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: The Accusation – Wendy James

The Accusation

Wendy James

Harper Collins Australia

ISBN: 9781460752388

 

Description:

A bizarre abduction. A body of damning evidence. A world of betrayal.

 

Eighteen-year-old Ellie Canning is found shivering and barely conscious on a country road, clad only in ill-fitting pyjamas. Her story of kidnap and escape quickly enthrals the nation: a middle-aged woman with a crazy old mother has held Ellie in a basement, chained her to a bed and given her drinks from an old baby’s sippy cup. But who was this woman and what did she want with Ellie? And what other secrets might she hide?

When the accusation is levelled at local teacher Suzannah Wells, no one seems more bewildered than Suzannah herself … to start with. The preposterous charge becomes manifestly more real as she loses her job and her friends. And the evidence is strong: a dementia-affected mother, a house with a basement, a sippy cup that belonged to her long-dead daughter. And Ellie Canning’s DNA everywhere. As stories about Susannah’s past emerge, even those closest to her begin to doubt she’s innocent.

And Ellie? The media can’t get enough of her. She’s a girl-power icon, a social-media star. But is she telling the truth?

 

A powerful exploration of the fragility of trust, and the power of suggestion, from the author of The Golden Child and The Mistake.

 

Praise for the Golden Child:

‘The novel is cleverly constructed, the characters are extremely well-drawn, the use of social media as a plot device is very sophisticated, and the resolution is a genuine surprise’ Judges’ report, Ned Kelly Crime Awards, 2017.

 

 

My View:

Credible!  Readable!  Powerful!

What a fantastic read!!!

 

This is a fabulous read that kept me up till the early hours trying to work out the knots and twists in this plot. Like a skillful magician, Wendy James directs our attention to view the scenarios in a particular way, provides glimpses, hints, clues then redirects our attention to other possibilities.

I do love an unreliable narrator.  A fast paced read with some surprising reveals, I predict an award or two for this novel.

 

 

 

 

 

Review: Rough Diamond (Erica Jewell #1) – Kathryn Ledson

Rough Diamond

Erica Jewell #1

Kathryn Ledson

Pilyara Press

ASIN: B07L3Y6XHV

 

Description:

Funny, romantic and action-packed, Rough Diamond introduces Australia’s unforgettable Erica Jewell.

 

The shock ending to Erica Jewell’s marriage has left a huge hole in her bank balance and a bigger one in her heart. So now this office worker’s goals make a very short list: no surprises, no debt and, definitely, no men. That is, until she finds one bleeding to death in her Melbourne garden one stormy night.

Jack Jones is a man whose emotional wounds are more life-threatening than the bullet in his shoulder. When he recruits Erica to his secret team of vigilantes, Erica suspects her safe, predictable world is about to be inverted.

And she’s absolutely right.

 

My View:

Fun, exciting, mysterious and oh so Australian – I love this read!

Kathryn Ledson has created a wonderful female protagonist, Erica Jewell and in this, the first book in the series, we are introduced to a set of main characters that face adversity head on. This is a thrilling, fast paced mystery that is tempered with humour and a hint of romance.

This series would make fantastic TV! The world is ready to meet Erica Jewell.

 

 

 

 

Review: Under the Midnight Sky – Anna Romer

Under the Midnight Sky

Anna Romer

Simon and Schuster Australia

ISBN: 9781925184457

 

Description:

Chilling secrets buried deep in wild bushland drive this thrilling new novel from bestseller Anna Romer

 

When an injured teenager goes missing at a remote bushland campground, local journalist Abby Bardot is determined to expose the area’s dark history. The girl bears a striking resemblance to the victims of three brutal murders that occurred twenty years ago and Abby fears the killer is still on the loose.

 

But the newspaper Abby works for wants to suppress the story for fear it will scare off tourists to the struggling township. Haunted by her own turbulent memories, Abby is desperate to learn the truth and enlists the help of Tom Gabriel, a reclusive crime writer. At first resentful of Abby’s intrusion, Tom’s reluctance vanishes when they discover a hidden attic room in his house that shows evidence of imprisonment from half a century before.

 

As Abby and Tom sift through the attic room and discover its tragic history, they become convinced it holds the key to solving the bushland murders and finding the missing girl alive.

 

But their quest has drawn out a killer, someone with a shocking secret who will stop at nothing to keep the truth buried.

 

My View

I really enjoyed this darker, haunting, contemporary read from this author who never disappoints. On the surface this is a gritty mystery, dig a little deeper and you will find it is a contemporary exploration of the cycle of violence/trauma and how it can affect the individual and generations.  I loved how this theme was discussed via the dual time line incidents: mysteries in both generations.

Typical of Anna Romer there is her trade mark use of old documents (in this case a diary), an old building with a  Gothic charm- with secrets of its own, mystery and a little romance. I thoroughly enjoyed this read and I hope you will too.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review: 55 – James Delargy

55

James Delargy

Simon and Schuster

ISBN: 9781471184635

 

Description:

*** There were 54 victims before this. Who is number 55? ***

A thriller with a killer hook, and an ending that will make you gasp!

Wilbrook in Western Australia is a sleepy, remote town that sits on the edge of miles and miles of unexplored wilderness. It is home to Police Sergeant Chandler Jenkins, who is proud to run the town’s small police station, a place used to dealing with domestic disputes and noise complaints.

 

All that changes on a scorching day when an injured man stumbles into Chandler’s station. He’s covered in dried blood. His name is Gabriel. He tells Chandler what he remembers.

 

He was drugged and driven to a cabin in the mountains and tied up in iron chains. The man who took him was called Heath. Heath told Gabriel he was going to be number 55. His 55th victim.

 

Heath is a serial killer.

 

As a manhunt is launched, a man who says he is Heath walks into the same station. He tells Chandler he was taken by a man named Gabriel. Gabriel told Heath he was going to be victim 55.

 

Gabriel is the serial killer.

 

Two suspects. Two identical stories. Which one is the truth?

 

James Delargy has written one of the most exciting debuts of 2019. He masterfully paints the picture of a remote Western Australian town and its people, swallowed whole by the hunt for a serial killer. This novel has been sold in 19 countries so far and has just been optioned for film.

 

 

My View:

I don’t think I have come across a book of crime fiction that has such an interesting theme; suspect or victims, two identical stories. Who is telling the truth?

 

This is a story of family, of connections, of missing people, of the past and how it can shape our future and of course, crime. With a dual time line, we follow the fate of two rookie policeman searching the remote countryside for a missing person. We learn of their individual characters, their empathies, their aspirations as we join the search for the missing man.  The terrain, the isolated, hostile, unforgiving countryside is the largest character in this work. It has a huge impact on all that happens in this narrative.  Don’t underestimate its power.

 

In the current time we again follow the two same cops as they again deal with a missing person – the circumstances are so different, foreboding colouring the search, the echoes of the past never far away,  the landscape still just as harsh, still unforgiving and hiding many secrets.

 

This is an intriguing read however the ending did not bring me any satisfaction; ending on a cliff hanger, so much action and tension in the last few chapters, I wanted more.  Perhaps there is a part two to come?