Review: The Silent Wife – Karin Slaughter

The Silent Wife

Will Trent #10

Karin Slaughter

Harper Collins Australia

ISBN: 9781460757048

 

Description:

He watches.

 

A woman runs alone in the woods. She convinces herself she has no reason to be afraid, but she’s wrong. A predator is stalking the women of Grant County. He lingers in the shadows, until the time is just right to snatch his victim.

He waits.

A decade later, the case has been closed. The killer is behind bars. But then another young woman is brutally attacked and left for dead, and the MO is identical.

He takes.

Although the original trail has gone cold — memories have faded, witnesses have disappeared — agent Will Trent and forensic pathologist Sara Linton must re-open the cold case. But the clock is ticking, and the killer is determined to find his perfect silent wife …

 

My View:

I really enjoyed this dual time line narrative that brings back characters from the start of the Grant Country series, characters that provide a tension in the protagonist relationship and spotlights crime scenes and policing from that earlier period – Slaughter weaves this complex narrative together seamlessly.  As always, this a stunning read.

 

In the final pages of the book Karin Slaughter addresses the reader, don’t be tempted to read this first up, there are spoilers, but do read. Karin makes some significant  points: “In the beginning of my career…I made the decision that what I was writing would matter from one book to the next…that’s why I decided to write frankly about violence against women…it was important to openly describe what that violence actually looks like, and to explore the long-lasting effects of trauma in as realistic way as possible. If I’ve done anything with these two series, I hope that people will look at them as an honest telling of stories we do not often hear about survivors, fighters, mothers, daughters, sisters, wives, friends, and rogues. “

 

I think Karin Slaughter has succeeded.

 

A thought that remains me after reading this book, listen to your intuition.

 

** This is a stunning and at times hilarious interview with Karin Slaughter by Dervla McTiernan  https://www.facebook.com/50377417167/videos/622600778612826 

 

#FridayFreebie Face Value – Ian Andrew

Face Value

Wright & Tran #1

Ian Andrew

ISBN: 978-0992464127 Trade Paperback: 314 pages Trim: 13.3 x 2.0 x 20.3 cm

Publisher: The Book Reality Experience

Published: 11 May 2015

Winner of the Publishers Weekly Booklife Prize for Fiction, FACE VALUE by Ian Andrew, is the opening salvo in the detective thriller series that follows Kara Wright and Tien Tran, veterans of UK Military Intelligence, now trying to scrape by as Private Investigators.

 

With taut writing, bone-crushing action, and a pace that never relents, this was a difficult read to put down and a worthy winner.
Mark Dawson, USA Today bestselling author.

Featuring gripping action and tight plotting, this supercharged novel keeps readers on the edge of their seats.

Publishers Weekly

 

Description:

When ex-intelligence operative Tien Tran finds civilian life lacking, she teams up with her hot-headed fellow vet Kara to become private investigators. Even with her hard-as-nails partner by her side, Tran struggles to afford the London rent on their office. The computer genius agrees to take on a well-paying case of two clients’ missing parents to keep the lights on. But when the rookie PIs learn the siblings’ father is ex-intelligence too, they suspect the questions of his disappearance may lead to sinister answers.

 

Kara Wright has no problem taking her combat skills to the streets, but her lack of empathy tends to get her in deep trouble. When she takes one counterattack too far, Wright’s aggression puts her and her partner at risk in the middle of their investigation. As they follow the case of violence and abuse to the heart of the criminal underworld, the Metropolitan Police may put a stop to their search before it starts.

Can Tran keep Wright in check long enough to close the case, or will the pair of PIs fall victim to a dark and deadly game?

 

Face Value is the gripping first book in the Wright & Tran crime thriller series. If you like electrifying action, breathless pacing, and three-dimensional characters, then you’ll love Ian Andrew’s award-winning special ops detective novel.

 

 

**This week I have 5 Ebooks of  Face Value the first book in the Wright and Tran series – a book I highly recommend. In the comments tell me which city this book is set in.  5 Winners will be randomly selected on 25 July 2020. Good luck. **

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.

