Review: Every Time He Dies – Tara East

 

Every Time He Dies

Tara East

Tara East – self published

ISBN: 9780648581512

 

Description:

Daphne Lawrence is haunted. Two years ago, her fiancé died in a terrible accident, her mother passed away from cancer and she stopped speaking to her father. As an embalmer, Daff is used to the company of dead people, but she isn’t used to them talking back. In fact, Daff isn’t used to anything that could be considered woo-woo including, but not limited to: psychics, crystal, meditation, tarot cards, vision quests and coincidences. Too bad that’s everything she’s experiencing.

 

Daff is forced to confront her own long ignored grief when she discovers a haunted watch buried in the sand at Golden Beach. The problem is, her ghost has no memory of his former life or how he died.

 

As Daff seeks to discover the spectre’s identity, dangerous truths and hidden secrets are revealed. Soon, she finds herself in the middle of an on-going homicide investigation led by Detective Sergeant Jon Lawrence, her father. A story about grief, time and identity, Every Time He Dies will leave you wondering whether our dearly beloveds ever really depart.

 

My View:

A brilliant debut!

 

This is a multilayered, deeply moving narrative of redemption, forgiveness, identity, moving on, grieving, bikies, lies, mysteries and ghosts. What a fabulous read and oh so satisfying.

 

Tara East is a very visual storyteller; I watched this story play out in technicolour 3D in my head, the locations, very Australian, (is it coincidence that the most readable speculative fiction I have come across are based in/around Brisbane, Queensland?), the characters so vibrant (I love you Daff and Liam, well mostly Liam but Daff you are a very engaging protagonist) and the mysteries, intriguing.

 

I do hope that this is the start of a series, I can’t wait to read more about Daff’s adventures as she assist the newly dead on their quests.

 

Review: The Long Call – Ann Cleeves

The Long Call

(Two Rivers #1)

Ann Cleeves

Macmillan

ISBN: 9781509889570

RRP $29.99

 

Description:

The Long Call is the captivating first novel in a brand new series from Sunday Times bestseller and creator of Vera and Shetland, Ann Cleeves.

 

In North Devon, where the rivers Taw and Torridge converge and run into the sea, Detective Matthew Venn stands outside the church as his father’s funeral takes place. The day Matthew turned his back on the strict evangelical community in which he grew up, he lost his family too.

 

Now he’s back, not just to mourn his father at a distance, but to take charge of his first major case in the Two Rivers region; a complex place not quite as idyllic as tourists suppose.

 

A body has been found on the beach near to Matthew’s new home: a man with the tattoo of an albatross on his neck, stabbed to death.

 

Finding the killer is Venn’s only focus, and his team’s investigation will take him straight back into the community he left behind, and the deadly secrets that lurk there.

 

 

My View:

Ann Cleeves introduces to a new set of characters and protagonists in this the beginning of a new series set in North Devon. Cleeves takes her time to provide backgrounds of her characters and very visual descriptions of the settings, you will be transported to the locations; the various significant workplaces, the beaches, the lonely villages, the Woodyard.

 

This is a very contemporary telling of a murder/mystery; the protagonist (Matthew) is an openly gay man – but this is just a fact not a significance, some of the pivotal characters have disabilities and have an important role in the narrative; modern communities are represented on these pages, this is very refreshing to read.

 

Whilst the pace slowly builds you will soon find yourself immersed in the lives of the main characters; Matthew and Jen (a detective/single mum) – I wonder who will play them in the TV series, the works have just been optioned for TV). Someone gutsy, intelligent, sensitive but fun.

 

All in all a good read, some interesting new charters and a resolution that is poignant – this is one instance where I actually felt incredibly sorry for both the victim and the perpetrator. There is much to consider in the narrative, I hope you enjoy it too.

 

**Stay tuned for a fabulous #Friday Freebie for your chance to win a copy of this title. Read it before it hits the screens.  **Offer open to Australian residents.**

 

 

 

 

Review: The Day The Lies Began – Kylie Kaden

The Day the Lies Began

Kylie Kaden

Pantera Press

ISBN: 9781925700381

 

Description:

‘Big Little Lies’ meets ‘The Party’

 

“It seemed simple at first – folding one lie over the next. She had become expert at feathering over the cracks to ensure her life appeared the same. But inside, it didn’t feel fixed.”

 

It happened the day of the Moon Festival. It could have been left behind, they all could have moved on with their lives. But secrets have a habit of rising to the surface, especially in small towns.

 

Two couples, four ironclad friendships, the perfect coastal holiday town. With salt-stung houses perched like lifeguards overlooking the shore, Lago Point is the scene of postcards, not crime scenes. Wife and mother Abbi, town cop Blake, schoolteacher Hannah and local doctor Will are caught in their own tangled webs of deceit.

 

When the truth washes in to their beachside community, so do the judgements: victim, or vigilante, who will forgive, who will betray? Not all relationships survive. Nor do all residents.

 

Sometimes, doing wrong can feel completely right…

 

 

My View:

A great exploration of relationships and the truths and half-truths we tell ourselves/our partners when faced with tough decisions, thankfully most of us will never need to discuss the type of incidents that these conversations revolve around.

 

Twisty and complex, this is a slow burning type read where you really get to understand the main characters. I really loved the growth of the relationship between the angst filled teen and the older woman and the big reveals, most I had not guessed.

