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

The Suspect – Fiona Barton

Psychological Thriller
5*s

There can’t be many parents alive who have sons and daughters of a certain age who don’t feel mixed emotions should that child in any way be considering some time ‘travelling.’ It happened to me although my darling daughter had been to uni and lived independently while working and saving to go on her own adventure. On the one hand I was thrilled that she wanted to see how others live and at the same time to expand her own horizons and gain some experiences that I never had. On the other is that unease that it is so far away, in a place where the culture and rules are different and with the knowledge that not everyone you meet in life wishes you well.

I was therefore very pleased that those worrying days are now in the past but I can’t deny that aspects of The Suspect bought back those unstated fears so perhaps if you have a child either contemplating or travelling at the moment, postpone reading this one.

Alex has always wanted to travel with her very best friend and during the last year at school they planned their trip including all the must-see places in Thailand within its detailed itinerary. Then her best friend had to pull out but Rosie who lived down the road was able to find the money which meant Alex had someone to go with and after all an adventure is an adventure, right? And then things go wrong. No one hears from either Alex or Rosie on the day of their A Level results, or afterwards.

The story, as in the previous two books is told in part from the viewpoint of the reporter Kate Waters although perhaps this is the one story that gets far too close to home for comfort as her son is also travelling in Thailand. Also present is the police officer Bob Sparkes and for once we have an author who doesn’t go in for the outright hostility between the two professions but illustrates a more pragmatic relationship between the pair. We also hear from the parents of the two girls. Multiple viewpoints have become far more common in crime fiction but this is an author who uses them to the best advantage. Not once did I feel we were swapping the point of view to deliberately raise the tension (although there is no doubt that there is plenty of that too) but as the stories become more and more entwined these multiple viewpoints alongside Alex’s secret emails paint an entirely different picture than the telephone calls and social media postings had of the truth about the girl’s trip.

This was totally gripping and I felt that the viewpoints of all the mothers that featured in this book were real women. There are times when I feel the primeval emotion we feel about our children are often overblown, here we had the mixture of emotions that I’m sure is far more realistic and the book was all the more powerful for it.

I really don’t think the books need to be read in order, each working exceptionally well as a standalone read but as they are all five-star reads as far as I’m concerned I’m not sure why you wouldn’t!

I’d like to say a huge thank you to Random House UK for giving me a copy of The Suspect ahead of publication on 24 January 2019. This unbiased  review is my thanks to them and the author for such an engaging read.

First Published UK: 24 January 2019
Publisher: Bantam Press
No of Pages: 384
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Previous Books by Fiona Barton

The Widow
The Child

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (January 9)

This Week In Books

Hosted by Lipsy 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

My current read is The Red Address Book by Sofia Lundberg a wonderful story that has transported me to Sweden, through Paris and to America, and I’ve not finished it yet!

Blurb

A heartwarming debut about 96-year-old Doris, who writes down the memories of her eventful life as she pages through her decades-old address book. But the most profound moment of her life is still to come …
Meet Doris, a 96-year-old woman living alone in her Stockholm apartment. She has few visitors, but her weekly Skype calls with Jenny her American grand-niece, and her only relative give her great joy and remind her of her own youth.

When Doris was a girl, she was given an address book by her father, and ever since she has carefully documented everyone she met and loved throughout the years. Looking through the little book now, Doris sees the many crossed-out names of people long gone and is struck by the urge to put pen to paper. In writing down the stories of her colourful past—working as a maid in Sweden, modelling in Paris during the 30s, fleeing to Manhattan at the dawn of the Second World War.

Can she help Jenny, haunted by a difficult childhood, to unlock the secrets of their family and finally look to the future? And whatever became of Allan, the love of Doris’s life?

The last book I finished was full-on crime fiction in the shape of The Suspect by Fiona Barton. This story will set a chill through anyone who has a child travelling in Thailand but there is a good surprise for fans of the author in a catch-up with some characters we’ve met before. The Suspect will be published on 24 January 2019.

 

‘The police belonged to another world – the world they saw on the television or in the papers. Not theirs.’

Blurb

When two eighteen-year-old girls go missing on their gap year in Thailand, their families are thrust into the international spotlight: desperate, bereft and frantic with worry.

Journalist Kate Waters always does everything she can to be first to the story, first with the exclusive, first to discover the truth – and this time is no exception. But she can’t help but think of her own son, who she hasn’t seen in two years, since he left home to go travelling. This time it’s personal.
And as the case of the missing girls unfolds, they will all find that even this far away, danger can lie closer to home than you might think . . . Amazon

Next up I plan to read Murder in the Caribbean by Robert Thorogood in order to get some winter sunshine with the fourth in this delightful series by the creator and writer of the BBC One TV series.

Blurb

DI Richard Poole is hot, bothered and fed up. He’s stuck on the tropical island of Saint-Marie, forced to live in a rickety old shack on a beach, and there isn’t a decent cup of tea to be found anywhere.

When a boat explodes in the harbour, Richard and his team soon realise there’s a new murderer on the loose. But who is it? And why did the killer leave behind a ruby at the scene of the crime?

As the police dig deeper, they uncover secrets that go back decades, and a crime from the past that can never be forgiven.

Worse still, they soon realise this is only the beginning. They’ve got to catch the killer before there’s another death in paradise… Amazon

So that’s my weeks reading travelling across continents  – how far are you travelling?

