Review: The Ruin – Dervla McTiernan

the ruin

The Ruin

Dervla McTiernan

Harper Collins Publishers

ISBN: 9781460754214

 

Description:

 It’s been twenty years since Cormac Reilly discovered the body of Hilaria Blake in her crumbling Georgian home. But he’s never forgotten the two children she left behind…

 

When Aisling Conroy’s boyfriend Jack is found in the freezing black waters of the river Corrib, the police tell her it was suicide. A surgical resident, she throws herself into study and work, trying to forget – until Jack’s sister Maude shows up. Maude suspects foul play, and she is determined to prove it.

 

DI Cormac Reilly is the detective assigned with the re-investigation of an ‘accidental’ overdose twenty years ago – of Jack and Maude’s drug- and alcohol-addled mother. Cormac is under increasing pressure to charge Maude for murder when his colleague Danny uncovers a piece of evidence that will change everything…

 

This unsettling crime debut draws us deep into the dark heart of Ireland and asks who will protect you when the authorities can’t – or won’t. Perfect for fans of Tana French and Jane Casey.

 

 

My View:

Fantastic reading – and I don’t say this lightly!

I have discovered a new favourite protagonist in Cormac Reilly and lucky for me (and you) the second book in the series, The Scholar, is due out in a couple of weeks so you will be able to immerse yourself in the in Irish landscapes, the exciting mysteries, the politics and corruption (in the police force that makes for an interesting back story) and the brilliance that is Cormac Reilly.

 

Cormac Reilly is a realistic, hardworking, sensitive, conscientious, modern and honest cop. He is not flawed (that I have noticed, hurray!!) He doesn’t drink excessively, or have any addictions or other black marks on his character – so refreshingly different!  You will love this character and want to read more.

 

This is another read I predict will make a wonderful tv series.

 

 

 

 

Review: The Promised Land – Barry Maitland

the promised land

The Promised Land

Barry Maitland

Allen and Unwin

ISBN: 9781760632670

RRP $29.99

 

Description:

Brock and Kolla return in an enthralling new mystery from a master of the genre.

 

Newly promoted Detective Chief Inspector Kathy Kolla investigates a series of brutal murders on Hampstead Heath. Under intense pressure to find answers, she arrests the unlikely figure of John Pettigrew, a failing London publisher who lives alone on the edge of the Heath.

 

Pettigrew’s lawyer calls on recently retired David Brock for advice, and soon, unable to resist the pull of investigation, the old colleagues, Brock and Kolla, are at loggerheads.

 

At the heart of the gripping mystery of the Hampstead murders lies a manuscript of an unknown novel by one of the greatest literary figures of the twentieth century. Brock believes that its story will unlock the puzzle, but how?

 

 

My View:

This is my very first Brock and Kolla read but not my first Barry Maitland, what a versatile, talented writer!

 

A little bit about Barry Maitland for those who have not yet had the pleasure of reading any of his novels.

 

About the Author   http://www.barrymaitland.com/on-life-and-writing/biography/

 

My family came from Paisley, an industrial city near Glasgow in Scotland, where I was born. When I was young we moved to London, where I went to a school with an English teacher who inspired me about literature. But I wanted to be an architect, which I studied at Cambridge University. After a period in practice I studied urban design at the University of Sheffield, where I also taught.

 

In 1984 I was offered the position of head of the architecture school at the University of Newcastle in Australia, and moved there with my family. Six years later Newcastle was struck by an earthquake, and Margaret, my wife, was almost killed when the house fell in. It was a dramatic and chaotic time, and as a reaction to what was going on around us I began to think about the plot of a murder mystery, The Marx Sisters. This was published in 1994, and became the first of a series of twelve Brock and Kolla novels published over the next 20 years, together with one stand-alone mystery thriller Bright Air, set in Australia.

 

In 2000 I retired from the University of Newcastle in order to write full time, and my latest project is a full-blooded Australian set of novels, the Belltree Trilogy. I live and write in a small town in the Hunter Valley, an attractive wine-growing and agricultural area in New South Wales on the Pacific Coast of Australia, which coexists with one of the largest coal ports in the world, in the harbour of Newcastle, which is where the second Belltree novel is set.”

 

 

As I started reading this, the 13th booking he Brock and Kolla series (and yes it can be read as an excellent standalone) I wondered how this author could have such realistic landscapes both in this series set in London and the Belltree series set in Australia. (I have read the first in the Belltree series, and it too is a wonderful, exciting read.) Now I have read Barry’s brief author bio the landscapes now make sense.

 

Regardless of which landscape Barry Maitland’s novels are set in you find realistic settings, characters that are humble, intelligent and fearless and plots that are complex and well executed.

 

I really love discovering a new to me series that has a back catalogue of many.  I love immersing myself in such an existing series, reading 1 – 12 of the Brock and Kolla will be such a fabulous way to really get to know the writer and his characters and settings

 

The Promised Land is a captivating read!  I am hooked. I want more!

