Book Bingo – Written by An Author I have Never Read – The Silent Patient: Alex Michaelides

The Silent Patient

The Silent Patient

Alex Michaelides

Hachette Australia

Orion

ISBN: 9781409181620

 

Description:

Alicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London’s most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word.

 

Alicia’s refusal to talk, or give any kind of explanation, turns a domestic tragedy into something far grander, a mystery that captures the public imagination and casts Alicia into notoriety. The price of her art skyrockets, and she, the silent patient, is hidden away from the tabloids and spotlight at the Grove, a secure forensic unit in North London.

 

Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. His determination to get her to talk and unravel the mystery of why she shot her husband takes him down a twisting path into his own motivations—a search for the truth that threatens to consume him….

 

My View:

 

“Unexpressed emotions will never die. They are buried alive, and will come forth later, in uglier ways. Sigmund Freud”

― Alex Michaelides, The Silent Patient

 

This is an exceptional debut.

Alex Michaelides “ studied English literature at Cambridge University and got his  MA in screenwriting at the American Film Institute in Los Angeles. He wrote the film The Devil You Know (2013) starring Rosamund Pike and co-wrote The Con is On (2018), starring Uma Thurman, Tim Roth, Parker Posey and Sofia Vergara. THE SILENT PATIENT is his first novel.” https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17621440.Alex_Michaelides

 

Alex Michaelides writes a terrific psychological thriller that plays like a film in your head; visual, compelling, surprising. A narrative told in two voices – that of Alicia – whose thoughts and actions are explored via her diary (and art), before and after committing the crime that has her incarcerated in a secure unit, and the voice of her therapist.

 

I love the trope of the unreliable narrator – and in this book we are privileged to experience two such narrators! What a powerful tool this is in the hands of such a skilled story teller. And there is a magnificent twist that I didn’t see coming.

 

A great read.

 

 

 

 

Book Bingo- Themes of Justice- The Rip – Mark Brandi

The Rip

The Rip

Mark Brandi

Hachette Australia

ISBN: 9780733641121

RRP $29.99

 

Description:

‘It’s funny how quick it happens and without you really noticing. Anton said once that it’s like walking out into the sea, and you think everything’s fine and the water’s warm, but when you turn back you’re suddenly miles from shore. I’ve never been much of a swimmer, but I get what he means. Like, being caught in a current or something. A rip.’

 

A young woman, living on the street has to keep her wits about her. Or her friends. But when the drugs kick in that can be hard.

 

Anton has been looking out for her. She was safe with him. But then Steve came along.

 

He had something over Anton. Must have. But he had a flat they could crash in. And gear in his pocket. And she can’t stop thinking about it. A good hit makes everything all right.

 

But the flat smells weird.

There’s a lock on Steve’s bedroom door.

And the guy is intense.

 

The problem is, sometimes you just don’t know you are in too deep, until you are drowning.

 

 

My View:

Mark Brandi has a special talent, a super power, he is able to insert poignant, authentic characters into his narratives that tell urban, contemporary stories that have great social impact.  Subtle yet powerful, what an amazing voice he and his characters have.

 

Bravo! Encore!

 

What’s next Mark? I can’t wait to find out.

 

Book Bingo – Book Set In An Exotic Location: Gone By Midnight – Candice Fox

Gone by Midnight

Gone by Midnight

Crimson Lake #3

Candice Fox

Penguin Books

Bantam Australia

ISBN: 9780143789154

Description:

Ex-cop Ted Conkaffey is slowing rebuilding his life in Crimson Lake, and getting to know his three-year-old daughter, Lillian. But when he and his PI partner Amanda take on the case of a boy who seems to have literally disappeared into thin air, his job once again threatens everything . . .

 

Crimson Lake is where bad people come to disappear – and where eight-year-old boys vanish into thin air . . .

 

On the fifth floor of the White Caps Hotel, four young friends are left alone while their parents dine downstairs. But when Sara Farrow checks on the children at midnight, her son is missing. The boys swear they stayed in their room, and CCTV confirms Richie has not left the building. Despite a thorough search, no trace of the child is found.

 

Distrustful of the police, Sara turns to Crimson Lake’s unlikeliest private investigators: disgraced cop Ted Conkaffey and convicted killer Amanda Pharrell. This case just the sort of twisted puzzle that gets Amanda’s blood pumping.

