Review: False Witness – Karin Slaughter

False Witness

Karin Slaughter

Harper Collins Australia

ISBN: 9781460757062

RRP $32.99

Description:

He saw what you did … He knows who you are. The stunning new standalone from the no.1 international bestselling author

AN ORDINARY LIFE …

Leigh Coulton has worked hard to build what looks like a normal life. She has a good job as a defence attorney, a daughter doing well in school, and even her divorce is relatively civilised – her life is just as unremarkable as she’d always hoped it would be.

HIDES A DEVASTATING PAST …

But Leigh’s ordinary life masks a childhood which was far from average … a childhood tarnished by secrets, broken by betrayal, and finally torn apart by a devastating act of violence.

BUT NOW THE PAST IS CATCHING UP …

Then a case lands on her desk – defending a wealthy man accused of rape. It’s the highest profile case she’s ever been given – a case which could transform her career, if she wins. But when she meets the accused, she realises that it’s no coincidence that he’s chosen her as his attorney. She knows him. And he knows her. More to the point, he knows what happened twenty years ago, and why Leigh has spent two decades running.

AND TIME IS RUNNING OUT.

If she can’t get him acquitted, she’ll lose much more than the case. The only person who can help her is her younger, estranged sister Calli, the last person Leigh would ever want to ask for help. But suddenly she has no choice …

My View:

Looking for an author who never disappoints? Look no further. I can highly recommend every single book this author has written.

This book comments on bullying, addictions, predatory behaviour…redemption. There is so much behaviour I recognise (but not quite so violently as Ms Slaughter writes), and I love how thrilling, engaging, tense and passionate writing can shed the light on so many issues without preaching or ranting.

As always Karin Slaughter is a great writer! 5 stars from me.

Review: Catch us the Foxes – Nicola West

Catch Us the foxes

Nicola West

Simon & Schuster Australia

ISBN: 9781760857479

RRP $32.99

Description:

Some secrets you try to hide. Others you don’t dare let out … Twin Peaks meets The Dry in a deliciously dark and twisted tale that unravels a small town

Ambitious young journalist Marlowe ‘Lo’ Robertson would do anything to escape the suffocating confines of her small home town. While begrudgingly covering the annual show for the local paper, Lo is horrified to discover the mutilated corpse of Lily Williams, the reigning showgirl and Lo’s best friend. Seven strange symbols have been ruthlessly carved into Lily’s back. But when Lo reports her grisly find to the town’s police chief, he makes her promise not to tell anyone about the symbols. Lo obliges, though it’s not like she has much of a choice – after all, he is also her father.

When Lily’s murder makes headlines around the country and the town is invaded by the media, Lo seizes the opportunity to track down the killer and make a name for herself by breaking the biggest story of her life.

What Lo uncovers is that her sleepy home town has been harbouring a deadly secret, one so shocking that it will captivate the entire nation. Lo’s story will change the course of her life forever, but in a way, she could never have dreamed of.

My View:

This book had many interesting/intriguing parts but unfortunately, I could not suspend my disbelief to comfortably ride out this narrative.  I think this is a book that will divide readers – you will either enjoy or like me will walk away feeling dissatisfied and unhappy with the ending.  

The plusses – some great moments of intrigue, dilemmas, social issues highlighted …the best creepy character – Michael (very subtlety but creepily portrayed), many twists and turns.  Bound to cause lots of discussions in book groups.

The minuses –   so many “about faces”, my inability to suspend my disbelief, it felt like the book was trying to be too many things and not sure what that “thing” should have been.  The social issues that were sympathetically highlighted then later ridiculed /condemned. The ending…you either will love or hate it.

If you have read this, I would love to hear your thoughts.

Review: Still – Matt Nable

Still

Matt Nable

Hachette Australia

ISBN: 9780733644740

RRP $32.99

Description:

STILL is an evocative, confronting and page-turning thriller from a brilliant Australian writer. If you loved THE DRY and SCRUBLANDS, you will love STILL.

Darwin, Summer, 1963.

The humidity sat heavy and thick over the town as Senior Constable Ned Potter looked down at a body that had been dragged from the shallow marshland. He didn’t need a coroner to tell him this was a bad death. He didn’t know then that this was only the first. Or that he was about to risk everything looking for answers.

Late one night, Charlotte Clark drove the long way home, thinking about how stuck she felt, a 23-year-old housewife, married to a cowboy who wasn’t who she thought he was. The days ahead felt suffocating, living in a town where she was supposed to keep herself nice and wait for her husband to get home from the pub. Charlotte stopped the car, stepped out to breathe in the night air and looked out over the water to the tangled mangroves. She never heard a sound before the hand was around her mouth.

Both Charlotte and Ned are about to learn that the world they live in is full of secrets and that it takes courage to fight for what is right. But there are people who will do anything to protect themselves and sometimes courage is not enough to keep you safe.

My View:

The hype did not mislead, this is a brilliant read! Powerfully written; emotive, evocative, filmic, tragic, an expose of historical violence and racism in a remote town, intriguing with more than a few dead bodies (and some nearly so).

