Review: The Patient – Jasper DeWitt

The Patient

Jasper DeWitt

Harper Collins Australia

ISBN: 9781460759462

 

Description:

“A clever cocktail of psychological thriller and supernatural horror.” Kirkus

 

The Silent Patient by way of Stephen King: Parker, a young, overconfident psychiatrist new to his job at a mental asylum, miscalculates catastrophically when he undertakes curing a mysterious and profoundly dangerous patient.

 

In a series of online posts, Parker H., an ambitious young psychiatrist, chronicles the harrowing account of his time working at a dreary mental hospital in New England and his attempt to cure the facility’s most difficult, profoundly dangerous case.

 

Originally admitted to the hospital as a child, the man has no known diagnosis. Every person who has attempted to treat him has been driven to madness or suicide.

 

Parker, brilliant and overconfident, takes it upon himself to discover what ails this mystery patient and finally cure him. But things quickly spiral out of control …

 

Fans of Sarah Pinborough’s Behind Her Eyes and Paul Tremblay’s The Cabin at the End of the World will be riveted by Jasper DeWitt’s astonishing debut.

 

PRAISE FOR THE PATIENT:

 

“A stunning debut! DeWitt’s The Patient is a thrilling, compulsive page-turner that will appeal to fans of F. Paul Wilson, Sarah Pinborough, and Alex Michaelides.” Brian Keene, bestselling author and World Horror Grandmaster Award winner

 

“‘Insidious evil’ is such an overused term, but there is no other way to describe what prowls the hallways of this riveting novella. A compulsive read I devoured in one day. And the ending … it still haunts me.” F. Paul Wilson, New York Times bestselling creator of the Repairman Jack series

 

“The Patient is a fascinating and frightening read that comes at you like the monster under your bed.” Reed Farrel Coleman, New York Times bestselling author.

 

 

My View:

Scene 1:  Pan in…Dark lighting…long, eerie, cold bare “industrial” styled corridor…closed door at end of corridor.

Enter Left: Dr in white coat, holding file/clipboard, hesitantly moving toward the door….Looking around, looking behind him, nervous movements.

Music – heavy foreboding…slowly building to crescendo as door opens….

 

I have taken artistic licence and “adapted” my intro script for The Patient to reflect the evocative, moody, “black and white” horror show that I visualised as I read this book. It’s a quick read, an easy read but there is something of those old school black and white horror films that stays with you long after you have finished reading.

 

If you like a little touch of horror then this book is for you.

 

 

What Did You Do This Weekend?

I had a fabulous time;a trip to Fremantle to take 3 paintings to be included in an exhibition at Studio 11 in Captains Lane. At the exhibition I won a high commendation for one of the pieces, and sold that piece too! Then had dinner out with husband and my daughter who lives in Perth – what a magical day.

#FridayFreebie : Finding Eadie – Caroline Beecham

Finding Eadie

Caroline Beecham

Allen & Unwin Australia

ISBN: 9781760529642

 

Description:

London 1943: War and dwindling resources are taking their toll on the staff of Partridge Press. The pressure is on to create new books to distract readers from the grim realities of the war, but Partridge’s rising star, Alice Cotton, leaves abruptly and cannot be found.

Alice’s secret absence is to birth her child, and although her baby’s father remains unnamed, Alice’s mother promises to help her raise her tiny granddaughter, Eadie. Instead, she takes a shocking action.

Theo Bloom is employed by the American office of Partridge. When he is tasked with helping the British publisher overcome their challenges, Theo has his own trials to face before he can return to New York to marry his fiancee.

Inspired by real events during the Second World War, Finding Eadie is a story about the triumph of three friendships bound by hope, love, secrets and the belief that books have the power to change lives.

PRAISE FOR ELEANOR’S SECRET
‘Fans of Natasha Lester and Kate Morton will very much enjoy this new release and the dual time zones mean the book will appeal to a broader audience.’ Debbishdotcom

PRAISE FOR MAGGIE’S KITCHEN
‘Extremely engaging . . . reads like the work of a veteran storyteller.’