 

For Ted, the case couldn’t have come at a worse time. Two years ago a false accusation robbed him of his career, his reputation and most importantly his family. But now Lillian, the daughter he barely knows, is coming to stay in his ramshackle cottage by the lake.

 

Ted must dredge up the area’s worst characters to find a missing boy. And the kind of danger he uncovers could well put his own child in deadly peril . . .

 

 

My View:

An outstanding work of crime fiction/mystery!

 

This is an excellent read, this series just gets better and better. I think this has to be my favourite Candice Fox read thus far. Candice has provided the reader with exciting plot lines, some great empathetic characters, wonderful eerie settings (crocodiles and swamps are a spine chilling combination), some great twists and turns and a conclusion that is spiked with hope.

 

I love this series! More please.

 

 

 

Book Bingo: Written By An Australian Woman – Painting in the Shadows – Katherine Kovacic

Painting in the Shadows

Painting the Shadows

Katherine Kovacic

Echo Publishing

ISBN: 9781760685775

 

Description:

Deadly paintings, mysterious colours and hidden works…

*

Art dealer Alex Clayton and conservator John Porter are thrilled to be previewing the Melbourne International Museum of Art’s (MIMA) newest exhibition, until they witness a museum worker collapse and badly damage a reportedly cursed painting.

 

Belief in the curse is strengthened when MIMA’s senior conservator Meredith Buchanan dies less than twenty-four hours later while repairing the work. But Alex and John are convinced there is a decidedly human element at work in the museum.

 

The evidence sets them on the trail of a mysterious painting that could hold a key to Meredith’s death, and the stakes are raised higher when Alex is offered her dream job at MIMA. Damaging the museum’s reputation will jeopardise her professional future.

 

The friends soon realise they are facing an adversary far more ruthless than they had anticipated, and there is much more at risk than Alex’s career.

 

 

My View:

Painting The Shadows in a book that provides the reader with an interesting glimpse into the world of art, galleries and art conservation. This view is fascinating and even prompted me to do some internet research on some of the artists that are mentioned in the narrative.

 

This is book 2 in the Alex Clayton Art Mystery series and for me this had quite a different emphasis than the first book (drama, mystery); this read provided more character development and backstories interwoven into a cozy type mystery. A perfect read for the plane or train.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review: Hunter – Timothy Blake #2 – Jack Heath

Hunter

Hunter

Timothy Blake #2

Jack Heath

Allen & Unwin Australia

ISBN: 9781760527082

 

Description:

Timothy Blake, ex-consultant for the FBI, now works in body-disposal for a local crime lord. One night he stumbles across a body he wasn’t supposed to find and is forced to hide it. When the FBI calls Blake in to investigate a missing university professor, Blake recognises him as the dead man in his freezer.

 

Then another man goes missing. And another.

 

There’s a serial killer in Houston, Texas, and Blake is running out of time to solve the case. His investigation takes him to a sex doll factory, a sprawling landfill in Louisiana and a secret cabin in the woods.

 

As they hunt the killer together, FBI agent Reese Thistle starts to warm to Blake – but she also gets closer and closer to discovering his terrible secret.

 

Can Blake uncover the killer, without being exposed himself?

 

A confounding, intriguing and wildly suspenseful thriller from the bestselling and acclaimed author of Hangman.

 

 

My View:

Book 2 in the Timothy Blake series is much more palatable J 

 

This narrative showcases the author’s ability to engage and entertain with witty dark humour, mysteries that intrigue, with the anti hero  now showing signs of empathy and thoughtfulness…and love… with occasional break outs of gruesome gore.

 

I like how Jack Heath has turned the whole woman rescued by prince charming thing on its head.  Reese Thistle is the emotional rescuer here.  Reese Thistle is the smart, proactive, impulsive and fast acting hero in this piece.

 

I think Heath’s feminist side is exposed in this episode and I like it. Gangsters can be women, women can be cruel, capable of abhorrent dead’s but also ultimately, resourceful, determining their own destiny (no matter how warped that may or may not be eg Hope, Sindy).  There was only disappointment for me in this aspect of the narrative (no spoilers) was a character who is the victim of abuse who conspiratorially defends the abuser, this, however, is not so much a fault of the writer it is more a reflection of a behaviour often encountered in this type of abusive situation.

 

Looking forward to book 3 in the series.

