Review: A Nearly Normal Family – M.T. Edvardsson

The Father: believes his daughter has been framed.

The Mother: believes she is hiding something.

The Daughter: believes they have no idea what she’s truly capable of…

A Nearly Normal Family

En helt vanlig familj

M T Edvardsson

Pan Macmillan

ISBN: 9781529008128

 

**PAN MACMILLAN’S LEAD THRILLER FOR 2019**

BOUGHT AT AUCTION AT LONDON BOOK FAIR

INTERNATIONAL RIGHTS SOLD IN 31 COUNTRIES

 

Description:

Every murder case starts with a suspect.

What if the suspect is your daughter?

Would you believe her, or the evidence against her?

There are three sides to the story.

And the truth will shatter this family to pieces.

 

“Edvardsson has written a deceptive and riveting novel. A Nearly Normal Family will make you question everything you know about those closest to you.” Karin Slaughter

 

“A canny, intensely suspenseful legal thriller.” Scott Turow

 

“One of those very special books that combine an utterly compelling premise with wonderful writing… a layered, intelligent novel that will force any parent to consider exactly how far they would go to protect their child.” Fiona Cummins

M.T. Edvardsson is a writer and teacher from Trelleborg, Sweden. He is the author of three previous novels and two books for young readers. Edvardsson lives with his family in Löddeköpinge, Sweden.

 

My View:

I am a fan of Scandi Crime Fiction, this read however adds a new dimension to the genre: it is not a police procedural, and is not set in bleak moody landscapes. This setting could be any town/city, this family any one’s family, the crime/crimes not particular to any landscape. However it is at heart, morally complex, intelligently written in plain, direct writing, lacking in hysteria or melodrama and has well developed characters – all characteristic of classic Scandi noir.

 

This book asks whose truth is the truth and far would you go to protect your child? Narrated in the voices of the three main characters, mother/wife/lawyer, father/pastor/husband, daughter/teenage rebel/victim… the psychology of, the understanding of why/how the individual responded to the physical evidence of the crime and the accusation is interesting.  At no point are we privy to the actual crime, we hear of evidence, of scenarios, of phone calls, of a witness hearing shouting, of blood pools…but not until the twisted end do we learn of the truth.

 

This is a slow burning mystery. Who did it? Be prepared to be surprised. Despite not particularly liking any of the characters I was invested in discovering the truth. I can see this book easily translating to the big screen.

 

 

Review: The Liar – Steve Cavanaugh

The Liar

Eddie Flynn #3

Steve Cavanagh

Orion Books

Hachette Australia

ISBN: 9781409152378

 

Description:

A must-read for fans of Lee Child, John Grisham and Michael Connelly. Combining gripping action and ingenious plotting, THE LIAR is the brilliant new legal thriller from the author of THE DEFENCE and THE PLEA.

 

A MISSING CHILD

When wealthy businessman Leonard Howell’s daughter is kidnapped, the police jump on it straight away. But Howell knows this won’t be straightforward – he needs someone willing to break the rules.

 

A CRIMINAL LAWYER

Once a con artist, now a hotshot lawyer, Eddie Flynn’s learnt that fast talk and sleight of hand are just as important in the courtroom are they are on the street. Knowing what it’s like to lose a daughter, he’ll stop at nothing to save Howell’s.

 

A CORRUPT CASE

With a client on trial for his life, and the body count rising, Eddie Flynn is starting to fear that the whole thing was a set-up from the very beginning.

The only question is who is deadlier – the man who knows the truth, or the one who believes a lie?

 

A missing girl, a desperate father and a case that threatens to destroy everyone involved – Eddie Flynn’s got his work cut out in the thrilling new novel from the author of The Defence.

 

 

My View:

Action packed, exciting, edge of your seat drama – I loved every minute of this read.

 

This is the second book I have read by Steve Cavanagh, I missed the second book in this series somehow but it did not stop me from immensely enjoying this, which is book 3 in the Eddie Flynn series.  This legal procedural/ mystery/thriller is fast paced, twisty – so twisty, complex yet not complicated, sad yet tinged with optimism (eventually), powerful, captivating and mesmerising. I think I have made my point – I loved this read!

 

Add this to your To Be Read pile – you will not regret it.

 

 

 

Review: The Gift of Life – Josephine Moon

The Gift of Life

Josephine Moon

Penguin

Michael Joseph

ISBN: 9780143791997

 

Description:

You’ve been given the gift of life, now go live it.

 

Gabby McPhee is the owner of The Tin Man, a chic new cafe and coffee roasting house in Melbourne. The struggles of her recent heart transplant are behind her and life is looking up – until a mysterious customer appears in the cafe, convinced that Gabby has her deceased husband’s heart beating inside her chest.

 

Krystal Arthur is a bereaved widow, struggling to hold herself and her two young boys together since Evan’s death, and plagued by unanswered questions. Why was her husband in another city the night he died? And why won’t his spirit rest?

 

Krystal is convinced that Gabby holds the clues she needs to move towards a brighter future. Gabby needs Krystal to help her let go of her troubled past. The two women must come together to try to unlock the secrets in Evan’s heart in order to set free their own.

 

By the internationally bestselling author of The Chocolate Promise, this is a profound and moving novel about the deeper mysteries of love and loss – and the priceless gift of life.

 

My View:

A fabulous read – engaging, informative, and poignant.

 

This is a very moving narrative; organ donation is subject that has recently received deserved attention in the media and despite that increased attention there seems to be so much more that is needed to be done.  https://donatelife.gov.au/about-donation/get-facts/facts-and-statistics   What I really enjoyed about this story was hearing the unique voice of the character who is a recipient – each day a gift but with that gift are so many caveats.

 

Then there is the mystery.

