Post Script: The Portrait of Molly Dean – Katherine Kovacic

The Portrait of Molly Dea

The Portrait of Molly Dean

Katherine Kovacic

Echo Publishing

ISBN: 9781760409784

 

Description:

An unsolved murder comes to light after almost seventy years…

 

In 1999, art dealer Alex Clayton stumbles across a lost portrait of Molly Dean, an artist’s muse brutally slain in Melbourne in 1930. Alex buys the painting and sets out to uncover more details, but finds there are strange inconsistencies: Molly’s mother seemed unconcerned by her daughter’s violent death, the main suspect was never brought to trial despite compelling evidence, and vital records are missing. Alex enlists the help of her close friend, art conservator John Porter, and together they sift through the clues and deceptions that swirl around the last days of Molly Dean.

 

 

My View:

What an outstanding read! In this book you will EXPERIENCE history, art, mystery, murder…

When I picked up this book I was enthralled by the cover art and then I started reading! I hadn’t read but a page or two and I KNEW this book was going to feature on my “Best Reads 2018”. Fantastic writing, locations that leap of the page.  An era that is succinctly captured; the socio economic environment, the mores, the fashion, the corruption, and the abuses of power. This novel is intriguing, you will devour the pages till the revealing end.  Plus I loved the characters.  And the dog. 🙂

 

Encore! More!!!!

 

 

Post Script- The Darkest Secret – Alex Marwood

The Darkest Secret

The Darkest Secret

Alex Marwood

Hachette Australia

Sphere

Little Brown Book Group

ISBN: 9780751550702

 

Description:

Taut, emotive and utterly compelling, an unputdownable ‘ripped from headlines’ read from Alex Marwood, author of the huge word-of-mouth bestseller, The Wicked Girls.

 

When three-year-old identical twin Coco goes missing during a family celebration, there is a media frenzy. Her parents are rich and influential, as are the friends they were with at their holiday home by the sea.

 

But what really happened to Coco during her father’s 50th birthday weekend?

 

Set across two weekends – the first when Coco goes missing and the second, at the funeral of Coco’s father, where at last, the darkest of secrets will be revealed…

 

 

My View:

For me the scene setting and character development took just a little too long. However it did set the scene extraordinarily well – a life of pretentious self-absorption, a “look at me” “look at me” generation (and I am not talking gen Y!) full of unlikeable characters and over the top behaviours. There was not a lot to like here and a lot to loathe.

 

Suddenly all that changed! I was engrossed in the narrative – the cold and calculating behaviours, the self-absorption, the lies and the turmoil, the obvious effect that this self-indulgent lifestyle had on the younger members of this cast and the shocking tug at your heart strings disappearance of a child.

Later Camila/Mila, with the maturity/responsibilities that a death of a parent forces upon her somehow morphs into a somewhat more likeable character, Ruby her half-sister is unblemished by her birth rites, other than that the vast cast of characters are totally unlikable and unfortunately somewhat realistic. Somehow you find yourself absorbed in this read about ugly people with very ugly behaviours and the mystery regarding the disappearance of baby Coco.

 

The author leaves subtle clues (or maybe my intuition is just spot on) but I guessed the demise of baby Coco and the orchestrator and the reasoning behind the act and where we could find Coco. (No spoilers here). But the final chapter left me gutted! We are not given a neat and tidy happy ending or cause for too much optimism – and in the final chapter we are dumbstruck by yet another lie that leaves the reader gasping!

 

Powerful, dark yet utterly compelling.

 

 

 

**Robert Gott – you will find Charlie Clutterbuck an interesting character J

Post Script: Badlands – CJ Box

Cover Badlands

Badlands

CJ Box

Harper Collins Publishers Australia

Head of Zeus

ISBN: 9781781852859

 

Description:

Can one woman tame the last frontier?

Grimstad, North Dakota. A place people used to be from – but were never headed to – has struck oil. As pipelines snake across the prairie, oil flows out and men and money flow in. And with them, comes crime. North Dakota’s new oil capital has a serious law and order problem and newly qualified detective Cassie Dewell has just been appointed its deputy sheriff.

Twelve-year-old Kyle Westergaard is one of Grimstad’s paperboys. Kyle has been written off as the ‘slow’ kid, but he has dreams deeper than anyone can imagine – he wants to get out of town, take care of his alcoholic mother, and give them a better life. While delivering newspapers, he witnesses a car accident and now has money and a lot of white powder in his possession.

