A Very Close Familiy

The Roanoke Girls Book Cover The Roanoke Girls
Amy Engel
psychological, mystery, thriller, literary fiction
Hodder Paperbacks
September 21, 2017
288

A gripping, provocative thriller about the twisted secrets families keep, perfect for fans of Good Me Bad Me and The Girls. 'Deeply, darkly twisted. I loved it.' Sarah Hilary, SOMEONE ELSE'S SKIN 'Utterly addictive.' Lisa Hall, BETWEEN YOU AND ME 'Hauntingly beautiful... not for the faint-hearted.' THE BOOK BAG Beautiful. Rich. Mysterious. The Roanoke girls seem to have it all. But there's a dark truth about them which is never spoken. Every girl either runs away, or dies. Lane is one of the lucky ones. When she was fifteen, over one long, hot summer at her grandparents' estate in rural Kansas, she found out what it really means to be a Roanoke girl. Lane ran, far and fast. Until eleven years later, when her cousin Allegra goes missing - and Lane has no choice but to go back. She is a Roanoke girl. Is she strong enough to escape a second time?

I found this book very disturbing and compelling. Just how did Yates justify his behaviour? What was it about his background that meant that his love for his sister and then all the girls got so twisted?

How can I critique this book without giving away the whole story? Except to say that it was very well written. The story was told in such a way that you understood the characters of the girls as they were introduced and you also understood their behaviour, and yet you wondered about the Grandmother. All the way through, her behaviour seemed at odds to what she must have known about. And then there was Charlie and Sharon also living in that household. What did they know and why didn’t they say anything?

The ties that bind – once you know something and don’t tell, then these ties get stronger and bind more tightly, and that was what happened at Roanoke. And by the way, Kansas summers sound awful! 7 months of the year when the temperature is above 20 and at least 3 of those above 30 degrees! And then a very cold winter.

 

 

Share This:

Watching who? And Who is watching?

Watching You Book Cover Watching You
Lisa Jewell
psychological, mystery, thriller, literary fiction
Cornerstone Digital
(12 July 2018)

You’re back home after four years working abroad, new husband in tow.

You’re keen to find a place of your own. But for now you’re crashing in your big brother’s spare room.

That’s when you meet the man next door.

He’s the head teacher at the local school. Twice your age. Extraordinarily attractive. You find yourself watching him.

All the time.

But you never dreamed that your innocent crush might become a deadly obsession.

Or that someone is watching you.

 

I was going to save this book for my hospital night-time sleeplessness – coming soon – but I couldn’t resist it. One of my favourite authors.

And in my opinion, her best novel yet.

Everyone is watching everyone else, and with good cause it turns out. But not always for the reason you originally thought! The plot twists enough times for all your assumptions to be turned upside down more than once.

I did make one correct guess about who had opened the photos but not why, or what they thought they were seeing!

Well plotted, with plenty of potential endings in the style of Agatha Christie. And stylistically concise and unsentimental with clean prose.

Share This:

Where computers go next

The Fear Book Cover The Fear
Robert Harris
Artificial intelligence, suspense, thriller, psychological
Random House
2012
400

A chilling contemporary thriller from Robert Harris set in the competitive world of high finance. Dr Max Hoffman is a legend. A physicist once employed on the Large Hadron Collider, he now uses a revolutionary and highly secret system of computer algorithms to trade on the world's financial markets. None of his rivals is sure how he does it, but somehow Hoffman's hedge fund -- built around the standard measure of market volatility: the VIX or "Fear Index" -- generates astonishing returns for his investors. Late one night, in his house beside Lake Geneva, an intruder disturbs Hoffman and his wife while they are asleep. This terrifying moment is the start of Robert Harris's new novel -- a story just as compelling and timely as his most recent contemporary thriller, The Ghost. Over the next 48 hours, as the markets edge towards another great crash, Hoffman's world disintegrates. But who is trying to destroy him?

So a rather chilling tale of just what happens when AI begins to get ideas for itself. It we are trying really hard to program autonomous units that can choose and optimise routes for delivery, routes for shipping and so on; and of course for hedging your bets. And this is where this story comes in. A computer system is devised that uses AI to hedge financial bets – ie work the stock market in the margins.

Which is great. No longer do you have to have really bright people working numbers. Instead you create algorithms that do this work for you. And you make money. Loads of it. Loads and Loads of it because you bet on the margins – which you can do if you start with a lot of money to begin with.