 

This is a very engaging read; life is exposed in all its fragile beauty – difficult, tiring, exasperating, frustrating, challenging, worthwhile, exhilarating, loving and precious.  Themes of family, friendship, love, loss, grief and second chances dominate this read. Josephine Moon has written characters that you will genuinely care about wrapped in a narrative that is complex and discusses many contemporary issues.

 

 

 

 

Review: Big Sky – Kate Atkinson

Big Sky: A Jackson Brodie Novel

Kate Atkinson

Doubleday

Penguin Random House Australia

ISBN: 9780857526113

 

Description:

Jackson Brodie makes a highly anticipated return!

Jackson Brodie has relocated to a quiet seaside village, in the occasional company of his recalcitrant teenage son and an ageing Labrador, both at the discretion of his ex-partner Julia. It’s picturesque, but there’s something darker lurking behind the scenes.

Jackson’s current job, gathering proof of an unfaithful husband for his suspicious wife, is fairly standard-issue, but a chance encounter with a desperate man on a crumbling cliff leads him into a sinister network—and back across the path of someone from his past. Old secrets and new lies intersect in this breathtaking novel by one of the most dazzling and surprising writers at work today.

 

My View:

Superbly plotted, complex in themes and design, mysterious and heart breaking, it was amazing to discover the intersection of characters’ lives, landscapes and crimes (committed against and by whom.)  Past and present worlds collide in a mystery where valour and doing the right thing are triumphant. Justice is well served, the law is not.

 

I love a character lead narrative in the crime fiction/literary crime read. The details wash the canvas in grey not emphatic black and white. Life is complex, messy, sometimes our perspective of the outside does not match the inside view, and sometimes there is hope and compassion where you least expect to find it. This contemporary read is perfect!

 

Enough said – go out and order/purchase this one now. You will not regret it.

 

 

Review: The Accusation – Wendy James

The Accusation

Wendy James

Harper Collins Australia

ISBN: 9781460752388

 

Description:

A bizarre abduction. A body of damning evidence. A world of betrayal.

 

Eighteen-year-old Ellie Canning is found shivering and barely conscious on a country road, clad only in ill-fitting pyjamas. Her story of kidnap and escape quickly enthrals the nation: a middle-aged woman with a crazy old mother has held Ellie in a basement, chained her to a bed and given her drinks from an old baby’s sippy cup. But who was this woman and what did she want with Ellie? And what other secrets might she hide?

When the accusation is levelled at local teacher Suzannah Wells, no one seems more bewildered than Suzannah herself … to start with. The preposterous charge becomes manifestly more real as she loses her job and her friends. And the evidence is strong: a dementia-affected mother, a house with a basement, a sippy cup that belonged to her long-dead daughter. And Ellie Canning’s DNA everywhere. As stories about Susannah’s past emerge, even those closest to her begin to doubt she’s innocent.

And Ellie? The media can’t get enough of her. She’s a girl-power icon, a social-media star. But is she telling the truth?

 

A powerful exploration of the fragility of trust, and the power of suggestion, from the author of The Golden Child and The Mistake.

 

Praise for the Golden Child:

‘The novel is cleverly constructed, the characters are extremely well-drawn, the use of social media as a plot device is very sophisticated, and the resolution is a genuine surprise’ Judges’ report, Ned Kelly Crime Awards, 2017.

 

 

My View:

Credible!  Readable!  Powerful!

What a fantastic read!!!

 

This is a fabulous read that kept me up till the early hours trying to work out the knots and twists in this plot. Like a skillful magician, Wendy James directs our attention to view the scenarios in a particular way, provides glimpses, hints, clues then redirects our attention to other possibilities.

I do love an unreliable narrator.  A fast paced read with some surprising reveals, I predict an award or two for this novel.

 

 

 

 

 

Review: The Cottage at Rosella Cove – Sandie Docker

The Cottage at Rosella Cove

Sandie Docker

Penguin

Michael Joseph

ISBN: 9780143789215

 

Description:

Why had the house stayed empty so long? Why had it never been sold?

 

LOST

Nicole has left her city life for the sleepy town of Rosella Cove, renting the old cottage by the water. She plans to keep to herself – but when she uncovers a hidden box of wartime love letters, she realises she’s not the

first person living in this cottage to hide secrets and pain.

 

FOUND

Ivy’s quiet life in Rosella Cove is tainted by the events of World War II, with ramifications felt for many years to come. But one night a drifter appears and changes everything. Perhaps his is the soul she’s meant to save.

 

FORGOTTEN

Charlie is too afraid of his past to form any lasting ties in the cove. He knows he must make amends for his tragic deeds long ago, but he can’t do it alone. Maybe the new tenant in the cottage will help him fulfil a promise and find the redemption he isn’t sure he deserves.

 

Welcome to the cottage at Rosella Cove, where three damaged souls meet and have the chance to rewrite their futures.

 

 

My View:

Isn’t it great when you discover a new author to add to your “authors you must read” list?

 

Sandie Docker writes with a subtleness that is poignant and encompasses many contemporary social issues without shouting her message loudly in your face.  There are many threads to this narrative – domestic violence – DV does not always include physical violence; it can be a deliberate isolation from friends and family, a slow erosion of self and self-confidence, financial dependence/control…the psychological assault is oh so manipulative and dire…Docker weaves this thread into the narrative with a deceptive charm – blink and you will miss the signs – just as the victim does. But this is more than a narrative of DV, it is a charming story of friendships, new and old, about redemption, rebuilding  –  I liked the analogy for rebuilding life/rebuilding cottage – by allowing friendship in and opening  up your heart to possibilities and hope.

 

I loved the device – the reading of old letters – to fill in gaps, to tell a personal history and a world history, to add depth to characters, and to provide optimism and resolution.

 

This is a deceptively simple narrative that encompasses so much life. A great read.