 

This is a read that asks the big questions, ‘how well do you know your partner?’ and “how well do you know yourself?’ Isn’t it interesting how people’s reactions/personality changes when they are in very difficult, emotional situations?

I think this would make great tv.

 

 

 

 

 

Review: The Inn – James Patterson and Candice Fox

The Inn

James Patterson and Candice Fox

Penguin Random House

Century Australia

ISBN: 9780143794516

Description:

A gripping stand-alone novel from the world’s bestselling thriller writer.

Ex-Boston homicide detective Billy Robinson has retreated to a quiet life on the New England coast. Struggling to cope following the death of his beloved wife, he must now run the inn that Siobhan took care of so well.

The inn’s quirky residents help keep Billy on solid ground as he grieves, and the group soon become an unconventional family. But this small town is in the grips of a growing opioid epidemic, and when a young resident gets hooked into the crisis, Billy knows he must act to save the people in the inn that he has grown to care so much about.

With his secretive past in Boston catching up to him, can Billy survive long enough to save the town – and its beloved inn – from ruin?

 

My View:

I had a little Stepehndrugs King déjà vu moment when I started reading this, perhaps it was the setting that evoked this random memory?  The waterfront, the old run down building that is the Inn?  A horror story of sorts, this however, is where the resemblance ends.

I have mixed feelings about this read. The first time I picked this up I was not engrossed or engaged with the narrative…I put the book down and started reading again the next day…something changed! The tension, the dilemmas, the characters living in the Inn grabbed a hold of me and didn’t let me lose until I finished reading.  What a change! I wish I could articulate the reason for the change- perhaps pace? Perhaps it’s the connection with the “good guys” and their struggle?

A great collaboration. A solid read. I hope you enjoy it.

 

 

Review: Shoot Through – J M Green

Shoot Through

J M Green

Scribe Publications

ISBN: 9781925713848

 

Description:

Stella Hardy, the wisecracking social worker, is back to tackle crooked private contractors, an exotic cattle scam, and a delicious Mushroom Jalfrezi.

 

All Stella Hardy wants is a romantic country getaway with her artist boyfriend, Brophy. Instead, she must head to the Athol Goldwater Agricultural Prison (aka Arsehole Bogwater) to visit her jailbird brother, Ben, and sort out some ‘urgent’ family paperwork. But Stella has barely set foot in the prison when a prisoner, Joe Phelan, is found dead.

 

Before she knows it, Stella finds herself tasked, against her will, with investigating Joe’s suspicious death away from the eyes of police, including her best friend, Detective Phuong Nguyen. Her old nemesis Minister for Justice Marcus Pugh is pressuring her from above to save his election-year bacon, and Joe’s old friend and former gang member, Percy Brash, is providing a much more chilling form of pressure from below, promising to reduce her to mush and bone fragments if she doesn’t give him the name of Joe’s killer, and soon.

 

As the clock counts down, Stella becomes embroiled in a story of corruption, conspiracy, and high-tech cattle-wrangling, all while trying to manage her brother’s pregnant girlfriend, Loretta, get to the bottom of Brophy’s increasingly strange behaviour, and evade the murderous intentions of a shadowy mercenary. And then things get really crazy. It’s Stella’s last hurrah, and she’s going out with a bang.

 

My View:

This is most definitely on my list of Best Reads of 2019.

 

Stella Hardy is a protagonist I have embraced since the first book, Good Money (not literally but if I met her creator I would give her a big hugJ and thank her for creating this wonderful character and series). I love Stella’s sardonic, wise cracking demeanour, her depth of understanding of the Australian socio-political scene, her honest observations, her complicated life…even her age. It is refreshing to find a protagonists that is so grounded, mature and relatable.

 

Corruption, crime, mystery and romance… this book has it all. In a year of fabulous 5 star releases J M Green can hold her head high.

 

Stella Hardy I miss you already.

 

 

 

Review: The Chain – Adrian McKinty

 

The Chain

Adrian McKinty

Hachette Australia

ISBN: 9780733642517

 

Description:

You just dropped off your child at the bus stop.

A panicked stranger calls your phone.

Your child has been kidnapped.

The stranger then explains that their child has also been kidnapped, by a completely different stranger.

The only way to get your child back is to kidnap another child – within 24 hours.

Your child will be released only when the next victim’s parents kidnap yet another child.

And most importantly, the stranger explains, if you don’t kidnap a child, or if the next parents don’t kidnap a child, your child will be murdered.

 

You are now part of The Chain.

 

My View:

It’s been a long time since I have been filled with such dread and apprehension when reading; McKinty’s realistic protagonists inspire empathy and solidarity, the decisions they are forced to make leave you quaking in dread. There is no heavy handed, gratuitous accounts of violence yet the simple horror of the situation is enough to make the bravest reader cringe in fear.

From the very first page you will be captivated, hi jacked by the compulsive narrative, considering the “what if’s” and placing yourself in the margins of the page, experiencing firsthand the smell of fear that emanates from within. There was a point where I felt I could not read on, I could think of no way out, I had no hope for the characters I quickly had bonded with. I sat for a while and considered turning the page. Nervous apprehension powered me on, I needed to know what came next.

It was not what I thought….phew….I could continue reading (no spoilers here).

 

McKinty is a masterful storyteller who has crafted a book that will mesmerise and keep you enthralled until the very last page. Impressive, addictive reading, you really will be glued to the pages. This is the book that everyone will be talking about. Read The Chain and join the conversation.

 

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.