The Perfect Halloween Read: The Shape of Night – Tess Gerritsen


The Shape of the Night

Tess Gerritsen

Penguin Random House Australia

Bantam Press

ISBN: 9781787631656

RRP $32.99

 

Description:

We’ve all done things we’re ashamed of . . .

 

When Ava arrives at Brodie’s Watch, she thinks she has found the perfect place to hide from her past. Something terrible happened, something she is deeply ashamed of, and all she wants is to forget.

 

But the old house on the hill both welcomes and repels her and Ava quickly begins to suspect she is not alone. Either that or she is losing her mind.

 

The house is full of secrets, but is the creeping sense of danger coming from within its walls, or from somewhere else entirely…

 

 

My View:

This really is the perfect Halloween or anytime, suspenseful read that pays homage to the gothic era of horror stories.

 

The tension is incredible! After the first one hundred or so pages I had to stop and read the rest in the day time – I was so apprehensive about what was next; the power of words on the page. What a great read.

 

I love a little paranormal in my reading to mix things up a little. This book was thrilling! Tess Gerritsen is an excellent storyteller – I can imagine her sitting round a camp fire telling this story late at night. Fabulously spooky.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review: Wakenhyrst – Michelle Paver

Wakenhyrst

Michelle Paver

Harper Collins Australia

Head of Zeus

ISBN: 9781789540604

 

Description:

By the bestselling author of Dark Matter and Thin Air, an outstanding new piece of story-telling, a tale of mystery and imagination laced with terror. It is a masterwork in the modern gothic tradition that ranges from Mary Shelley and Bram Stoker to Neil Gaiman and Sarah Perry.

 

“Something has been let loose…”

 

In Edwardian Suffolk, a manor house stands alone in a lost corner of the Fens: a glinting wilderness of water whose whispering reeds guard ancient secrets. Maud is a lonely child growing up without a mother, ruled by her repressive father.

 

When he finds a painted medieval devil in a graveyard, unhallowed forces are awakened.

 

Maud’s battle has begun. She must survive a world haunted by witchcraft, the age-old legends of her beloved fen – and the even more nightmarish demons of her father’s past.

 

Spanning five centuries, Wakenhyrst is a darkly gothic thriller about murderous obsession and one girl’s longing to fly free.

 

 

My View:

Creepy gothic suspense where madness reigns supreme.

Wakenhyrst is a gothic feminist tale (is that such a genre or just the mantle I read this book with?) that oozes a chilling miasma of menace and madness. Superstition, religion and misogyny rule and life for a sensitive and intelligent female child is harsh, restrictive and lonely.

 

This character driven narrative offers an antagonist you easily abhor (the father Edmund Stearne) and Maud (the daughter) is the protagonist that you admire, empathise with and cheer on… Megalomania is Edmund Stearne – he is a tyrant, superstitious, self-obsessed, a sex manic, controlling and vile and ugly  – his beliefs, though extreme ( I hope) mirrored those of a society that held women in contempt and treated as (not very valuable) possessions. This was a very interesting study of attitudes and superstitions of the time.

 

The fens provide an eerie backdrop to the repressive madness that ruled Wake’s End. However I was expecting more, I felt the horror element lacked vitality. Creepy, eerie, repressive and yet fascinating sums up my emotional response to this narrative.

 

PS Loved the cover art.

 

 

Review – Providence – Caroline Kepnes

Providence - Caroline Kepnes

Providence

Caroline Kepnes

Simon & Schuster Australia

ISBN: 9781471162862

 

Description:

A propulsive new thriller about the obsessive nature of love when an intensifying relationship between best friends is disrupted by a kidnapping.

Growing up as best friends in small-town New Hampshire, Jon and Chloe are the only ones who truly understand each other, though they can never find the words to tell one another the depth of their feelings. When Jon is finally ready to confess his feelings, he’s suddenly kidnapped by his substitute teacher who is obsessed with H.P. Lovecraft and has a plot to save humanity.

Mourning the disappearance of Jon and facing the reality he may never return, Chloe tries to navigate the rites of entering young adulthood and “fit in” with the popular crowd, but thoughts of Jon are never far away.

When Jon finally escapes, he discovers he now has an uncontrollable power that endangers anyone he has intense feelings for. He runs away to protect Chloe and find the answers to his new identity–but he’s soon being tracked by a detective who is fascinated by a series of vigilante killings that appear connected.

Whisking us on a journey through New England and crashing these characters’ lives together in the most unexpected ways, Kepnes explores the complex relationship between love and identity, unrequited passion and obsession, self-preservation and self-destruction, and how the lines are often blurred between the two.

