Books/book review/fiction/crime fiction
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Waiting for your sister

The Second Sister Book Cover The Second Sister
Claire Kendal
Adult, Psychological Thriller, Romance
Harper
April 20, 2017
400

The chilling new psychological thriller by Claire Kendal, author of the bestselling novel, THE BOOK OF YOU, which was selected for Richard and Judy in 2015. Perfect for fans of THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN and DISCLAIMER. It is ten years since Ella's sister Miranda disappeared without trace, leaving her young baby behind. Chilling new evidence links Miranda to the horrifying Jason Thorne, now in prison for murdering several women. Is it possible that Miranda knew him? At thirty, Miranda's age when she vanished, Ella looks uncannily like the sister she idolized. What holds Ella together is her love for her sister's child and her work as a self-defence expert helping victims. Haunted by the possibility that Thorne took Miranda, and driven by her nephew's longing to know about his mother, Ella will do whatever it takes to uncover the truth - no matter how dangerous...

Twins in thought but not deed, and not age either but in looks, one sister vanishes and the other searches for her.

As she searches she uncovers some rather sinister people and has some rather chilling encounters.

I started this book and read it with interest but not compulsion until the prison scenes. These were detailed with such a chilling description of the prisoner that I really needed to know what he knew and what he had done.

If that air of suspense had been drawn throughout the book I would have ranked it higher but some of the writing was a little pedestrian and over detailed. Personally, I would have edited out half of the front art of the book and extended the last part. But other readers may disagree.

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When the car went into the river – accident or deliberate?

The Day of the Accident Book Cover The Day of the Accident
Nuala Ellwood
psychological, mystery, thriller, literary fiction
Penguin UK
2019-02
400

Sixty seconds after she wakes from a coma, Maggie's world is torn apart.

The police tell her that her daughter Elspeth is dead. That she drowned when the car Maggie had been driving plunged into the river. Maggie remembers nothing.

When Maggie begs to see her husband Sean, the police tell her that he has disappeared. He was last seen on the day of her daughter's funeral.

What really happened that day at the river?
Where is Maggie's husband?
And why can't she shake the suspicion that somewhere, somehow, her daughter is still alive?

This is a story that draws you into its web of reality and unreality subtly but inexorably, until you really do need to know the truth of their lives.

So there was this car accident and a little girl was drowned. Her mother, Maggie, who wasn’t in the car at the time, tried to save her and nearly drowned herself.

As the story starts, the mother wakes up in hospital from a coma, in ICU, and very confused. She has amnesia and doesn’t remember the accident. Her life has changed dramatically whilst she has lain there very ill, in more ways than just the death of her child.

And then long buried secrets begin to spill out of Maggie’s life.

Compelling story telling. I didn’t want to go to sleep – just keep on reading….

Great twisty ending – very unexpected.

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When parents can’t agree

More Than Us Book Cover More Than Us
Dawn Barker
families, parents, autism
Canelo
21st May 2018
Kindle

When parents disagree on how to care for their child, is it justifiable to take extreme measures?

Emily and Paul have a glorious home, money in the bank and two beautiful children. Since leaving Scotland for Paul to play football for an Australian team they have been blessed. But sadness lies behind the picture-perfect family - sixteen-year-old Cameron has battled with health troubles his entire life. There's no name for what he has, but his disruptive behaviour, OCD and difficulty in social situations is a constant source of worry.

When Paul's career comes to a shuddering halt, he descends into a spiral of addiction, gambling away the family's future. By the time he seeks help, it's his new boss Damien who recommends and pays for a rehab facility.

While Paul is away, Emily has to make a tough decision about their son. She keeps it from Paul knowing he'll disapprove. And when a terrible accident reveals the truth, Paul takes his son and goes on the run, leaving Emily to care for fourteen-year-old Tilly, who unbeknown to her parents is fighting battles of her own.

Can the family join together for the sake of their loved ones, or will their troubles tear them apart?

When you first start reading this book, you are convinced that Cameron is autistic and has OCD. But as you read on, you realise that this is too simplistic – and anyway, the experts have said he isn’t on the spectrum.

Now the spectrum is very wide indeed as I know from my own family and so it is difficult to be so definitive. It is clear Cameron has some social difficulties and has some of the repetitive behaviours one might expect, but on the other hand, the meds don’t work and his behaviour remains challenging. His father is convinced that what he really needs is time away from his, in his view, overfussy mother, and no medicines.

So the parents disagree as to what is the best way to help their son, which is not unusual, and in this novel leads to extreme behaviour.

I thought the story rang true until we got to the last section about the cult. It  just seemed to be too easy to join, especially as most of the members were rich. This seems to have been a twist added in for the sake of not having a straightforward storyline.

If you want to know how realistic the behaviour of Cameron is, then look back at the blog published on this site, on 23rd June by the book’s author, who is a practicing child psychiatrist.

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When you get lost

The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde Book Cover The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde
Eve Chase
gothic, historical romance
Michael Joseph
2018-04
400

In the heatwave of 1959, four sisters arrive at Applecote Manor to relive their memories of hazy Cotswolds summers. They find their uncle and aunt still reeling from the disappearance of their only daughter, five years before. An undercurrent of dread runs through the house. Why did Audrey vanish? Who is keeping her fate secret? As the sisters are lured into the mystery of their missing cousin, the stifling summer takes a shocking, deadly turn. One which will leave blood on their hands, and put another girl in danger decades later . . .

A sad story of a family loss. and the on-going impact of just what happened five years before, and how the parents of Audrey coped.

I am not always a fan of literature set in the 1950s as it is some ways not far enough away to count as historical, but not near enough to be contemporary, yet this novel was so well written that it got over that reluctance. It described the Cotswolds well –  I have visited often and so am familiar with it, and even contemplated living in one of its villages, but far too expensive now!

I enjoyed the story and thought the style good. I am not sure though that I would read another novel set in this period.

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Who is to be believed? That’s what the trial is for….

No Further Questions Book Cover No Further Questions
Gillian McAllister
psychological, mystery, thriller, literary fiction
Michael Joseph
October 4, 2018
400

The police say she's guilty.

She insists she's innocent.

She's your sister.

You loved her.

You trusted her.

But they say she killed your child.

 

Who do you believe?

This is a heart-rending tale of a small baby dying and the subsequent trial when the post-mortem shows that she could have been murdered.

Two sisters are divided here as one was baby-sitting for the other, and it was in her care that the baby died, and thus she is on trial.

Would you believe that your sister deliberately killed your baby?

This book tells the struggle of the mother as she sits through the trial and the evidence mounts against her sister.

The trial felt very real to me.

The questioning of the witnesses and the way small things were built up into an overwhelming case of guilty.

A book where you need to keep on reading to find out what the verdict was and does she admit what really happened? Or do we never find out?

I thought it well written, with the complex science of the pathology explained simply enough for the reader to understand and the conclusions that thus could be drawn.

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