 

 

Thanks to the generous people at Allen & Unwin Australia I have 3 copies of Finding Eadie to giveaway to residents of Australia. It’s easy to enter – simply answer this question in the comments before 10/7/020: name the publishing company Alice worded for.  Winners will be randomly selected from all entries.  Good luck and thanks for entering.

Review: Death In Her Hands – Ottessa Moshfegh

Death In Her Hands

Ottessa Moshfegh

Jonathan Cape:

Penguin Random House Australia

ISBN: 9781787332201

 

Description:

From author of Eileen and My Year of Rest and Relaxation, a novel of haunting metaphysical suspense.

 

While on her daily walk with her dog in the nearby woods, our protagonist comes across a note,

handwritten and carefully pinned to the ground with stones. Her name was Magda. Nobody will ever

know who killed her. It wasn’t me. Here is her dead body.

Shaky even on her best days, she is also alone, and new to this area, having moved here from her

long-time home after the death of her husband, and now deeply alarmed. Her brooding about the

note grows quickly into a full-blown obsession, as she explores multiple theories about who Magda

was and how she met her fate. Her suppositions begin to find echoes in the real world, and the fog of

mystery starts to form into a concrete and menacing shape. But is there either a more innocent

explanation for all this, or a much more sinister one – one that strikes closer to home?

In this triumphant blend of horror, suspense, and pitch-black comedy, we must decide whether the

stories we tell ourselves guide us closer to the truth or keep us further from it.

 

Praise for Ottessa Moshfegh:

‘Her stories are depraved, profound, and bleakly, wickedly funny. To read her is to be unsettled.’

Daily Telegraph

‘Viciously funny… Moshfegh’s writing is as lethally efficient as a flick-knife.’

The Times

‘A writer of rare talent and assurance.’

Financial Times

‘Super abundantly talented…Moshfegh’s sentences are piercing and vixenish …

she is always a deep pleasure to read.’

New York Times

Ottessa Moshfegh is the author of McGlue (2014); Eileen, which was awarded the 2016

PEN/Hemingway Award and shortlisted for the Booker Prize; Homesick for Another World (2017);

and My Year of Rest and Relaxation (2018), which was shortlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize.

 

 

My View:

Curious, disturbing and uncomfortable. Perhaps all I can do is share my feelings about this book rather than try to give any sort of cohesive review – as I found this book…strange.

 

To begin, I really enjoyed the first part of the book – I enjoyed meeting the protagonist Hesta, hearing Hesta’s perspective of her life and what is happening around her in a stream of consciousness style of ramblings. But after while I felt like I could skip whole pages and not miss anything… it is a short read, I did continue on, waiting for the “gothic” tones or comedy to make themselves known. If they were there, I missed them (maybe in those pages I skipped) 😊

 

I read on, the drama and the tension build as Vesta spiralled between revealing moments of clarity as she reflected on her marriage and life, to ever increasing moments of paranoia. I finished the book.

 

The ending was unsettling ( no spoilers here) but a strange thing occurred to me as I sat an contemplated what this book meant and how I would attempt to review it (badly), this really was a pretty powerful reflection of life; on expectations of living a good life and what compromises that means, on sanity/insanity,  on aging and loneliness, regrets, anger and of the slow decent into paranoia and or dementia.

 

So… it was powerful, made me feel uncomfortable and did make me think. Did I enjoy reading this? First instinct is to answer no, but upon deeper reflection, perhaps I enjoyed a little of it, its is obvious this author can write well but it did lose my attention part way through; I rarely flick through or by pass entire pages… but in this novel I did. Would I recommend this read…probably not in these times of pandemic where something lighter is more palatable. But if you are looking for a challenge, for depth, for deep, meaningful conversations with the author, perhaps you could give this book a try.

 

 

 

 

 

Review: Fair Warning – Michael Connelly

Fair Warning

Michael Connelly

Allen & Unwin Australia

ISBN: 9781760877989

 

Description:

The hero of The Poet and The Scarecrow is back in the new thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling author Michael Connelly. Jack McEvoy, the journalist who never backs down, tracks a serial killer who has been operating completely under the radar–until now.