 

 

 

Review: The Museum Of Desire

The Museum of Desire

(Alex Delaware #35)

Century

Penguin Random House

ISBN: 9781780899046)

 

Description:

ONE NIGHT OF HEDONISM. FOUR MURDER VICTIMS.

 

A run-down mansion nestled between Beverley Hills and the San Fernando Valley is leased out for one night to house a party big enough to herald the end of days.

 

When a limo is discovered in the grounds of the house the morning after with four dead bodies inside, a mind-bending case begins.

 

With no link between the four people in the car, and each of the victims murdered in a different way, psychologist Alex Delaware and LAPD Lieutenant Milo Sturgis are about to begin their grisliest and most baffling case yet.

 

And as they struggle to make sense of the vicious mass slaying, they will be forced to confront a level of lust and evil for which their combined wisdom can provide no preparation.

 

 

My View:

This was an engaging, weird, quirky, dark murder mystery but the strangest things about this read are; it is the 35th book in the series and I have never read anything by the author before (my bad) he is a talented writer who writes with sharpness, intention and skill. This is the 35th book in the Alex Delaware series yet I easily read it as a standalone – more kudos to the writer. The protagonists – quirky, likable, authentic.  The crimes – gruesome, diabolical and twisted.

A great read.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review: Strangers – C.L. Taylor

Strangers

CL Taylor

Avon:

Harper Collins Publishers

ISBN: 9780008222468

 

Description:

Ursula, Gareth and Alice have never met before.

 

Ursula thinks she killed the love of her life.

 

Gareth’s been receiving strange postcards.

 

And Alice is being stalked.

 

None of them are used to relying on others – but when the three strangers’ lives unexpectedly collide, there’s only one thing for it: they have to stick together. Otherwise, one of them will die.

 

Three strangers, two secrets, one terrifying evening.

 

The million-copy bestseller returns with a gripping new novel that will keep you guessing until the end.

 

 

My View:

With multiple story lines, I love how all the different characters and their worlds collide in one tense standoff. This is a mystery that will keep you guessing whilst simultaneously reminding you that what you “see” on the outside often does not reflect the inner,  the real person – their turmoils and challenges.

This quietly written book is disturbing, a great character driven mystery.

 

 

Review: Elly – Maike Wetzel

Elly

Maike Wetzel

Scribe

ISBN: 9781925849165

RRP $24.99

 

Description:

A missing child is a nightmare for any family. But what happens when they come back?

 

Eleven-year-old Elly is missing. After an extensive police search she is presumed dead, and her family must learn to live with a gaping hole in their lives. Then, four years later, she reappears. But soon her parents and sister are plagued by doubts. Is this stranger really the same little girl who went missing? And if not, who is she?

 

Elly is a gripping tale of grief, longing, and doubt, which takes every parent’s greatest fear and lets it play out to an emotionally powerful, memorable climax. It is a literary novel with all the best qualities of a thriller.

 

 

My View:

Sparsely written, staccato in style – a story of loss, grief, desperation and the longing for completeness, of family.

This is a quick yet powerful read; there is a darkness buried deep in our soul that is slowly pared back, revealed by the knife of grief and longing.  The sister and her desire to “claim”, reinvent a new sister, the family unit in its desperate need to believe that the “returned” child is their own, that child’s need for the comfort and completeness of “family”.

 

An extraordinary and unsettling read.

 

PS – the cover is perfect – subtle yet evocative.

Review: Please See Us – Caitlin Mullen

Please See Us

Caitlin Mullen

Gallery Books

Simon and Schuster Australia

ISBN: 9781982152581

RRP $29.99

 

Description:

 In this sophisticated, suspenseful debut reminiscent of Laura Lippman and Chloe Benjamin, two young women become unlikely friends during one fateful summer in Atlantic City as mysterious disappearances hit dangerously close to home.

