Friday, 30 January 2015

The Shut Eye by Belinda Bauer

The Shut Eye 

Anna Buck's five year old son Daniel has been missing for several months. Every day she obsessively scrubs clean the footprints that he made in the drying concrete outside his home just before he vanished seemingly into thin air.  He walked out of the front door that had been left open by his Dad James and hasn't been seen since. After getting a leaflet through the door for a psychic meeting held at a local church Anna decides to attend and meets Richard Latham.  She's hoping that Daniel is still alive and that Richard will be able to see where he is so her son can be returned home to her safely.


Detective Chief Inspector John Marvel previously worked on the case of missing twelve year old girl Edie Evans. She's been gone for over a year and there's still no sign of her, just her battered bike that was found. Marvel even used Richard Latham despite not believing in psychics. Fifteen months on the case still haunts John and he's desperate to solve it and hopefully find the girl alive.


I've enjoyed all of Belinda Bauer's crime novels so far including this one. The characters in The Shut Eye all seem very real to life, you get a real insight into Anna's suffering and the decline in her mental health, none of which is surprising after all she and her husband have been through. I always think that the author's books are as much about the lives of the characters as they are finding out the culprit of the crime itself. Despite the subject matter there are also some light hearted moments in the story, Marvel having to try and solve the disappearance of the Chief Superintendents dog and the amateur psychics attempts to contact the dead at the meeting immediately spring to mind. I rattled through this in a couple of days, it's a well written crime novel that grabbed me from the start and wouldn't let go.


Thanks to Transworld and Netgalley for a copy of this in return for an honest review



Rating: 4 out of 5


Published by Transworld Digital/Bantam Press on 12th March 2015

Thursday, 22 January 2015

The A to Z of You and Me by James Hannah

The A to Z of You and Me

Ivo is forty years old and at first we don't know much about him apart from the fact he is dying in a hospice. He doesn't want any visitors and seems resigned to just lying in his bed waiting for the end to come. Sheila, his nurse, suggests a game to him to help keep his mind active and spirits up. He has to name a part of his body for each letter of the alphabet and remember a story about himself to go with it. This makes him recall events from his past and we start to find out more about him as well as his family, friends and girlfriend Mia.

Some parts of the story are incredibly sad and I was in tears on a few occasions. Despite this I didn't find the book a depressing read and rattled through it quickly. It looks at relationships in a different way to anything I've read before and I enjoyed finding out about decisions and mistakes Ivo had made in his life. It is wonderfully well written and hard to believe this is James Hannah's debut novel. Very early on I felt this was going to be a book I loved and I was right.


Rating: 5 out of 5

Thank you to Transworld and Netgalley for a review copy.


Publication date: 12th March 2015

Friday, 16 January 2015

Book Beginnings On Fridays (The Last Policeman)

Book Beginnings on Fridays is hosted by Rose City Reader and as she says the idea of this meme is for you to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author's name. There's a linky list on the website and you can use #BookBeginnings on Twitter.


This week my book beginning is The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters


I'm staring at the insurance man and he's staring at me, two cold gray eyes behind old-fashioned tortoiseshell frames, and I'm having this awful and inspiring feeling, like holy moly this is real, and I don't know if I'm ready, I really don't.


The Last Policeman (Last Policeman, #1) 


Book Description

 What’s the point in solving murders if we’re all going to die soon, anyway?

Detective Hank Palace has faced this question ever since asteroid 2011GV1 hovered into view. There’s no chance left. No hope. Just six precious months until impact.

The Last Policeman presents a fascinating portrait of a pre-apocalyptic United States. The economy spirals downward while crops rot in the fields. Churches and synagogues are packed. People all over the world are walking off the job—but not Hank Palace. He’s investigating a death by hanging in a city that sees a dozen suicides every week—except this one feels suspicious, and Palace is the only cop who cares.

The first in a trilogy, The Last Policeman offers a mystery set on the brink of an apocalypse. As Palace’s investigation plays out under the shadow of 2011GV1, we’re confronted by hard questions way beyond “whodunit.” What basis does civilization rest upon? What is life worth? What would any of us do, what would we really do, if our days were numbered?


Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Second Life by S.J. Watson

 Second Life


Following her sister Kate's murder in Paris, Julia's search to find out what happened leads her online, to the websites Kate used to find men for internet sex. On one of them Julia meets Lukas, but is he all that he seems?


After reading and loving the author's first novel, Before I Go To Sleep, I have been eagerly awaiting his follow-up. Unfortunately I have been left feeling disappointed. The story is very slow to start with, in fact I almost gave up on it about a third of the way through and if this had been by a writer who was new to me I would have. I also found Julia annoying; perhaps she's supposed to be but all this meant was that by the time the novel did improve half way into the story, I didn't really care what happened to her. 


Thankfully the second half of the book had a much quicker pace with twists and turns, even if some of these were unbelievable to the extreme. At this stage, I found the book difficult to put down. I can't say too much about the ending obviously without spoiling it for others but this also left me feeling a bit let down. Maybe if the majority of Second Life had been set at the pace of the last 50% I would have enjoyed it more; as it is this just felt like lots of different ideas and styles of book all melded into one.

Thanks to Transworld and Netgalley for a copy in return for an honest review.


Rating: 2 out of 5

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

A Spool Of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler

A Spool of Blue Thread


This novel, as a lot of Tyler's are, is the story of a family. In this instance they are the Whitshanks, made up of Abby and Red who are parents to Denny, Stem, Jeannie and Amanda. The children are now grown up with families of their own and as well as learning about them, the novel also travels back in time. We find out how Abby and Red got together as well as Red's Mother and Father.


I love Anne Tyler; she makes the ordinary everyday lives of people interesting and gripping. We can see ourselves and others we know in the characters she creates. They sometimes say the wrong thing, can irritate each other as well as be amusing but ultimately they love and look out for one another, as we all do.


The author has said this will be her final novel; a shame as she is a great writer. If that is true though she has certainly finished on a high, as A Spool Of Blue Thread is one of her best. Also luckily for me I still have a couple of hers on my shelf that I have yet to read.


Thanks to Netgalley and Vintage Publishing for a copy of this in return for an honest review.


Publication date: 10th February 2015 


Rating: 5 out of 5