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.

 

 

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: Take Me In – Sabine Durrant

Take Me In

Take Me In

Sabine Durrant

Hachette Australia

Mulholland Books

Hodder

ISBN: 9781473608368

RRP $29.99

 

Description:

The sensational new thriller from the author of the Richard & Judy bestseller Lie With Me.

 

‘Need a reminder of what makes thrillers great? Read this.’ Emerald Street

 

Tessa and Marcus went on holiday to save their marriage.

Instead they nearly lost their son.

 

In that fatal moment of inattention a stranger stepped in. And now Dave Jepsom is in their lives.

 

They owe him – they know that – but he seems to want everything. He’s on the streets they walk down. He’s at the office where they work. He’s knocking at their front door…

 

And he’s exposing secrets they would do anything to hide.

 

If they could just go back. Not make that one terrible mistake.

 

But it’s never how it starts that matters. It’s always how it ends.

 

 

My View:

I am a big fan of this author. She never fails to surprise me, to lead me completely and easily away from the essence of truth in the narrative, I am always amazed and sometimes petrified by the end of the story.

 

You will read this in two sittings: there is so much tension, so much anticipation of the worst to come that you will walk away and let the knots unravel in your stomach before you pick this book up again and finish reading. A powerful read.

Review: The Sunday Girl – Pip Drysdale

The Sunday Girl

The Sunday Girl

Pip Drysdale

Simon & Schuster Australia

ISBN: 9781925685824

 

Description:

The Girl on the Train meets Before I Go to Sleep with a dash of Bridget Jones in this chilling tale of love gone horribly wrong …

 

Some love affairs change you forever. Someone comes into your orbit and swivels you on your axis, like the wind working on a rooftop weather vane. And when they leave, as the wind always does, you are different; you have a new direction. And it’s not always north.

 

Any woman who’s ever been involved with a bad, bad man and been dumped will understand what it feels like to be broken, broken-hearted and bent on revenge. Taylor Bishop is hurt, angry and wants to destroy Angus Hollingsworth in the way he destroyed her: Insidiously. Irreparably. Like a puzzle, he’d slowly dissembled … stolen a couple of pieces from, and then discarded, knowing that nobody would ever be able to put it back together ever again. So Taylor consulted The Art of War and made a plan. Then she took the next step – one that would change her life forever.

 

Then things get really out of control – and The Sunday Girl becomes impossible to put down.

 

 

My View:

“You always know where your heart belongs when it gets to Sunday and there is only one person in the whole world you want to curl up with on the sofa.” P.59

 

This is a read in one sitting, forget what’s happening in the outside world as you urge the protagonist to safety. Secretly you smile as her plan begins to form – who hasn’t harboured a little grudge against an ex before? You empathise, you become a silent player in this game of cat and mouse. And then…

 

Well you will just have to read this yourself to find out.

 

 

Domestic noir at its pulse racing best!  This is my perfect read. More please!

Post Script: The Escape Room – Megan Goldin

The Escape Room by Megan Goldin cover art

The Escape Room

Megan Goldin

Penguin

Michael Joseph

ISBN: 9780143785477

 

Description:

‘Welcome to the escape room. Your goal is simple. Get out alive.’

 

In the lucrative world of Wall Street finance, Vincent, Jules, Sylvie and Sam are the ultimate high-flyers. Ruthlessly ambitious, they make billion-dollar deals and live lives of outrageous luxury. Getting rich is all that matters, and they’ll do anything to get ahead.

 

When the four of them become trapped in an elevator escape room, things start to go horribly wrong. They have to put aside their fierce office rivalries and work together to solve the clues that will release them. But in the confines of the elevator the dark secrets of their team are laid bare. They are made to answer for profiting from a workplace where deception, intimidation and sexual harassment thrive.

 

Tempers fray and the escape room’s clues turn more and more ominous, leaving the four of them dangling on the precipice of disaster. If they want to survive, they’ll have to solve one final puzzle: which one of them is a killer?

 

‘Fantastic – one of my favorite books of the year.’ Lee Child

 

 

My View:

With a terrific opening hook – the prologue reveals gun shots and a river of blood as the elevator opens its doors – now to find out how/who did it and why because this is a book where the why is so very important and the who will surprise you.

 

Megan Goldin excels once again with her second novel, The Escape Room, a psychological mystery told in alternating chapters; the elevator with the unravelling psyches of those who are trapped, and the protagonist, Sara Hall’s story. An engaging and disturbing read.

 

**And look what popped up in my news feed today in https://www.perthnow.com.au 

The best tricks for surviving in a falling elevator:

 

CUSHION THE IMPACT

If you’re travelling with luggage (or anything big and bulky) the best thing to do is lay or stand on top of it.

Whether it’s a suitcase, handbag or briefcase, make sure you get on top of it to cushion the blow.

That’s because it’s possible that the items you’re on top of can break the force of impact and act like a crumple zone in a car.

 

LAY FLAT ON FLOOR

The best way to survive a falling lift is to lie flat on the elevator floor with your arms and legs spread out in a starfish shape.

This means you distribute the force of impact across your entire body and there is less chance of serious injury to one area.

You need to use the part of your body with the most fat on to cushion the blow, and try to protect your head and neck.

However, experts warn that it’s important to be aware of any shrapnel or debris which may come loose and hit you as you land.

Don’t panic — the fatality rate of using a lift is only 0.00000015 per cent or one in 650,000,000 rides, so you’d be really unlucky to find yourself in that position.

But, in the very unlikely event that you do, your best bet is to lay flat.

This story first appeared in The Sun

My Best Crime/Thriller/Mystery Reads of 2017

This is always such a difficult decision to make but the best thing to do is just start, start listing… here goes; in no particular order my best Crime Fiction/Thriller/Mystery reads of 2017 are:

Flight Path – Ian Andrew

The Burden of Lies – Richard Beasley

Wimmera – Mark Brandi

The Child Finder –  Renee Denfield

Her – Garry Disher

The Girls in Kellers Way – Megan Goldin

Too Easy – J M Green

The Golden Child – Wendy James

Broken Bones – Angela Marsons

I See You – Clare Macintosh

The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman (aka Everything You Want Me to Be) – Mindy Mejia

The Right Side – Spencer Quinn

Two Nights – Kathy Reichs

The Bird Watcher – William Shaw

The Good Daughter – Karin Slaughter

Fatal Crossing (Nora Sand #1) – Lone Theils

And the Fire Came Down – Emma Viskic

 

Did any of these make it on to your reading shelves last year? There were so many great reads last year the list could have gone on an on.