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: 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: Hush Hush – James Patterson and Candice Fox

Hush Hush

Detective Harriet Blue #4

James Patterson and Candice Fox

 ISBN: 9780143793021

 

Description:

The blistering new novel in James Patterson’s #1 bestselling series set in Australia.

Harriet Blue used to be a detective. Now she’s inmate 3329.

Prison is a dangerous place for a former cop – as Harriet is learning on a daily basis.

So, following a fight for her life and a prison-wide lockdown, the last person she wants to see is Deputy Police Commissioner Joe Woods. The man who put her inside.

But Woods is not there to gloat. His daughter Tonya and her two-year-old child have gone missing.

He’s ready to offer Harriet a deal: find his family to buy her freedom …

 

My View:

Perhaps because we now are now very familiar with the characters and situations /ongoing narrative in this series, perhaps because of the somewhat optimistic resolution of this book, perhaps because we get a glimpse of the gentler more compassionate side of most of the protagonists here, their secrets/past revealed, I declare this the best read in the series.

 

Hang your suspension of belief on the hat stand as you enter and don’t forget to pick it up as you leave, this read is fast paced, full of personal revelations and gives us a little hope that Harriet Blue’s life might be changing for the better. Optimism is the theme in this read and we readers cling to this tangible thread fiercely.  Don’t get me wrong – this read still has the hallmark themes of corruption, violence, revenge and fear characteristic of the series but the subtle personal revelations raise this book above the others in the series.

 

Is this the last in the series? It did feel like that to me but who knows?

 

 

 

Review: Their Little Secret – Mark Billingham

Their Little Secret

Tom Thorne #16

Mark Billingham

Little Brown

Hachette Australia

ISBN: 9780751566987

 

Description:

When DI Tom Thorne is called to conduct a routine assessment at the site of a suicide, he expects to be in and out in no time. But when he arrives at the metro station, where a woman named Philippa Goodwin threw herself in front of an underground train, Thorne inexplicably senses something awry and feels compelled to dig deeper. He soon discovers that she was the victim of a callous con-man whose deception plunged Philippa to her end. Enraged that one man’s trickery caused an innocent death, Thorne enlists DI Nicola Tanner to help him track down the swindler and bring him to justice. But the detective duo gets more than they bargained for when a young man’s lifeless, bludgeoned body turns up on the shore of a nearby seaside town: it appears that very con artist they’re searching for is connected to the murder. Brilliantly plotted with a shocking psychological bent, Their Little Secret is another masterful thriller from one of Britain’s most beloved crime writers. With twists and turns that will keep readers guessing until the final page, this is Mark Billingham’s most chilling novel yet.

 

My View:

Brilliant!

 

If you love a good police procedural with empathetic protagonists, twists and more twists and crime that will shock with its audacity, then this book is for you!  So many secrets, so many lies…

 

I think what I loved most about this book (and there is a lot to love) is the reveal that I did not see coming, the secrets that are being kept on both sides of the law, the reference to Elvis Costello’s lyrics for “I Want You”:

I want you,

The truth can’t hurt you, it’s just like the dark,

It scares you witless,

But in time you see thing clear and stark.

I want you,

Go on and hurt me, then we’ll let it drop,

I want you,

I’m afraid I won’t know where to stop….

Perfect pairing for this read!

 

And then there is Jamie… (You will have to read to learn about Jamie) this character adds a real psychological punch to the narrative and almost has you feeling sorry for his mother, almost.

 

And the perpetrators – just like the crimes, not what you expect, surprise and after surprise.

 

And if you scan the code on the inside cover flap you can hear Mark Billingham reading chapter one of “Their Little secret” audio book.

 

So much to love!

 

 

Review: Blood Oath – Linda Fairstein

Blood Oath

Alexandra Cooper #20

Linda Fairstein

Little Brown

Hachette Australia

ISBN: 9781408710302

 

Description:

New York Times bestselling author Linda Fairstein explores the depths of Manhattan’s secretive Rockefeller University in this timely, captivating thriller about the deep—and often deadly—reverberations of past sins.

 

Assistant DA Alexandra Cooper of the Manhattan Sex Crimes Unit is finally back at work following a leave of absence, and not a moment too soon. With more women feeling empowered to name their abusers, Alex is eager to return to the courtroom to do what she does best. But even she can’t anticipate the complexity of her first case when she meets Lucy, a young woman who testified years earlier at a landmark federal trial…and now reveals that she was sexually assaulted by a prominent official during that time.

 

Yet Lucy’s isn’t the only secret Alex must uncover, with rumors swirling about one colleague’s abusive conduct behind closed doors and another’s violent, mysterious collapse. As the seemingly disparate cases of her client, adversary, and friend start to intertwine, Alex, along with NYPD detectives Mike Chapman and Mercer Wallace, finds herself in uncharted territory within Manhattan’s Rockefeller University, a premier research institute, hospital, and cornerstone of higher learning. But not even the greatest minds in the city can help her when unearthed secrets begin to collide in dangerous ways…and unless she can uncover the truth, the life-saving facility just may become her grave.

 

 

My View:

Linda Fairstein writes consistently good intelligent legal procedurals and if you are a fan you will not be disappointed.

 

Fairstein has skilfully incorporated elements of contemporary issues and headline crimes (#MeToo and a crime in the UK – sorry no spoilers here) into a twisted and complex plot. Surprising, suspenseful but with the characters and relationships you love so much –I am sure you will enjoy this read, however I did get a sense that perhaps everything was being neatly resolved, perhaps this series could be drawing to an end? What do you think? Twenty books is a big innings…

 

 

 

Review: Boxed – Richard Anderson

Boxed

Richard Anderson

Scribe Publications

ISBN: 9781925713657

 

Description:

When life delivers you gifts you don’t want.

 

Dave Martin is down on his luck: his wife has left him; his farm is a failure; his house is a mess; he has withdrawn from his community and friends; and tragedy has stolen his capacity to care. He passes the time drinking too much and buying cheap tools online, treating the delivered parcels as gifts from people who care about him.

 

And then boxes begin to arrive in the mail: boxes that he didn’t order, but ones that everyone around him seems to want desperately. As he tries to find out the secret of the boxes, Dave is drawn into a crazy world of red herrings and wrong turns, good guys and bad, false friends and true, violence, lust, fear, revenge, and a lot, lot more. It’s not a world he understands, but is it the only one Dave can live in?

 

 

My View:

Last year I read Richard Anderson’s debut Retribution – it was a stunning read – tension filled, evocative…with some thought provoking social commentary set in rural Australia, I loved it. When I was offered an opportunity to read Richard’s latest book “Boxed” I leapt at the chance and I was not disappointed.

 

Boxed is set in another rural small town – mysteries abound and personal tragedies /grief inform the mood of the narrative. (No spoilers here).  I love that contemporary issues are woven into this mystery, that there is hope and a wonderful sense of community, that the characters are richly drawn and empathetic and that the mystery element shines brightly. I thoroughly enjoyed this read.

 

Richard Anderson has a talent for storytelling that is mesmerising. I cannot wait to read what he writes next.