 

Veteran reporter Jack McEvoy has taken down killers before, but when a woman he had a one-night stand with is murdered in a particularly brutal way, McEvoy realizes he might be facing a criminal mind unlike any he’s ever encountered.

 

McEvoy investigates—against the warnings of the police and his own editor—and makes a shocking discovery that connects the crime to other mysterious deaths across the country. But his inquiry hits a snag when he himself becomes a suspect.

 

As he races to clear his name, McEvoy’s findings point to a serial killer working under the radar of law enforcement for years, and using personal data shared by the victims themselves to select and hunt his targets.

 

Called “the Raymond Chandler of this generation” (Associated Press), Michael Connelly once again delivers an unputdownable thriller that reveals a predator operating from the darkest corners of human nature—and one man courageous and determined enough to stand in his way.

 

 

My View:

Michael Connelly remains my all-time favourite male crime fiction writer! I don’t know how he does it, the writing is always fresh and intelligent, the themes, contemporary and plausible and so addictive.

 

The introduction is dramatic and gripping, the characters then propel the story forward. Some contemporary science and policing methods are brought into the discussion and for about 5 minutes I was convinced I knew where this story was heading and who was the culprit. I was wrong, so wrong!

 

Engaging, relevant, dynamic, character lead, crime fiction – Michael Connelly has this genre sewn up.

 

 

 

Review: The Swap – Robyn Harding

The Swap

Robyn Harding

Simon & Schuster Australia

ISBN: 9781760854232

 

Description:

Low Morrison is not your average teen. You could blame her hippie parents or her dreary, isolated island hometown. Whatever the reason, Low just doesn’t fit in – and neither does newcomer Freya, an ethereal beauty and once-famous social media influencer.

 

After signing up for Freya’s pottery class, Low quickly falls under her spell. Buoyed by Low’s adoration, Freya is compelled to share her darkest secrets and deepest desires. Finally, Low feels a sense of belonging … until Jamie walks through the studio door. Freya, Jamie and their husbands become fast friends, leaving Low alone once again.

 

Then one night, after a boozy dinner party, Freya suggests swapping partners. It should have been a harmless fling between consenting adults, but instead, it upends their lives.

 

And provides Low with the perfect opportunity to unleash her growing resentment.

 

My View:

Where to start? This is a read that is nuanced with so many interesting moral dilemmas, current issues (the impact of fertility/low fertility will break your heart and the big one; bullying, domestic abuse that is surprising yet somehow not…fits this character perfectly) and a cold-blooded murder that is chilling in its ease of enactment.

I guarantee this book will intrigue and give you many thoughts to consider.

 

 

 

#FridayFreebie : Better Luck Next Time – Kate Hilton

Better Luck Next Time

Kate Hilton

Allen & Unwin

ISBN: 9781760878085

RRP $29.99

Description:

A generational family comedy for fans of EligibleThis Is Where I Leave YouHeartburn and television’s This Is Us

It isn’t easy being related to a feminist icon, especially when she’s celebrating the greatest moment of her storied career.

Just ask the daughters of Lydia Hennessey, who could have it all if only they’d stop self-destructing. Mariana, the eldest, is on the verge of throwing away a distinguished reputation in journalism, along with her marriage. Nina, the middle daughter, has returned from a medical mission overseas as a changed woman but won’t discuss it with anyone. And Beata, the youngest, has a hostile teenaged son who just discovered the existence of a father who didn’t know about him either. Meanwhile, their cousin Zoe is making divorce look like a death match, while her brother, Zack, is grappling with the fallout from his popular television dramedy, which is based far too closely on Lydia herself.

It might be easier to find their paths if they could step out of Lydia’s shadow—but the biggest women’s march in history is underway, and Lydia and her family are at the centre of it.

Over the course of an eventful year, the Hennessey children contend with the big struggles of midlife: aging parents, raging teens, crumbling marriages and bodies, new loves and the choice between playing it safe or taking life-altering risks. And as they inch toward a new definition of happiness, they might even persuade their parents—and themselves—that they’re all grown up.

