Post Script: The Golden Child – Wendy James

Amazing!!!

golden-child

The Golden Child

Wendy James

HarperCollins Publishers Australia

ISBN: 9781460752371

 

Description:

Can bad children happen to good mothers? A totally absorbing novel, for readers of Liane Moriarty, Lionel Shriver and Christos Tsiolkas.

 

Blogger Lizzy’s life is buzzing, happy, normal. Two gorgeous children, a handsome husband, destiny under control. For her real-life alter-ego Beth, things are unravelling. Tensions are simmering with her husband, mother-in-law and even her own mother. Her teenage daughters, once the objects of her existence, have moved beyond her grasp and one of them has shown signs of, well, thoughtlessness…

Then a classmate of one daughter is callously bullied and the finger of blame is pointed at Beth’s clever, beautiful child. Shattered, shamed and frightened, two families must negotiate worlds of cruelty they are totally ill-equipped for.

This is a novel that grapples with modern-day spectres of selfies, selfishness and cyberbullying. It plays with our fears of parenting, social media and Queen Bees, and it asks the question: just how well do you know your child?

 

 

My View:

I had great difficulty reading this book. Let me explain; I love the cover, I love this author’s work, and liked the synopsis, I wanted to read this book.  I started reading, I put the book down. I felt so much apprehension, so much dread, so evocative is the writing I could not go on – it was the fear of what I knew was coming – something really, really bad.   I picked up the book again. I could not stop!

 

This book has probably the lowest level of violence in all the books I have read since I began reviewing, yet is it so powerful, the truth so malignant, so uncomfortable and confronting it will have you wondering if those are angina pains you are feeling, you are holding yourself so tense your muscles ache.

 

This narrative drives a nail into our psyche and scapes the scabs off all those hidden sores; the self-doubts about your parenting skills, guilt regarding paid work V being stay home mums, relationship guilt, do you love enough/do enough/could you try harder/do better/ be a better wife/mother and independent woman? Do you give enough attention to husband/child/ your other children? Do you play favourites?  Do you know your own children? How could I not know?  Is this my fault? It is my fault.

 

What a wonderful, confronting, pulse raising read!

 

 

 

Review: Poisonous – Allison Brennan

Poisonous

Poisonous

Allison Brennan

St. Martin’s Press

Minotaur Books

ISBN: 9781250066848

 

Description:

Romantic suspense bestseller Allison Brennan returns with her next riveting thriller featuring investigative reporter Max Revere.

Teen-aged Internet bully Ivy Lake fell off a cliff and few people cared … except her mentally-challenged eighteen-year-old step-brother, Tommy. He loved her in spite of her cruelty. He’s distraught and doesn’t understand why his blended family is falling apart. After a year, the police still have no answers: Ivy could have jumped, could have been pushed, or it could have been an accident. With too many suspects and not enough evidence, the investigation has grown cold.

 

Tommy thinks that if someone can figure out what happened to his step-sister, everything will go back to normal, so he writes to investigative reporter Maxine Revere. This isn’t the type of case Max normally takes on, but the heartbreak and simple honesty in Tommy’s letter pulls her in. She travels to Corte Madera, California, with her assistant David Kane and is at first pleased that the police are cooperative. But the more Max learns about Tommy and his dysfunctional family, the more she thinks she’s taken on an impossible task: this may be the one case she can’t solve.

 

If Ivy was murdered, it was exceptionally well-planned and that kind of killer could be hiding in plain sight … planning the next act of violence. Max believes the truth is always better than lies, that the truth is the only thing that matters to gain justice for victims and their families. But for the first time, she wonders if this time, the truth will kill.

 

My View:

This is the 3rd book in the Maxine Revere series, I have read the first and somehow managed to skip the second one and now have read this, the third; despite missing the middle book I had no trouble keeping up with the characters and the sub plot – involving  the characters personal struggles, etc.  Though I must say it sounds like there was a lot of action in the second book and I really want to catch up and read this at some point.

 

This episode tackles the very real and present issue of bullying, specifically online bullying.  The narrative is intriguing, engaging and I would say that the scales are weighted more on mystery than on romance in this episode. Delving into the personal lives of the victims and their circle of friends and relatives triggers some very introspective reflections by Max on her own life.  Romantic suspense or contemporary mystery with emotional awareness and intelligence ? You be the judge.

 

 

Post Script: Bitter Fruits – Alice Clark-Platts

Cover - Bitter Fruits

Bitter Fruits

Alice Clark-Platts

Penguin

Michael Joseph

ISBN: 978071818152

 

 

Description:

Detective Inspector Erica Martin’s first case in the university city of Durham is Emily Brabents, a first-year student, who is found dead in the river.

 

DI Martin visits Joyce College, a cradle for the country’s future elite, and finds a close-knit community full of secrets, jealousy and obsession.

 

Her search reveals a vicious online trolling culture but could Emily, from the privileged and popular crowd, have been a victim? Should the sudden confession to the murder by the student president be believed?

 

And just who is the mysterious Daniel Shepherd whose name keeps appearing in the investigation…?

 

 

My View:

A brilliant debut novel considered and intelligent this book discusses the murder of a young woman and explores the psychology of those involved and follows the trail that lead to her death. Tightly woven into the fabric of this multi faced narrative are the some very relevant contemporary social issues; identity, feminism, online bullying, abuse of trust and power and sexism.

 

This narrative steers a clear path to discovery; this is not a book that is character lead, although there are several interesting characters here and I hope to see more of DI Martin in the future; this is an expose of evilness, obsession, narcissism and control and demonstrates just how easily the inexperienced can be manipulated- in persona and online. The influence of social media on the “look at me” generation is revealing and disturbing.

 

The dual narration works particularly well and slowly you are drawn into the campus social world and the lives of the main characters. As your involvement deepens the pace picks up and a psychological war zone is entered – a battle between good and evil – between DI Martina and the villain of the peace.

 

The twist in the conclusion, when revealed, is totally unexpected and pacts an enormous punch! A great read.