 

My View:

This was an interesting read. It was not the book I thought I was going to read. (And I wasn’t expecting another You but was expecting something more dynamic and engaging).   The beginning was brilliant – it had the feel of an early, creepy, Stephen King horror/sci fi but then decided it couldn’t make up its mind what story it wanted to tell – horror, mystery, crime, love story – in the end I decided enduring love was the theme at the heart of this read.

I found the characters aside from the protagonist Jon, to be unlikeable.  I found the frequent references to an existing horror story had no meaning for me – and I think this is the biggest downfall of the read – I think it doesn’t translate to a wider audience that is not familiar with this author/existing narrative, consequently I wasn’t really engaged in the read and the characters plight and I found the chapters about Jon as an avenging angel pathway predictable.

On the positive side – I did think about the resolution long after I put the book back on my shelf.

 

 

 

Last But Not Least – A Fantastic Four Book Give Away

I think you will agree that I have had some very special giveaways listed on my blog today, but they represent just a small sample of the talent that is Australian writers!  Next time you are selecting a book to read – at a bookshop, library,  airport news agency, online or in person, as a gift or for yourself consider Aussie authors – there is so much choice, so much talent in this country.

And speaking of talent, if you are not lucky enough to win this awesome book pack generously provided by Echo Publishing, you owe it to your self to seek out a copy of these contemporary eclectic reads.  And by the way – what do you think to these covers?  Magnificent aren’t they ? For your chance to win this 4 pack book treat, it is so simple, in the comments tell which cover art displayed here, speaks to you.

****Giveaway open to Australian residents only. Giveaway ends midnight 28 January 2017.

le-chateau

Le Chateau

Description:

When Charlotte regains consciousness after an accident, she finds herself living a stranger’s life. The previous five years are a blank, and her husband, Henri, and daughter, Ada, are strangers. Arriving at their family chateau in southern France, she hopes to regain her memories. Instead, she feels isolated and unsettled. Strange events hint at underlying darkness and menace. Charlotte doesn’t know who to trust.

Did she really have an affair with their charming Irish neighbour, as her enigmatic mother-in-law suggests? And what of Henri? He seems loving and kind, a good parent, but Charlotte is wary. Then there is Ada, a little girl who just wants her mother back.

With the help of her friend and fellow Australian Susannah, Charlotte starts to piece together events, but her newfound confidence is shaken with news that puts a deadline on her quest…

 

resurrection-bayResurrection Bay 

Description:

Caleb Zelic, profoundly deaf since early childhood, has always lived on the outside – watching, picking up tell-tale signs people hide in a smile, a cough, a kiss. When a childhood friend is murdered, a sense of guilt and a determination to prove his own innocence sends Caleb on a hunt for the killer. But he can’t do it alone. Caleb and his troubled friend Frankie, an ex-cop, start with one clue: Scott, the last word the murder victim texted to Caleb. But Scott is always one step ahead. As he delves deeper into the investigation Caleb uncovers unwelcome truths about his murdered friend – and himself.

 

 

skin-deep

Skin Deep

Description:

When washed up journalist Harry Hendrick wakes with a hangover and a strange symbol tattooed on his neck, he shrugs it off as a bad night out.

When more tattoos appear — accompanied by visions of war-torn Afghanistan, bikies, boat people, murder, bar fights and a mysterious woman — he begins to dig a little deeper.

There’s a federal election looming, with pundits tipping a landslide win for opposition leader Andrew Cardinal. Harry knows there’s a link between these disturbing visions and Cardinal’s shadowy past, and is compelled to right wrongs, one way or another.

Skin Deep is the thrilling, layered, genre-bending debut novel of Brisbane author and journalist Gary Kemble.

 

ida

Ida

Description:

How do people decide on a path, and find the drive to pursue what they want?

Ida struggles more than other young people to work this out. She can shift between parallel universes, allowing her to follow alternative paths.

One day Ida sees a shadowy, see-through doppelganger of herself on the train. She starts to wonder if she’s actually in control of her ability, and whether there are effects far beyond what she’s considered.

How can she know, anyway, whether one universe is ultimately better than another? And what if the continual shifting causes her to lose what is most important to her, just as she’s discovering what that is, and she can never find her way back?

Ida is an intelligent, diverse and entertaining novel that explores love, loss and longing, and speaks to the condition of an array of overwhelming, and often illusory, choices.

 

 

 

 

Best True Crime Read of 2016

I didn’t have to think twice when I was deciding which book deserves this accolade. I think this is a book that all people should read –  yes it might make you feel a little uncomfortable at times, yes it is sometimes brutal and it is hard to believe that this sort of thing is happening in modern Australia ( and this issue not endemic  to Australia – it is world wide.)