 

Summer has come to Atlantic City but the boardwalk is empty of tourists, the casino lights have dimmed, and two Jane Does are laid out in the marshland behind the Sunset Motel, just west of town. Only one person even knows they’re there.

 

Meanwhile, Clara, a young boardwalk psychic, struggles to attract clients for the tarot readings that pay her rent. When she begins to experience very real and disturbing visions, she suspects they could be related to the recent cases of women gone missing in town. When Clara meets Lily, an ex-Soho art gallery girl who is working at a desolate casino spa and reeling from a personal tragedy, she thinks Lily may be able to help her. But Lily has her own demons to face. If they can put the pieces together in time, they may save another lost girl—so long as their efforts don’t attract perilous attention first. Can they break the ill-fated cycle, or will they join the other victims?

 

Evocative, eerie, and compelling, Please See Us is a fast-paced psychological thriller that explores the intersection of womanhood, power, and violence.

 

My View:

 “I shuffled the deck and the cards stuck together in the humidity…

 The card I drew was the Moon. The card for women. The card meant mystery, confusion, even insanity. But it could also mean knowing, intuition, or a sign that you needed to face what scared you the most…I also needed to believe that magic and meaning sometimes reached into our world. Or else there was just my life – the high school diploma I would never get, the shop, the mangy feral cats, the mother who never wrote anymore, Des coming home from a shift at the club with her pupils huge and glassy, rubbing at her nose.” (p35)

 

This is such a powerful bittersweet read that in its guise of a powerful, suspenseful, murder mystery sheds light on the insidious power of  addiction, of the role of women in society – the  judgement and expectations of “good” women and the “the other kind”,  the business of selling women’s’ bodies…using women bodies for self-gratification, a throw away commodity;

“There’s this flier someone was passing around at the club. One of the other girls gave it to me. A business opportunity.”

   “Okay…”

“Well, it’s this service, right? Where rich men are looking for to…take care of young, attractive women.”

“What do you mean, take care of?”

“Pay you to let them take them out on dates. Buy you nice things, take you out to good dinners”.

“They pay you to let them buy you stuff? Come on Des, that’s not all they’re paying for.” I had lived here my whole life; I’d seen how this kind of thing worked. Young women, in short dresses, getting into the back seats of strangers’ cars, disappearing into the night. In this town of people who wanted to win and drink and take? No way an opportunity for generosity was what they were paying for.” (p30,31)

 

This is such a powerful read and an outstanding murder/mystery.  Aside from the potent discussion about women’s role in society, the male gaze, addiction, women in poverty, mental health and post -natal depression, this is an intoxicating narrative that gives voice to the victims, to the dead. I loved how we got to know the victims before the path they trod led to their death.  The victims were seen for the potential they briefly held, for the innocents they once were, for the daughters, mothers, school kids, friends, family they had been before they became victims.

 

And this is Caitlin Mullen’s debut novel!!! What an exhilarating read. I cannot wait to read more from this author. I predict awards, lots of awards.

 

Review: A Conspiracy of Bones- Kathy Reichs

A Conspiracy of Bones

Temperance Brennan #19

Kathy Reichs

Simon & Schuster Australia

ISBN: 9781760853983

RRP $32.99

 

Description:

#1 New York Times bestselling author Kathy Reichs returns with a new riveting novel featuring her vastly popular character forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan, who must use all her tradecraft to discover the identity of a faceless corpse, its connection to a decade-old missing child case, and why the dead man had her cell phone number.

 

It’s sweltering in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Temperance Brennan, still recovering from neurosurgery following an aneurysm, is battling nightmares, migraines, and what she thinks might be hallucinations when she receives a series of mysterious text messages, each containing a new picture of a corpse that is missing its face and hands. Immediately, she’s anxious to know who the dead man is, and why the images were sent to her.

 

An identified corpse soon turns up, only partly answering her questions.

 

To win answers to the others, including the man’s identity, she must go rogue, working mostly outside the system. That’s because Tempe’s new boss holds a fierce grudge against her and is determined to keep her out of the case. Tempe bulls forward anyway, even as she begins questioning her instincts. But the clues she discovers are disturbing and confusing. Was the faceless man a spy? A trafficker? A target for assassination by the government? And why was he carrying the name of a child missing for almost a decade?