This book is a time capsule of the 60’s in regional Australia; the idea of women’s rights, women as directors of their own destiny, is just starting to surface, witness the Stolen Generation policy in action, the fear it generated, the family disruptions, as we are taken back to the not to distant past, a past that can be confronting and challenging.

Women’s rights, racism, violence, corruption, revenge and the isolation of distance intersect and interact in often heart-breaking scenarios, yet there is hope. There is an amazing read. Be prepared to be transported to another time and another place. Be prepared for nail biting tension… and crocodiles.

I will most certainly be looking for more reads by this author.

P S Love the cover art.

#FridayFreebie : The Bombay Prince – Sujata Massey

Thanks to the lovely people at Allen & Unwin Australia I have one copy of the just released book, The Bombay Prince to give away to an Australian resident.

Description:

The redoubtable Perveen Mistry makes her triumphant return to solve a shocking murder on the streets of 1920s Bombay’Perveen [Mistry] is much more than a sari-clad Miss Marple: she’s Bombay’s first female lawyer as well as a keenly intelligent sleuth, a trail-blazing woman balancing the weight of family tradition with her own dreams . . . a deliciously satisfying read!’ Kate Quinn, The New York Times bestselling author of The Rose Code

November, 1921. Edward VIII, Prince of Wales and future ruler of India, is arriving in Bombay to begin a four-month tour.

The Indian subcontinent is chafing under British rule, and India’s only female lawyer, Perveen Mistry, isn’t surprised when local unrest spirals into riots. But she’s horrified by the death of Freny Cuttingmaster, an eighteen-year-old student who falls from a second-floor gallery just as the prince’s grand procession is passing by her college.

Freny had come for a legal consultation just days before her death, and what she confided makes Perveen suspect that her death was not an accident. When Freny’s death is indeed ruled a murder, Perveen knows she can’t rest until she sees justice done.

‘Fantastic! . . . Anyone who likes Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries will love this.’ Bri Lee, bestselling author of Eggshell Skull, on The Satapur Moonstone

‘Massey has created the best gumshoe of them all – the utterly wonderful, exceptional Perveen Mistry. Bright and brilliantly aware.’ The Maitland Mercury on The Satapur Moonstone

**For your chance to win simple tell me the name of either book one or two in this series ( in the comments). Entries will be randomly selected on the 12th of June 2021. Good luck.**

Review: Sixteen Horses – Greg Buchanan

Sixteen Horses

Greg Buchanan

Mantle:

Pan Macmillan Australia

ISBN:9781529027174

RRP$32.99

Description:

Sixteen horses dead. Each buried with a single eye facing the sun . . .

In the dying English seaside town of Ilmarsh, the heads of sixteen horses are found buried in circles, with only their eyes exposed to the light of the low winter sun. The local police call upon forensic veterinarian Cooper Allen to assist with this uniquely disturbing case.

In the weeks that follow, investigators uncover evidence of a chain of crimes in this community: disappearances, arson, and mutilations, all culminating in the reveal of something deadly lurking in the ground itself. And as the town panics, not everything in Ilmarsh is as it seems. . . Dark days follow, then Cooper finds herself working with local police detective Alec Nichols to uncover a frightening mystery.

A literary thriller from a stunning new talent, Sixteen Horses is about enduring guilt, trauma and punishment, set in a small seaside community the rest of the world has left behind.

My View:

WOW! What an incredible read!

I will start by saying what an incredible writer Greg Buchanan is.!! This debut work of crime fiction/mystery/evocative gothic type read is equally compelling and harrowing.

As I read, I felt a swell of emotions ricochet through my mind; I was equally mesmerised and repulsed through out this read.  I was compelled to read this evocative, almost gothic in setting, and horrendous in crimes against animals and humanity, slow burn of a book. I was aghast, I was numb, I was fearful, I could not read more than a few chapters at a time, such was the toll on my emotions, but I kept reading, night after night, because… the writing is captivating.

Is this for you? Only you can decide. It is harrowing. It is brilliant. It is…memorable.

Guest Review: Left You Dead – Peter James

Description:

Detective Superintendent Roy Grace investigates the case of a missing woman in Brighton in the seventeenth novel in Peter James’s bestselling series.

Is this Roy Grace’s most challenging case yet? A mystery that is leaving him totally confounded for the first time in his career.

Most Sundays, Niall and Eden Paternoster like to go for a drive and visit country houses. She likes to look at them, he likes to dream that one day . . .

However, most weeks they also end up bickering about something or other. This particular Sunday he wants to get back to catch the start of the French Grand Prix but she insists they stop somewhere to buy cat litter. Reluctantly, he pulls into the car park of a large supermarket and waits while she dashes in.

He waits. And waits. But Eden doesn’t come back out, she’s gone. When he gets home she’s not there either, and none of their friends or family have heard from her.

A few days later Niall is arrested on suspicion of her murder despite vigorously protesting his innocence. But as Roy Grace is called in to investigate the disappearance of Eden Paternoster, it soon transpires that nothing is as it seems . . .

