eleanor Oliphant has learned how to survive – but not how to live

Eleanor Oliphant leads a simple life. She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend.

Eleanor Oliphant is happy. Nothing is missing from her carefully timetabled life. Except, sometimes, everything.

One simple act of kindness is about to shatter the walls Eleanor has built around herself. Now she must learn how to navigate the world that everyone else seems to take for granted – while searching for the courage to face the dark corners she’s avoided all her life.

Change can be good. Change can be bad. But surely any change is better than… fine? Amazon

And in physical book format I have been purchasing some of the books I will need to crack on with my reads for The Classic Club, something I’m determined to do in 2019.  One of the books I want to read is The Saplings by Noel Streatfeild, the author being one of my favourite in childhood.


Blurb

Noel Streatfeild is best known as a writer for children, but had not thought of writing for them until persuaded to re-work her first novel as Ballet Shoes; this had sold ten million copies by the time of her death.

Saplings (1945), her tenth book for adults, is also about children: a family with four of them, to whom we are first introduced in all their secure Englishness in the summer of 1939. ‘Her purpose is to take a happy, successful, middle-class pre-war family – and then track in miserable detail the disintegration and devastation which war brought to tens of thousands of such families,’ writes the psychiatrist Dr Jeremy Holmes in his Afterword. Her ‘supreme gift was her ability to see the world from a child’s perspective’ and ‘she shows that children can remain serene in the midst of terrible events as long as they are handled with love and openness.’ She understood that ‘the psychological consequences of separating children from their parents was glossed over in the rush to ensure their physical survival… It is fascinating to watch Streatfeild casually and intuitively anticipate many of the findings of developmental psychology over the past fifty years.’

‘A study of the disintegration of a middle-class family during the turmoil of the Second World War, and quite shocking’ wrote Sarah Waters in the Guardian. Amazon

As mentioned at the start of this post the TBR is being culled and I no longer feel I ‘must’ read books I’ve bought but that no longer interest me, however to keep an eye on the running total I intend to continue to keep track of the various ups and downs.

tbr-watchThis week it is standing a respectable and appealing 170

Physical Books – 115
Kindle Books – 36
NetGalley Books –16
Audio Books –4