 

**Giveaway ** I have 2 copies of this engaging, sometimes hilarious, honest and entertaining read to give away.  Its easy – in the comments tell me the name of the eldest daughter. I will randomly select and then email 2 winners – entries close 26th June 2020   **This giveaway is for Australian residents only**

 

 

 

Review: Little Disasters – Sarah Vaughan

Little Disasters

Sarah Vaughan

Simon & Schuster Australia

RRP $29.99

ISBN: 9781471194900

 

Description:

A new thought-provoking novel exploring the complexity of motherhood and all that connects and disconnects us.

 

You think you know her…but look a little closer.

 

She is a stay-at-home mother-of-three with boundless reserves of patience, energy, and love. After being friends for a decade, this is how Liz sees Jess.

 

Then one moment changes everything.

 

Dark thoughts and carefully guarded secrets surface—and Liz is left questioning everything she thought she knew about her friend, and about herself. The truth can’t come soon enough.

 

 

My View:

This is a very a very relatable read – it will make your skin prickle with recognition; uncomfortable, yes – maybe you have been (in various degrees) on one or the other “side” of the issues raised in this provocative read.  There is something here for all to think about, take away and learn from.

 

This is a great read; complex, engaging and thought provoking, intelligent.

 

My New Favourite Slice

Yesterday I made my version of The Global Vegan’s Peanut Butter Crackle Slice ( I have an allergy to peanuts so used almond butter/paste). This is my new go to, must have dessert/snack/slice.  Sweet but with only a 5 dates for sweetness, a little salt to balance, cranberries and coconut for contrast in texture and a little more sweetness,  crunch – the puffed rice and the coconut oil or cocoa butter to hold all together and I used 70% cacao dark chocolate to melt and put on top. This is a raw slice so aside from the melting of chocolate and oils no cooking required – just pop in the freezer for an hour or two.  This is divine! Dairy free, gluten free, processed sugar free, it has a good wack of protein and good oils.  Perfect!

#MeatfreeMonday Baked Mac No Cheese: The Global Vegan – Ellie Bullen

The Global Vegan by Ellie Bullen,

Published by Plum

RRP $34.99

Photography by Ellie Bullen

 

 

p150  Mains

“The mac-no-cheese recipe in my first cookbook turned out to be the most popular dish. It was
amazing to hear from so many people who cooked and loved the recipe, whether they made it for
their family, friends or just themselves. It’s a truly delicious meal, so I wanted to share a fun, new
version in this book, inspired by my travels in the United States where mac ‘n’ cheese is on menus
everywhere. I noticed that bacon was often added to the dish, so I’ve added coconut bacon to this
recipe to give it a special twist.” p150

 

Serves 4
250 g macaroni
350 g peeled and deseeded pumpkin, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
3 tablespoons soy or almond milk
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons olive oil
3 tablespoons cashews
100 g cauliflower florets
100 g broccoli florets
2 tablespoons Coconut Bakon (see page 289)
2 tablespoons Parmesan Crumble (see page 265)

Preheat the oven to 160°C fan-forced.

Bring a saucepan of salted water to the boil and cook the pasta according to the packet instructions. Drain and rinse under cold running water, then set aside.

Meanwhile, bring another saucepan of water to the boil, add the pumpkin and cook for 8–10 minutes or until tender. Drain and transfer the pumpkin to a blender, along with the nutritional yeast flakes, soy or almond milk,
pepper, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, oil and cashews. Blend on high until smooth.

Refill the saucepan with water and bring to the boil again. Add the cauliflower and cook for
3 minutes, then add the broccoli and cook for a further 2 minutes. Drain and place in a baking dish.
Add the pasta to the baking dish and pour over the pumpkin sauce. Mix well so that the pasta is fully coated.

Sprinkle over the coconut bakon and parmesan crumble and bake for 20 minutes or until golden.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.

 

**PARMESAN CRUMBLE**

This simple savoury crumble is wonderful sprinkled over pasta dishes and bakes.

Makes about 1 cup

50 g (1/3 cup) cashews

1/3 cup nutritional yeast flakes

1 tablespoon hemp seeds

1/2 teaspoon sea salt flakes

Place the ingredients in the small bowl of a food processor and pulse 4–5 times or until the cashews have broken down to a rough crumble. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 month.