Dr Pam Lynch’s View:

Left You Dead is book #17 in Peter James’s Roy Grace series, and I must admit I feel slightly conflicted after reading it.

I enjoyed it, I love Peter James’s writing and the entire series and yes, I’ll be waiting for #18. The series has developed over time to be as much about the main character as it is about the crime. We’ve followed Roy Grace through his ups and downs in the force, but we’ve also grown to know him as a man away from the job. Without giving too many spoilers away for those who may still be reading through the early novels, Roy has had his fair share of personal dramas.

Left You Dead is equal parts about the crime and about continuing Roy Grace’s story, and you can’t help but feel empathy towards him as he deals with a huge personal issue.

The crime itself is almost a minor storyline. And I’m afraid I do have issues with it. I picked up on one of the twists very early on and I’m still not sure if the reader was meant to pick up on it or if my detection skills are improving. The final twist was unexpected though. 

Peter James’s books are some of the most accurate police procedurals on the market and this one is no different. At times though I did get the feeling he was going a bit far with the procedural details in this book, sometimes to the detriment of moving the story along. 

All in all, a great read and yes, I would recommend it.

Review: The Chase – Candice Fox

The Chase

Candice Fox

Bantam

Penguin Books Australia

ISBN: 9781760896799

RRP $32.99

Description:

When more than 600 of the world’s most violent human beings pour out from Pronghorn Correctional Facility into the Nevada Desert, the biggest manhunt in US history begins.

But for John Kradle, this is his one chance to prove his innocence, five years after the murder of his wife and child.

He just needs to stay one step ahead of the teams of law enforcement officers he knows will be chasing the escapees down.

Death Row Supervisor turned fugitive-hunter Celine Osbourne is single-minded in her mission to catch Kradle. She has very personal reasons for hating him – and she knows exactly where he’s heading …

My View:

Over the past few weeks, I have read 3 books that I am prepared to say are the best reads of 2021. Each are in different categories, each is memorable, remarkable, enjoyable, well written and coincidentally written by an Australian author. Each is an immersive read – you will not want to put these 3 books down; you will not want the stories to end.

This is the second book.

Don’t pick this book up and expect to read a few chapters and then go to bed…uh uh. This book won’t let you rest until you have finished reading. It is fast paced, character driven (oh how I loved the two protagonists), engaging, enticing, enthralling, exciting and I absolutely loved reading this engaging book.

I believe this to be Candice Fox’s best work to date. How is she going to surpass this one? I can’t wait to find out.

PS I do believe the movie rights to this book will be snapped up soon (if not already).   

I do have one bone to pick with Candice though, since I finished reading this, I have not been able to pick up another crime/thriller read and they are my favourite genre.  I have a serious book hangover 😊

Check out what other book reviewers have thought of this read – I think you will find they all agree with me.

Review: The Shadow Man – Helen Sarah Fields

The Shadow Man

Helen Sarah Fields

Avon

Harper Collins Aust

ISBN: 9780008394073

Description:

The brand new crime thriller from the bestselling author of the Perfect series – Helen Fields is back with her first stand-alone novel!

 

He collects his victims. But he doesn’t keep them safe.

 

Elspeth, Meggy and Xavier are locked in a flat. They don’t know where they are, and they don’t know why they’re there. They only know that the shadow man has taken them, and he won’t let them go.

 

Desperate to escape, the three of them must find a way out of their living hell, even if it means uncovering a very dark truth.

 

Because the shadow man isn’t a nightmare. He’s all too real.

 

And he’s watching.

 

Helen Fields is back with a heart-pounding new book, perfect for fans of Cara Hunter and Stuart MacBride.

 

 

My View:

 

Without a doubt one of the scariest, creepiest books I have read. Fabulous!!!

 

Enough said- if you crime fiction is your thing – READ THIS.

#FridayFreebie: Other Peoples Houses – Kelli Hawkins

Other People’s Houses

Kelli Hawkins

Harper Collins Australia

ISBN: 9781460759226

 

Description:

A stunningly tense, page-turning debut for all fans of The Woman in the Window and The Girl on the Train The perfect house. The perfect family. Too good to be true.

 

Kate Webb still grieves for her young son, ten years after his loss. She spends her weekends hungover, attending open houses on Sydney’s wealthy north shore and imagining the lives of the people who live there.

 

Then Kate visits the Harding house – the perfect house with, it seems, the perfect family. A photograph captures a kind-looking man, a beautiful woman she once knew from university days, and a boy – a boy that for one heartbreaking moment she believes is her own son.

 

When her curiosity turns to obsession, she uncovers the cracks that lie beneath a glossy facade of perfection, sordid truths she could never have imagined.

 

** Thanks to the wonderful people at Harper Collins Australia, I have one copy of this stunning debut to offer you as a giveaway. Simply state the city this book is set in, in the comments. Open to Australian residents only. Winner randomly selected on 19th March 2021.**