Posted in Weekly Posts

Weekly Wrap Up (December 2)

Another busy week where winter has tried to make its mark with it feeling markedly colder, at least at times.

Well here we are already in December and seemingly hurtling towards Christmas! Yes, already!

 

I had a good shot at using the Gutenberg editor this week – not entirely without success, but with enough problems given that to make things easy for myself, I already had a methodology which isn’t aligned to the new system of blocks – for now I’ve switched back to the classic editor.

 

This Week on the Blog

I started this week’s posts with the results from the 19th Classic Club Spin in which I discovered that I have the novella Breakfast at Tiffany’s to read Not bad going seeing as this was supposed to be a chunkster!

My first review of the week was for a book from my own bookshelf, A Fractured Winter by Alison Baillie, a story of past actions having consequences in the present, set mainly in the Swiss Alps.

My second review was for The Lost Man by Jane Harper which is another raw story from this author and also set in the Australian outback.

This shortened week was rounded off with my Five of the Best for November 2014 to 2018 – I do love these posts which never fail to remind me of some of the fantastic books I’ve discovered in recent years.

This Time Last Year…

I was gearing up for Christmas by reading a book on my favourite subject, Poison. Poison Panic by Helen Barrell details the panic caused in Essex by the seemingly unstoppable rise of poisoners, particularly women poisoners!

Helen Barrell’s book, Poison Panic, delves into the facts, and the fiction, of these events using all available sources to examine the cases and to evaluate whether there was any sense of collusion between the women whose crimes feature here. She’s picked three notable women from the area Sarah Chesham Mary May and Hannah Southgate whose crimes in rural Essex led to wariness about that gentle hand at home who was in charge of preparing the food could also be slipping some of the notorious white powder into the dish!

A fascinating read which not only is informative about the women featured within the book but also gives a sense of the life and times within which they lived, and allegedly murdered!

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

Blurb

For a few years in the 1840s, Essex was notorious in the minds of Victorians as a place where women stalked the winding country lanes looking for their next victim to poison with arsenic. It’s a terrible image – and also one that doesn’t seem to have much basis in truth – but this was a time of great anxiety.

The 1840s were also known as the ‘hungry ’40s’, when crop failures pushed up food prices and there was popular unrest across Europe. The decade culminated in a cholera epidemic in which tens of thousands of people in the British Isles died. It is perhaps no surprise that people living through that troubled decade were captivated by the stories of the ‘poisoners’: that death was down to ‘white powder’ and the evil intentions of the human heart.

Sarah Chesham, Mary May and Hannah Southgate are the protagonists of this tale of how rural Essex, in a country saturated with arsenic, was touched by the tumultuous 1840s. Amazon

Stacking the Shelves

In keeping with the festive spirit I am delighted to have received a copy of My Mother, the Psychopath by Olivia Rayne, which is to be published by Ebury Press on 24 January 2019.



Blurb

‘When people met her they thought how lovely she was, this attractive woman with a beautiful laugh. But she was one person in public and another behind closed doors. Who would she be today? The loving mother? The trusted teacher? The monster destroying my life?’

Olivia has been afraid ever since she can remember. Out of sight, she was subjected to cruelty and humiliation at the hands of the one person who should have loved and protected her at all times – her mother, Josephine.

While appearing completely normal to the outside world, Josephine displayed all the signs of being a psychopath – unbeknown to her daughter until adulthood – and Olivia grew up feeling scared, worthless and exploited. Even when she found the courage to cut ties, her mother found new ways to manipulate and deceive, attempting to destroy her life with a vicious campaign of abuse.

Now Olivia has come to terms with her past and gives a fascinating, harrowing and deeply unsettling insight into what it’s like growing up with a psychopathic parent. Amazon

I have also been extremely fortunate to receive a copy of the latest book by Fiona Barton, the author of The Widow and The Child, both of which I really enjoyed. The Suspect will be published on 24 January 2019 by Random House UK.



Blurb

‘The police belonged to another world – the world they saw on the television or in the papers. Not theirs.’

When two eighteen-year-old girls go missing on their gap year in Thailand, their families are thrust into the international spotlight: desperate, bereft and frantic with worry.

Journalist Kate Waters always does everything she can to be first to the story, first with the exclusive, first to discover the truth – and this time is no exception. But she can’t help but think of her own son, who she hasn’t seen in two years, since he left home to go travelling. This time it’s personal.

And as the case of the missing girls unfolds, they will all find that even this far away, danger can lie closer to home than you might think . . . NetGalley

And waiting in the wings for my pleasure is The Long Divorce by Edmund Crispin a book I simply had to buy having had such fun reading The Moving Toyshop earlier this year.

Blurb

The peaceful and prosperous village of Cotten Abbas has a very unpleasant problem.

Long inhabited by a collection of proudly offbeat locals, there has been a recent influx of the newly rich and very well to do… and not everyone is happy about it.

New arrivals are receiving anonymous letters that know a little too much about dark secrets and dirty laundry and they don’t seem likely to stop.

Gervase Fen is summoned to the scene, but soon finds more than he bargained for. A suicide on Friday, a murder by Sunday, and some villagers that seem hell bent on keeping this mystery unsolved… Amazon

What have you found to read?

tbr-watch

Having done a quick compare with the TBR from last year, I’m still down although it has risen slightly to a healthy 168
Physical Books – 112
Kindle Books – 36
NetGalley Books –19
Audio Books –1

 

I have added one reviews of my own books since my last count 3 full book tokens!