Posted in #20 Books of Summer 2016, Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads

The Narrow Bed – Sophie Hannah #20booksofsummer

Book 13

Crime Thriller 5*s
Crime Thriller
5*s

The one thing that can’t be disputed about Sophie Hannah’s books is that they are all a unique reading experience; The Narrow Bed does not break this tradition. So much so that it is often hard to articulate exactly what the book is about but I’ll give it my best shot!

Two pairs of best friends have been killed and the Culver Valley are investigating alongside other police forces to identify the perpetrator. So far so simple, the police have helpfully provided the press with a catchy name to keep the crimes in the news and to gain intelligence from the public ‘Billy Dead Mates’ makes his way into everyone’s homes especially when ardent feminist Sondra Halliday choses this subject to rail against misogyny, despite one of the victims being male. Sophie Hannah is a genius at picking out the nonsense that seems to prevail and takes it one infinitesimal step further to allow us to laugh at ourselves and each other with the absurd truth of on-line news forums for one.

This book, like a few of the others in this series, has a strong literary leaning most obviously with the little white books delivered to each victim a few weeks before they are killed. These books all contain a single line of poetry but no-one can fit the puzzle together and work out what it means. Well of course readers of this series know that Simon Waterhouse, the genius detective will, at some point, but will he be quick enough to prevent any further murders? The biggest mystery of all as usual though, is whether Simon will let his detective wife, Charley Zailer in on any of his mental gymnastics.

The difference in this series is that the personal details are kept to a minimum so each of the books will work perfectly well as a stand-alone read although we do get a snapshot into the current state of affairs through her sister’s Charley’s eyes of Livvy’s ongoing complex life.

This really is a proper murder mystery albeit with extremely obscure clues and broken up by newspaper articles and letters, and of course the literary references including excerpts from the book, Origami, written by one of the main players, the stand-up comedian Kim Tribbeck. All of this adds to the sheer enjoyment in reading the book which at times diverts into blind-alley’s without ever losing the overall plotline. I never think for a second that I am going to work out who the killer is in Sophie Hannah’s books but in this instance I formed an opinion, that was right but I was way off with the motive which was an absolute delight.

If you haven’t already guessed, I’m a fan of Sophie Hannah’s for a number of reasons but none of those would count if she didn’t have the dexterity of language, the well thought out plots and her characterisation which despite bordering on the bizarre, are such a pleasure to learn about. The numerous sub-plots and backstories all lend texture and contrast to the story.

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
9. The Telling Error

Standalone Books

A Game for all the Family

First Published UK: 11 February 2016
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
No of Pages 416
Genre: Crime Thriller (series)
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (August 17)

This Week In Books

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 have just started reading The Narrow Bed by Sophie Hannah which is book 10 in the Culver Valley Crime series

The Narrow Bed

Blurb

What if having a best friend was the most dangerous thing you could do?

A killer that the police are calling ‘Billy Dead Mates’ is murdering pairs of best friends, one by one.
Before they die, each victim is given a small white book…
For months, detectives have failed to catch Billy, or work out what the white books mean. And then a woman, scared by what she’s seen on the news, comes forward.
Stand-up comedian Kim Tribbeck has one of Billy’s peculiar little books. A stranger gave it to her at a gig she did a year ago. Was he Billy, and does he want to kill her? Kim has no friends and trusts no one, so how – and why – could she possibly be Billy Dead Mates’ next target? Amazon

I have just finished The Perfect Girl by Gilly Macmillan

The Perfect Girl

You will find the synopsis and an excerpt in yesterday’s post.

Next up I plan to read The Chemistry of Death by Simon Beckett, another choice from my 20 Books of Summer challenge.

The Chemistry Of Death

Blurb

Three years ago, David Hunter moved to rural Norfolk to escape his life in London, his gritty work in forensics, and a tragedy that nearly destroyed him. Working as a simple country doctor, seeing his lost wife and daughter only in his dreams, David struggles to remain uninvolved when the corpse of a woman is found in the woods, a macabre sign from her killer decorating her body. In one horrifying instant, the quiet summer countryside that had been David’s refuge has turned malevolent—and suddenly there is no place to hide.
The village of Manham is tight-knit, far from the beaten path. As a newcomer, Dr. Hunter is immediately a suspect. Once an expert in analyzing human remains, he reluctantly joins the police investigation—and when another woman disappears, it soon becomes personal. Because this time she is someone David knows, someone who has managed to penetrate the icy barrier around his heart. With a killer’s bizarre and twisted methods screaming out to him, with a brooding countryside beset with suspicion, David can feel the darkness gathering around him. For as the clock ticks down on a young woman’s life, David must follow a macabre trail of clues—all the way to its final, horrifying conclusion. Amazon

What are you reading this week? Do share!

Posted in #20 Books of Summer 2016

20 Books of Summer 2016! Part II #20booksofsummer

20 Books of Summer 2016

Cathy at Cathy 746 has a yearly challenge to read twenty books over the summer months starting on 1 June 2016 and running until 5 September 2016, and I’ve decided to join her.

As I’m competitive I signed up for the full twenty. My personal challenge is to read these twenty books from my bookshelf, physical books that I already own before the end of the challenge. I’m on book nine at the moment (although only up to review number five) and as I only chose the first ten books at the start, I promised I’d add the second set half way through the challenge – so here we are books eleven to twenty!