 

Review: At The Wolf’s Table – Rosella Postorino

at the wolf's table

At The Wolf’s Table

Rosellas Postorino

Simon & Schuster Australia

ISBN: 9781925791969

RRP $29.99

 

Description:

The internationally bestselling novel based on the untold true story of the women conscripted to be Hitler’s food tasters.

 

“They called it the Wolfsschanze, the Wolf’s Lair. ‘Wolf’ was his nickname. As hapless as Little Red Riding Hood, I had ended up in his belly. A legion of hunters was out looking for him, and to get him in their grips they would gladly slay me as well.”

 

Germany, 1943: Twenty-six-year-old Rosa Sauer’s parents are gone, and her husband Gregor is far away, fighting on the front lines of WWII. Impoverished and alone, she makes the fateful decision to leave war-torn Berlin to live with her in-laws in the countryside, thinking she’ll find refuge there. But one morning, the SS come to tell her she has been conscripted to be one of Hitler’s tasters: three times a day, she and nine other women go to his secret headquarters, the Wolf’s Lair, to eat his meals before he does. Forced to eat what might kill them, the tasters begin to divide into The Fanatics, those loyal to Hitler, and the women like Rosa who insist they aren’t Nazis, even as they risk their lives every day for Hitler’s.

 

As secrets and resentments grow, this unlikely sisterhood reaches its own dramatic climax. What’s more, one of Rosa’s SS guards has become dangerously familiar, and the war is worsening outside. As the months pass, it becomes increasingly clear that Rosa and everyone she knows are on the wrong side of history.

 

 

My View:

Brilliant!

A narrative that authentically involves you in the war time Germany where the impossible to accept, the dangerous, the unthinkable… is normalised. This is a study of group behaviour; of how social isolation, separation from family support, societal and military control, of how war affects those actively involved in the warfare and those who remain at home. It is also a story of love – in many forms, of violence, of living in perpetual/potential danger and a story of survival.

 

This is, at times, an intense and emotional read.  I was disappointed when I read the last page – I was hungry for more.

 

Brilliantly written, sensitively translated, this is a great read.

 

Best Contemporary/Literary Reads of 2018

This is another category that has many contenders. There were so many fabulous reads that have made me think, feel, inspired me to paint and at some that have brought a tear to my eye. If you have an opportunity to pick up any of these books I think you will be very impressed.

 

In no particular order:

Lenny’s Book of Everything – Karen Foxlee

Lenny's Book of Everything

The Children’s House – Alice Nelson

The Children's House

Bridge of Clay – Markus Zusak

Bridge of Clay

Beneath the Mother Tree – D M Cameron

Beneath The Mother Tree by D M Cameron

Return to Roseglen – Helene Young

Return to Roseglen by Helen Young cover art

I Have Lost My Way – Gayle Foreman 

I Have Lost My Way

Ghosted – Rosie Walsh

The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart – Holly Ringland

If Kisses Cured Cancer – T S Hawken

If Kisses Cured Cancer

Book of Colours – Robyn Cadwallader

The Book of Colours

 

Best Mystery or Thriller of 2018

This is another category that has so many worthy contenders, if your book did not make it on this list it is because I had to draw the line somewhere or perhaps you featured on another of my lists- sometimes categories overlap.

In no particular order:

Kingdom of the Blind – Louise Penny

Kingdom of the Blind

Liar’s Candle – August Thomas


Liar's Candle by August Thomas cover art

Let Me Lie – Clare Mackintosh

Let me Lie

The Portrait of Molly Dean – Katherine Kovacic

The Portrait of Molly Dea

Take Me In  – Sabine Durrant

Take Me In

Anatomy of a Scandal – Sarah Vaughan

Anatomy of a Scandal

All In – Lily Gardner

All In

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Opps…I Missed Posting This One

How did I forget to post this review? My apologies Clare; Clare Macintosh is another author that I take every opportunity to read, her writing is engaging, the plots twisty and unexpected. “Let me Lie” is my latest read.

If you haven’t read any of Clare’s books before I highly recommend them all.

Let me Lie

I Let You Go

i-see-you

 

Best Cook Books of 2018

Again this is a very easy category for me to judge as their are a couple of books I continue to use and refer back to.

One is strictly for baking; breads, cakes, tarts, gluten free, dairy free…this book has it all and the recipes are easy to follow.  If you love baking give “Love Laugh Bake” by Silvia Colloca a try, you wont regret it.

Love Laugh Bake

 

And then we have something completely different – a book that has given me so much pleasure; it is a visual delight, I love the scenic tour of Italy it provides and the recipes are outstanding – I have tried so many of these, I love the seasonal fruits and vegetables they use. Adriatico is by Paola Bacchia is a musts for your kitchen library.

 

Adriatico_cover