And this book stretches these ideas out. Into what is not a new concept of idea but used in a different field of application. What happens when the robots start to think for themselves?

A good book, but somehow not as chilling as it might be. I knew the answer by mid-way through, maybe because the book is 2011?

Share This:

When a friend asks –

A Simple Favour Book Cover A Simple Favour
DARCEY. BELL
Literary fiction, Contemporary, psychological
Pan Macmillan
December 14, 2017
352

A Simple Favour is a twisting free-fall ride filled with betrayal, reversal, secrets and revelations, love and loyalty. Darcey Bell ratchets up the tension in a taut, unsettling, and completely absorbing thriller that holds you in its grip until the final page.It starts with a simple favour - an ordinary kindness mothers do for one another.When her best friend, Emily, asks Stephanie to pick up her son from school she happily says yes.Their children are classmates and best friends. And five-year-olds love being together - just like she and Emily. As a widow and stay-at-home blogger mum living in suburban Connecticut, Stephanie was lonely until she met Emily, a glamorous and successful PR executive.The trouble is that Emily doesn't come back. No matter what the police say, Stephanie knows that she would never leave her son. Terrified, she reaches out to her fellow mummy bloggers.And she also reaches out to Emily's husband - just to offer her support.What Stephanie hasn't shared are the secrets buried in a murky past.

The film adaptation of the book stars Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively as the seemingly mismatched pair of best friends.

A book that starts out like a ‘normal’ story of a mother and her best friend, and mommies in NY suburbs and then gradually becomes darker and more twisted as the truths of their lives begin to unfold.

And then, half-way through, a really big twist turns the story into something else entirely! Something you had not anticipated and it all goes into a spiral from there…

And at the end there is a cliff-hanger, that leaves you to make up your own mind about the ending.

I found this really enticing as a story as the main characters have such secrets that they have carefully hidden, for a variety of reasons, and their own real personalities are hidden too. I couldn’t wait to find out what they would do next. And how they would spin half-truths and blame others… All of them characters you really could not empathise with, for any reason at all…

Good solid writing if not great.

Share This:

And the girls who are last

Final Girls Book Cover Final Girls
Riley Sager
psychological, mystery, suspense, contemporary
Ebury Press
2018
342

TO SURVIVE A KILLER, YOU NEED A KILLER'S INSTINCT An unbelievably gripping psychological thriller to keep you awake at night full of twists you'll NEVER see coming. 'If you liked GONE GIRL, you'll like this' Stephen King Three girls. Three tragedies. One unthinkable secret. The media calls them the Final Girls - Quincy, Sam, Lisa - the infamous group that no one wants to be part of. The sole survivors of three separate killing sprees, they are linked by their shared trauma. But when Lisa dies in mysterious circumstances and Sam shows up unannounced on her doorstep, Quincy must admit that she doesn't really know anything about the other Final Girls. Can she trust them? Or can there only ever be one? All Quincy knows is one thing: she is next. An addictive thriller to keep you turning the pages late at night. Fans of In a Dark Dark Wood by Ruth Ware, The Girl Before by JP Delaney and Sweet Little Lies by Caz Frear will love Final Girls. ********** Why readers are loving thrilling psychological suspense novel FINAL GIRLS 'I was drawn into this intense story from the very first page until the tremendously gripping end - unputdownable and addictive' Goodreads Reviewer, 5 stars 'This is an atmospheric thriller I couldn't stop reading. A brilliant and gripping read' Goodreads Reviewer, 5 stars 'I devoured this one in two sittings. Could not put it down and the author dropped in some fantastic twists I never saw coming' Goodreads Reviewer, 5 stars

At first I thought this was chick lit (baking et al) and then I realised it was much darker than that. The story unfolds from the viewpoint of a girl left alive after the horrific slaughter of her friends at a holiday cabin in the woods, and how many years later she is trying to live a ‘normal’ life. A normal life facilitated by Xanax, wine and nightmares.

There are 3 Final Girls in this story who were supposed to be linked up as Survivors and each tries to live on in a different way  – and as the story unfolds tragedy begins to stalk each of them. And it is this part of the story that hooked me and made think deeply about their methods of living and how would I cope? What would I do, if I were them?

The suspense builds slowly but inevitably towards a conclusion that I never suspected and yet once it happens you realise that it was inevitable. And that people in these type of novels, are never who you think they are!

Share This: