Enter the Author as Detective

The Sentence is Death
Detective Daniel Hawthorne 2
Anthony Horowitz
crime fiction, thriller, suspense,
Century
November 29, 2018
400

This is the first of Anthony Horowitz’s novels about detectives that I’ve read. And I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The concept of putting the real author into imaginary scenes, some of which are based on semi-fact, and including autobiographical details was fascinating. And made the whole story so much more believable.

I found it however, to be slightly confusing in that it was set in 2015 but had just come out in 2018, but understood that writing about real events that happened to the author were better if viewed in the past rather than as his current life.

I am even tempted to go and see if this road and house – Heron’s Wake – do exist and look like they are described in the story. And it would be nice to find out if the production of the TV show really did have problems in London with filming, but there are limits to just how much I will do to verify authenticity. And I have been caving in the past so the descriptions of the pot holing system were very realistic for me. Confession time though. It made my fear of confined places very much worse – especially the crawling on your stomach in water aspects!

I liked the style of writing. At first read it is prosaic yet the characters, including his own as portrayed, come through clearly. the descriptions are spare but clear and sufficient and fluent.

The only criticism I have is the constant mention of the children’s series of books. OK Anthony. We know you are perhaps better known to a certain set of readers for the Alex Rider books, and perhaps you want others to know about them, but… mention once or twice but no more, please!

I did particularly like this though:

[a] good definition of creative writing is to unlock doors and take the reader through to the other side.

 

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Is Gambling a Vice?

Lord of Vice: Regency Romance Novel Book Cover Lord of Vice: Regency Romance Novel
Rogues to Riches Book 6
Erica Ridley
history, literary fiction, romance, Regency
31 Aug 2018
Kindle

Appearances can be deceiving…

Vice merchant Maxwell Gideon is wickedly handsome, sinfully arrogant, and devilishly ruthless. Rumor has it, his gaming hell has the power to steal souls and grant miracles. Truth is, Max only owns half of The Cloven Hoof. He’d buy out his silent partner if he knew the man’s identity. But it’s hard to focus on business matters when a fallen angel tumbles right into one’s lap…

Miss Bryony Grenville has a well-earned reputation as an unrepentant hoyden. But even the gossipiest of the pinch-faced matrons ruling High Society could never imagine the daughter of a baron secretly financing the ton’s most infamous gambling parlor. Its maddening, sexy proprietor doesn’t suspect a thing… and two can play at temptation!

In the Rogues to Riches historical romance series by USA Today and New York Times bestselling author Erica Ridley, Cinderella stories aren’t just for princesses… Sigh-worthy Regency rogues sweep strong-willed young ladies into whirlwind romance with rollicking adventure.

Well of course Gambling is a Vice and people have been known to lose a fortune and their whole estates at the turn of a card. Hence the proprietor of a Gambling Den in the Regency period might be know as the Lord  of Vice.

But perhaps that isn’t all he is. Perhaps he is egalitarian as to who he admits – to lose money – everyone welcome as long as you can pay.

Erica has chosen a topic here for this latest in her ‘naughty’ Lords series which doesn’t sit well with me. And her heroine helps her ‘Lord’ with her mathematical skills – for which we have to laud her – to work out how to make the most profit from the games of chance. Or that is, how to get people to lose the most cash…

But we do like Max – we have met him before in other books in this series, as he does have another side, which is softer and does help those who have fallen on hard times – and not by gambling!

So Bryony, the final sibling meets her match and also the tenant of her property which gives her a goodly amount of profit – which goes back into her sister’s school. Bad turned into good?

What I like most about Erica Ridley’s books is that she is true to the times. She writes with the ‘correct’ Regency novel phrasing – as invented by Georgette Heyer and attempts to echo the correct speech mannerisms using some phrases and words which were in common use then, but no longer. She accurately reflects some of societal issues and events – as far as is possible whilst writing a modern novel.

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How do you see the world?

The Rules of Seeing Book Cover The Rules of Seeing
Joe Heap
psychology
HarperCollins
April 2019

Nova is 32 years old and she is about to see the world for the very first time.

Jillian Safinova, Nova to her friends, can do many things. She can speak five languages. She can always find a silver lining. And she can even tell when someone is lying just from the sound of their voice.

But there’s one thing Nova can’t do. She can’t see.