Books 11 to 20 Summer 2016

The Narrow Bed by Sophie Hannah

The Twins by Saskia Sarginson

They Did It With Love by Kate Morgenroth

Standing In The Shadows by Jon Stasiak

Did She Kill Him? by Kate Colquhoun

The Rehearsal by Eleanor Catton

Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight

Tea by the Nursery Fire by Noel Streatfeild

The Chemistry of Death by Simon Beckett

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie

I have been joining Cathy by tweeting my way through the challenge using the hashtag #20booksofsummer. Each of my posts for this challenge have the logo and the number of the book attached.

Like last year there is a master page linking the titles to my reviews as they are posted.

So what do you think of the second half of my choices? Do you have any suggestions on where I should start or perhaps you think some of these need to be put back on the shelf and forgotten about? All comments welcomed!

Posted in Weekly Posts

Stacking the Shelves (March 5)

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 funnily enough, despite my good intentions I have more new books to share with you all!

From NetGalley I am delighted to have received a copy of Lying In Wait by Liz Nugent. This author wrote one of my favourite reads of 2014, Unravelling Oliver.

Lying in wait


Blurb

FROM THE NUMBER 1 BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF UNRAVELLING OLIVER, 2014 IBA CRIME NOVEL OF THE YEAR Another absorbing, twisty, brilliantly observed story of murder in high places The last people who expect to be meeting with a drug-addicted prostitute are a respected judge and his reclusive wife. And they certainly don’t plan to kill her and bury her in their exquisite suburban garden. Yet Andrew and Lydia Fitzsimons find themselves in this unfortunate situation. While Lydia does all she can to protect their innocent son Laurence and their social standing, her husband begins to falls apart. But Laurence is not as naïve as Lydia thinks. And his obsession with the dead girl’s family may be the undoing of his own. NetGalley

Lying in Wait will be published on 7 July 2016.

I also have a copy of Shot Through the Heart by Isabelle Grey, another author who has delivered great books, in fact I began my review of the first in this series, Good Girls Don’t Die by saying, ‘For anyone who thinks that the good old police procedural has had its day, think again.’

Shot through the heart

Blurb

Blurb

Who can you turn to, if not the police?
Essex, Christmas Day. As the residents of a small town enjoy their mince pies, shots ring out in the street. Five people are gunned down before the lone shooter turns his weapon on himself.
Grace Fisher, now Detective Inspector, is tasked with making some sense of this atrocity – all the more sensitive because the first of the victims was one of their own: a police officer. The case throws her back together with crime reporter Ivo Sweatman, but as she investigates it becomes clear that the police connection goes much deeper than she thought.
As the evidence of corruption grows and she is obstructed at every turn, Grace knows she is walking further into danger. Then, her young key witness disappears…
What far-reaching compromises will Grace have to make to safeguard the innocent? NetGalley

Shot Through the Heart will be published by Quercus on 24 March 2016

I also got through the post as a complete surprise a copy of The One In A Million Boy by Monica Wood courtesy of Headline ahead of publication on 5 April 2016.

The One in a Million Boy

Blurb

Miss Ona Vitkus has – aside from three months in the summer of 1914 – lived unobtrusively, her secrets fiercely protected.
The boy, with his passion for world records, changes all that. He is eleven. She is one hundred and four years, one hundred and thirty three days old (they are counting). And he makes her feel like she might be really special after all. Better late than never…
Only it’s been two weeks now since he last visited, and she’s starting to think he’s not so different from all the rest.
Then the boy’s father comes, for some reason determined to finish his son’s good deed. And Ona must show this new stranger that not only are there odd jobs to be done, but a life’s ambition to complete . . . Goodreads

I also purchased a couple of books in a weak moment. I simply couldn’t resist a copy of Mrs Maybrick by Victoria Blake when the author commented on my recent review of The Last Woman Hanged  mentioning that she had researched and written this book about a similar poisoner in Liverpool rather than New South Wales at around the same time. I do know a little about Florence Maybrick, having read the marvellous Victorian Murderesses by Mary S. Hartman. You can find more about Victoria Blake fro her blog here

Mrs Maybrick

Blurb

Florence Maybrick was a 19 year old Alabama belle when she married Liverpool cotton-broker James Maybrick in 1881. She was convicted of his murder in 1889 after arsenic was found in his corpse. However, it was never established whether she administered the poison or whether Maybrick himself took the fatal dose. This Crime Archive title examines the murder, trial and controversy through Home Office files held at The National Archives. Amazon

And lastly I bought a copy of The Narrow Bed by Sophie Hannah, book ten in the Culver Valley Crime series which I adore.

The Narrow Bed

Blurb

A killer that the police are calling ‘Billy Dead Mates’ is murdering pairs of best friends, one by one.
Before they die, each victim is given a small white book…
For months, detectives have failed to catch Billy, or work out what the white books mean. And then a woman, scared by what she’s seen on the news, comes forward.
Stand-up comedian Kim Tribbeck has one of Billy’s peculiar little books. A stranger gave it to her at a gig she did a year ago. Was he Billy, and does he want to kill her? Kim has no friends and trusts no one. How – and why – could she possibly be Billy Dead Mates’ next target? Amazon

Now for an apology – I haven’t been able to answer all your lovely comments this week or visit your blogs, something I intend to rectify this weekend! I had to cross the water to the UK which caused internet access issues and then I’ve been overwhelmed at work… normal service should resume now!

PicMonkey Collage TBR

TBR WATCH
Since my last count I have read 6 books, and gained, 5, so the total has reduced by a massive 1 giving a now miniscule number of 171 books!
85 physical books
71 e-books
15 books on NetGalley

 

What have you found to read this week?