 

With the temperature dropping to 30 degress below and a gang war heating up, Cassie fears she might be in over her head. The key to it all will come in the most unlikely form: an undersized boy on a bike who keeps showing up where he doesn’t belong.

 

My View:

Let me start by stating I am a huge CJ Box fan – his Joe Pickett series is fantastic and I have read several of his standalones and one frightfully disturbing book I found so intense I could not read more than the first few chapters, (In Three Weeks to Say Goodbye, so powerful was the presence of bullying in this book I could not read it – my loss), so to say I like CJ Box’s work is an understatement.

 

What do I love about his writing? Everything – his writing flows across the page, his command of realistic dialogue and his ability to paint the setting and locations of his books is amazing. The characters become old friends – as you read on you adopt the main characters as your own friends – people you know, trust and admire. The narrative – always interesting; contemporary environmental issues take the main stage with intrigue and murder/mystery.

 

And Badlands has all those great characteristics and then some; an impressive, strong, female protagonist, situations that are diabolical with the most evil of villains who treat people as if mere carcasses, to be chopped and mutilated at their whim and the added factor of suspected corruption in the police force makes the tension palpable. The young boy Kyle adds an innocence and vulnerability to the mix.

 

Another great read from CJ Box!

 

 

 

Post Script: Speaking In Bones – Kathy Reichs

I surrender! I admit I was wrong!

Cover Speaking in Bones

Speaking in Bones

Temperance Brennan #18

Kathy Reichs

Random House UK, Cornerstone

Cornerstone Digital

ISBN: 9781448184996

 

Description:

The compelling new Dr Temperance Brennan novel from the world-class forensic anthropologist and Number 1 bestselling author Kathy Reichs.

When forensic anthropologist Dr Tempe Brennan is approached by amateur detective Hazel ‘Lucky’ Strike, at first she is inclined to dismiss the woman’s claims that she’s matched a previously unidentified set of remains with a name.

But as the words of a terrified young woman echo round her office from an audio recorder found near where the bones were discovered, something about the story won’t let Tempe go.

As Tempe investigates further she finds herself involved in a case more complicated and horrifying than she could ever have imagined.

 

 

My View:

The last book I read by Kathy Reichs – Bones Never Lie falsely cocooned me in comfortable blanket where I thought this wonderful series had all but wrapped up; plenty of loose ends tied off, happy resolutions on the horizon. I thought number seventeen in the series was just about the final- how wrong could I be! Kathy Reichs you must have read my review of Bones Never Lie with a great big smile on your face. Well done! You had me fooled.

This book, the eighteenth in the series is compelling, intense and full of surprises. The main story line is combustive reading – the discovery of body parts distributed over several locations, the whiff of exorcism and the hint of the involvement of a hard core religious cult like community, missing persons…so much mystery enticing Tempe to make impulsive decisions makes for great drama and captivating reading.

Then we have the back stories regarding Tempe’s family and personal relationships; there is just so much happening here I think this series will be continuing for a long time. Dare I put up my hand and again declare this is the best book in the Temperance Brennan series? Maybe I’ll just add the caveat – best in this series to date. 🙂

 

 

 

Post Script: The Sacrificial Man – Ruth Dugdall

A deeply disturbing psychological thriller, you will not be disappointed.

The Sacrificial Man

Ruth Dugdall

Legend Press

ISBN: 9781908248152

 

Description:

Second novel from the award-winning psychological crime author of The Woman Before Me. 

Blurb

What I want to say is that suicide is my choice. No-one else is to blame. Man seeks beautiful woman for the journey of a lifetime: Will you help me to die?’

When Probation Officer Cate Austin is given her new assignment, she faces the highest-profile case of her career. Alice Mariani is charged with assisted suicide and Cate must recommend a sentence. Alice insists her story is one of misinterpreted love, forcing those around her to analyse their own lives. Who is to decide what is normal and when does loyalty turn to obsession?

Investigating the loophole that lies between murder and euthanasia, Cate must now meet the woman who agreed to comply with her lover’s final request. Shocking revelations expose bitter truths that can no longer be ignored.

 

 

My View:

This is an amazing narrative that will both compel and repulsive you simultaneously;  this is a great piece of fiction that will reverberate in the dark places in your mind. Stunning!

Be warned, this book is not for everyone. The themes in this novel are confronting, uncomfortable, black and ghoulish and ultimately will leave you feeling very sad. In this novel there are no heroes, all the cast are victims to some degree in this complex plot. The writing is superb, the plot intricate and surprising. I have never come across a book quite like this and I know I will not be forgetting this journey for quite awhile.