 

 

Review: Hangman – Jack Heath

Hangman

Hangman

Timothy Blake #1

Jack Heath

Allen & Unwin Australia

ISBN: 9781760297473

 

Description:

A 14-year-old boy vanishes on his way home from school. His frantic mother receives a disturbing ransom call. It’s only hours before the deadline, and the police have no leads.

 

Enter Timothy Blake, codename Hangman. Blake is a genius, known for solving impossible cases. He’s also a sociopath – the FBI’s last resort.

 

But this time Blake might have met his match. The kidnapper is more cunning and ruthless than anyone he’s faced before. And Blake has been assigned a new partner, a woman linked to the past he’s so desperate to forget.

 

Timothy Blake has a secret, one so dark he will do anything to keep it hidden.

 

And he also has a price. Every time he saves a life, he takes one…

 

Already sold into five territories, Hangman is a mesmerising dissection of the criminal mind and a bulletproof thriller.

 

 

My View:

Gruesome. Gory. More gore.

 

Jack Heath pushes the boundaries when it comes to the dietary habits of his antihero Timothy Blake. Blake is a challenged and dysfunctional character like no other I have read. This novel is equally compelling and repelling and if it wasn’t so convincingly written I would’ve stopped at the first bite.

 

There is no doubt Jack Heath is an accomplished writer who, in this instance, has pushed the boundaries of “acceptable” in this pitch black narrative that is served with a side of equally black humour, romance and mystery.  I don’t think I have ever read anything like this before. The book comes with a warning and it should be heeded.

 

The good news, the second book in the series, Hunter, accomplishes much more without the level of gross that Hangman celebrates.  Stay tuned for my review of Timothy Blake #2: Hunter.

 

PS – This is the perfect read for your book club – if you can stomach the contents 🙂  Guaranteed to get people talking.

 

 

 

#MeatFreeMonday: Vegetable Massaman Curry – Yummy Easy Quick Around the World- Matt Preston

Yummy Easy Quick Around the World Cover

Yummy Easy Quick Around The World by Matt Preston. Published by Plum (through Pan Macmillan)

 

p72 THAILAND

SERVES: 4 PREP: 20 MINS COOKING: 20 MINS
“This curry showcases the melting pot that is Thailand. There are Malay, Indian and Persian traces in its complex use of herbs,
spices and nuts. Descended from a Muslim dish (hence the name, which is a bastardisation of the archaic ‘mussulman’ for those of the Muslim faith), you’ll normally only find it served with chicken, beef and/or vegetables, but it makes a great home for whatever veg is leftover in the crisper drawer of your fridge.”p72

Vego Massaman curry

 

Vegetable Massaman Curry

1½ tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons massaman curry paste
2 large Asian shallots, sliced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon finely grated galangal or ginger
4 cardamom pods, crushed
1 cinnamon stick
pinch of grated nutmeg
3 long red chillies, 1 split in half, 2 sliced, to serve
1 × 400 ml can coconut milk
1 small sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks
¼ cauliflower, cut into chunks
2 small zucchini, cut into chunks
1 capsicum (yellow is best), deseeded and cut into thick chunks
150 g green beans, trimmed and halved
2 tablespoons tamarind pulp, concentrate or puree
1 tablespoon coarsely grated palm sugar or caster sugar
80 ml (1/3 cup) good-quality natural orange
or pineapple juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
55 g (ƒ cup) raw peanuts, toasted
coriander sprigs, to serve
steamed jasmine rice, to serve

Heat the coconut oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over medium heat until melted. Add the curry paste and cook for 1 minute or until aromatic. Add the shallot, garlic and galangal or ginger and stir for 1 minute, then stir in the
cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg and split chilli. Add the coconut milk and 650 ml water and bring to a simmer.

Add the harder vegetables (in this instance, the sweet potato and cauliflower) and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4–6 minutes. Now add the softer vegetables (zucchini, capsicum and beans), along with the tamarind pulp, sugar, juice and soy sauce. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 6–8 minutes or until all the vegetables are cooked through.

Sprinkle the peanuts, coriander and sliced chilli over the curry and serve with steamed…rice.

TIP
You can swap your veggies around, depending on what’s in season. Try potato or pumpkin instead of the sweet potato, or broccoli instead of cauliflower. Stir in shredded kale, Asian greens, baby spinach leaves or snow peas at the end for extra veg. For extra heartiness, add cubes of tofu or drained canned chickpeas towards the
end of cooking until warmed through.