When her brother convinces her to have an operation that will restore her sight, Nova wakes up to a world she no longer understands. Until she meets Kate.

As Kate comes into focus, her past threatens to throw them into a different kind of darkness. Can they each learn to see the world in a different … and open their eyes to the lives they could have been living all along?

I had an interesting conversation with someone at the weekend who has a rare condition whereby he cannot visualise. When he shuts his eyes, he can’t bring up a picture of a tree or a colour, or anything, his mind is black.

Thinking back over reading this book I can ‘see’ that life is difficult for him, and imagine if you had this condition, AND, were blind from birth?

I learnt so many things from this story. And found it very difficult to write a review. I learnt about sight and what it must be like to lose your sight after birth and to be blind from birth. [Macular Degeneration must be really hard.] And yet, is it harder to learn to see after being blind? There are so many complexities of sight and vision.

This book also has a love story. A love of two people coming together at a difficult time for both of them, of how they survive together and their experiences.

This is a book that engages the reader on many levels – the critical mind that thinks about sight and vision and dimensions; the literary mind that reads and understands and celebrates the writing style; and the emotional mind that taps into the characters and their emotions and experiences as expressed by the author.

I really recommend this story and author.

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Obsession with perfection

Perfect Remains Book Cover Perfect Remains
DI Callanach #1
Helen Fields
Detective and mystery stories
Avon Books
2017
408

'Must read!' Closer 'I love, love, LOVE Perfect Remains!' Reader review 'A superb debut!' Reader review On a remote Highland mountain, the body of Elaine Buxton is burning. All that will be left to identify the respected lawyer are her teeth and a fragment of clothing. In the concealed back room of a house in Edinburgh, the real Elaine Buxton screams into the darkness... Detective Inspector Luc Callanach has barely set foot in his new office when Elaine's missing persons case is escalated to a murder investigation. Having left behind a promising career at Interpol, he's eager to prove himself to his new team. But Edinburgh, he discovers, is a long way from Lyon, and Elaine's killer has covered his tracks with meticulous care. It's not long before another successful woman is abducted from her doorstep, and Callanach finds himself in a race against the clock. Or so he believes ... The real fate of the women will prove more twisted than he could have ever imagined. Fans of Angela Marson, Mark Billingham and M. J. Aldridge will be gripped by this chilling journey into the mind of a troubled killer.

A very interesting case is told here in this gripping novel as the culprit gradually degenerates psychologically.
Helen Fields writes a nicely paced story. Compact and concise and one that you read almost compulsively (as yet more women die).

This is book 1 in this series about the half-French detective Luc and his move to Scotland. Slowly Luc wins over his new staff as they realise that he is more than his sexy accent and model looks.
Shame about the coffee though, it appears that in police stations no-one instals a Nespresso!

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Where is she? Who is she?

My Name is Anna Book Cover My Name is Anna
Lizzy Barber
mystery, thriller, literary fiction
Century
(10 Jan. 2019)

When your whole life is a lie, can you trust anyone? Even yourself?

ANNA has always been taught by her mother that cleanliness and purity are the path to God; that her heart's desire to visit Astroland, Florida’s biggest theme park, is ungodly.

But it’s her eighteenth birthday, and Anna’s feeling rebellious. But on arrival at Astroland, everything feels familiar. Almost like she’s been there before…

ROSIE has grown up in the shadow of a missing sister she barely remembers. Her parents’ relationship has been fractured by fifteen years of searching for their daughter – abducted at Astroland as an infant.

Now Rosie is determined to uncover the truth, no matter how painful it is, before it tears what’s left of her family apart…

Beautifully told from the different teenage girls’ perspectives.

The narrative to this story is told in two voices – Anna and Rosie.
Anna lives with her mother in small town Florida. Her mother is a cleanliness fanatic – cleanliness of the heart, mind and body, also very frugal and constantly praying.
Rosie lives in the UK and lost her elder sister in a Florida amusement park when she was a baby. Her sister was stolen in some manner and may have been killed but no-one knows the real circumstances behind her abduction.
The 15th anniversary of the abduction rolls around and Rosie finds herself increasingly frustrated at not knowing the truth, whilst Anna wants to find her father and to discover who is sending her messages.
Slowly the story explores the lives of these two girls, holding the reader in suspense. The power of cults is also explored through the story.

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