 

This narrative is exceptionally well written. It is emotional, it is challenging, it is heartbreaking and it shares shocking life altering truths.  Thank you to all the brave women and families who shared their painful intimate stories. Thanks you to Megan Norris for revealing these stories with candour and without sensationalism .  Education is the key. Awareness is needed.

 

The most moving book I have read in such a long time:

 

Megan Norris

Look What You Made Me Do, Fathers Who Kill

Megan Norris

 

 

Post Script: Bad Blood – Gary Kemble

Bad Blood

Bad Blood

Gary Kemble

Echo Publishing

ISBN: 9781760402938

 

Description:

Freelance journalist Harry Hendrick is beginning to realise that you’re only as good as your last exclusive, and buzz doesn’t pay the bills, when he’s blackmailed by the police into investigating a series of bizarre suicides.

 

Those investigations lead him into the web of Mistress Hel, who plies her dark arts from her luxurious suburban lair. With continuing challenges in his personal and professional life, can Harry resist her seductive power? Or the thrill of danger itself?

 

The latest genre-bending thriller from an exciting Australian author, Gary Kemble.

 

Praise for Skin Deep

 

Kemble’s other life as a journalist is evident in his writing and his convincingly realistic characters … Skin Deep is a fine debut for both Kemble and Echo Publishing, which offers more than a passing nod to John Birmingham and Stephen King – BOOKS+PUBLISHING

 

Equally, not many ghost stories have this kind of immediacy, or tactility. No strange frissons or fleeting shadows here! It’s all blood, drained batteries and murderous rage, stinking of bourbon in the subtropical humidity – TABULA RASA

 

It keeps you guessing until the end – WEEKLY TIMES

 

My View:

Gary Kemble has his own brand of speculative fiction; it is the perfect mash up of horror, crime, gothic darkness, eroticism and paranormal narratives with a tiny bit of love and optimism thrown in for good measure.

 

The first prologue is dynamite! “NIGHTMARE. YOU DO NOT KNOW WHAT A NIGTHMARE IS!” p.3 (until you read this book).

 

Harry Hendrick is a great character; on the surface an average guy, just trying to live his life, earn a living and find love but scratch away at the epidermis, peel back the layers and discover the real Harry.  Harry is complex, likeable, at times self-destructive, full of good intentions, a great investigative reporter and is a little under the influence of a tattoo that mysteriously appeared on the back of his neck( see the first book in the series Skin Deep).  You can’t but help liking Harry.  I would like to know more about Sandy – the clairvoyant, I hope she features strongly in the next book.

 

This book has great characters, a suburban Australian setting, is a great example of the speculative read, and yet manages to seamlessly weave into this engaging narrative some serious social issues.  Historical abuse against children, misuse of Union funds…corruption…there is plenty of meat on this bone, give it a good chew.

 

Gary introduces Bad Bloodhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-ZU6GwXjU4

 

Post Script: Nocturnes Vol 2 Night Music – John Connolly

Nocturnes Vol 2 Night Music

Night Music

Nocturnes Volume 2

John Connolly

Hachette Australia

Hodder & Stoughton

ISBN: 1473619726

 

Description:

Fans of THE BOOK OF LOST THINGS and NOCTURNES will be delighted with this superbly crafted collection of short stories of the supernatural from John Connolly. A decade after NOCTURNES first terrified and delighted readers, John Connolly, bestselling author of thirteen acclaimed thrillers featuring private investigator Charlie Parker, gives us a second volume of tales of the supernatural. From stories of the monstrous for dark winter nights to fables of fantastic libraries and haunted books, from a tender narrative of love after death to a frank, personal and revealing account of the author’s affection for myths of ghosts and demons, this is a collection that will surprise, delight – and terrify. NIGHT MUSIC also contains two novellas: the multi-award-winning THE CAXTON PRIVATE LENDING LIBRARY & BOOK DEPOSITORY, and THE FRACTURED ATLAS, featuring The Wanderer in Unknown Realms, previously published as an ebook, developed here into a five-part novella. NIGHT MUSIC: NOCTURNES 2 is a masterly collection to be read with the lights on – menace has never been so seductive.

 

My View:

Captivating reading!  I was surprised to discover that one of my favourite writers, John Connolly (of the excellent Charlie Parker series) also turns his hand to short stories – and admirable they are.  I was particularly impressed with “The Caxton Private Lending Library & Book Depository”; a little eerie, some great “what ifs” and some reflections/observations on reading and writing thrown in for good measure. Thoroughly enjoyable.  I think there is something here for everyone.

 

And speaking of the Charlie Parker series – look what arrived in the mail today.  I can’t wait to start this one though I seemed to have skipped A Song of Shadow – Charlie Parker #13 – I think I had better try and catch up on that before I start A Time of Torment #14.

 

A Time of Torment