 

With help from a number of law enforcement associates including her Montreal beau Andrew Ryan and the always-ready-with-a-smart-quip, ex-homicide investigator Skinny Slidell, and utilizing new cutting-edge forensic methods, Tempe draws closer to the astonishing truth.

 

But the more she uncovers, the darker and more twisted the picture becomes…

 

 

My View:

Welcome back Kathy Reichs, it has been a while since we last spoke but I do understand the reason why (and so will you after you finished reading this book). Actually, I think I enjoyed this book even more so because of “the break” between reads and because it has been a long time since I watched the Bones Tv series ( we gave away our TV a few years ago now ) and it was good to read the book and not have visions of the characters of Bones in my head.

 

This read was a little different to the previous eighteen books in this series (what an accomplishment), here Tempe is working on her own (with Skinny Sidell – whom is a valuable ally and important character in this book) after being ousted from her role as coroner.  Tenacious and a with her usual desire to give voice to the victims of murder, she sets out on her quest to discover the identity of a mystery corpse.

 

Twisty, engaging and with a surprising revelation (no spoilers here), you will enjoy this read.

 

 

 

Review: The Familiar Dark – Amy Engel

The Familiar Dark

Amy Engel

Hodder & Stoughton

Hachette Australia

ISBN: 9781529368086

RRP $32.99

 

Description:

From the bestselling author of The Roanoke Girls comes a new novel with the same incredible atmosphere, strong sense of place and dark heart. The Familiar Dark will blow you away.

 

In a small town beset by poverty in the Missouri Ozarks two 12-year-old girls are found dead in the park. Their throats have been cut.

 

Eve Taggert’s daughter was one of them. Desperate with grief, she takes it upon herself to find out the truth about what happened to her little girl.

 

Eve is no stranger to the dark side of life – having been raised by a hard-edged mother whose parenting lessons she tried hard not to mimic. But with her daughter gone, Eve has no reason to stay soft. And she is going to need her mother’s cruel brand of strength if she’s going to face the truth about her daughter’s death.

 

 

My View:

Dark. Gritty. Poignant. So, so, sad.

2020 has been a fabulous year for all things crime fiction.  Each new read I finish I think “This is the best crime fiction read of the year”, and then I start the next book and I am blown away with how good that next book is. This book is another contender for Crime Fiction Book of the Year.

 

Dark and startling – you will not believe where this book takes you. I think there are a coup0el of points that make this read outstanding; the characters, particularly the protagonist Eve Taggert, is someone you just really want to see come out of this terrible situation well, I have so much empathy for this character and I guess many others will too.  The settings transport to you to small town America where Eve scratches out a living the best she can. And the social commentary, there is much written here about the objectification of women, women as possessions… and a savage a brutal crime with a jaw dropping conclusion.   Read this quick read, only 236 pages, perfect to read in one sitting.

 

I will leave you to contemplate on this quote from the book:

“That mouth one more thing I buried when Junie was born. Wanting to teach her a better way to approach the world.  One that wouldn’t leave her judged as poor white trash and not much else. But now I wonder if maybe a mouth like I used to have might have helped save her. Maybe she’d have been more likely to scream. To tell someone to go fuck themselves. To fight back. Or maybe it would have only have made the knife move faster. Truth is, there is no good way to navigate being female in this world. If you speak out, say no, stand your ground, you’re a bitch and a harpy, and whatever happens to you is your own fault. You had it coming. But if you smile, say yes, survive on politeness, you’re weak and desperate. An easy mark. Prey in a world full of predators. There are no risk-free options for women, no choices that don’t come back to smack us in the face. Junie hadn’t learnt that yet. But she would have, eventually. We all do, one way of the other. “ (pps 142,143 – Eve contemplating if she should have made her daughter tougher, less easy to be murdered… )