Drive carefully in France

Accident on the A35 Book Cover Accident on the A35
Graeme Macrae Burnet
Crime, Thriller & Mystery, Police procedurals
Contraband
2018-04
288

From the author of "His Bloody Project", shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2016. There does not appear to be anything remarkable about the fatal car crash on the A35. But one question dogs Inspector Georges Gorski: where has the victim, an outwardly austere lawyer, been on the night of his death? The troubled Gorski finds himself drawn into a mystery that takes him behind the respectable veneer of the sleepy French backwater of Saint-Louis. Graeme Macrae Burnet returns with a literary mystery that will beguile fans of "His Bloody Project" and "The Disappearance of Adele Bedeau". Darkly humorous, subtle and sophisticated, "The Accident on the A35" burrows deep into the psyches of its characters and explores the forgotten corners of small-town life.

This is my failing I am sure.  When I pick up a book by someone who has been given or has been shortlisted for one of the major prizes, I almost invariably don’t like it.

As with this one.

I thought it might be interesting to read a police procedural in France. just for a change. But it wasn’t. I did try – honest. But it made me yawn. I just couldn’t find the Inspector empathetic or even vaguely interesting.  No doubt too subtle and sophisticated for me. I didn’t want to waste my reading time on him. Sorry!

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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?

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Things that go bump on a tube line near you!

The Furthest Station Book Cover The Furthest Station
PC Grant - Novella
Ben Aaronovitch
Fiction, contemporary horror, fantasy, thriller
Gollancz
March 8, 2018
144

There's something going bump on the Metropolitan line and Sergeant Jaget Kumar knows exactly who to call. It's PC Peter Grant's speciality . . . Only it's more than going 'bump'. Traumatised travellers have been reporting strange encounters on their morning commute, with strangely dressed people trying to deliver an urgent message. Stranger still, despite calling the police themselves, within a few minutes the commuters have already forgotten the encounter - making the follow up interviews rather difficult. So with a little help from Abigail and Toby the ghost hunting dog, Peter and Jaget are heading out on a ghost hunting expedition. Because finding the ghost and deciphering their urgent message might just be a matter of life and death.

My husband and I look forward eagerly for each new book in this series, but were disappointed that this was only a novella.

It is good, don’t get me wrong – they can never be bad, but we both wanted it it to be longer – a full-sized book – and felt that it had the potential in the story for this.

It does make me think though, that I should be a little more aware when  I ride our on the Met line – which I often do – as who knows just ‘what’ is sitting next to me!

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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!

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Don’t run in the sun!

See Her Run Book Cover See Her Run
Aloa Snow #1
Peggy Townsend
Fiction, crime, female sleuth
Thomas & Mercer
2018-06
268

Running for her life could leave her breathless. A former reporter for the Los Angeles Times, Aloa Snow knows what it means to be down and out. Once highly respected, she's now blackballed, in debt, and dealing with the echoes of an eating disorder. Until she gets one more shot to prove that she has what it takes--with a story some would die for... After the body of a promising young athlete, Hayley Poole, is recovered in the Nevada desert, authorities rule it a suicide. But when Aloa discovers that the girl's boyfriend died in a similar accident only months before, her investigative instincts are on high alert. It turns out the girl was on the run from secrets that could kill. This case is murder for Aloa, and Hayley won't be the last one to suffer. Someone very powerful forced Hayley to run for her life. Now Aloa must do the same.

A story that draws you into a complex web of connections and proves conspiracy theorists are right! Some capitalists don’t care. Except for money.

The story also explores what character trait makes people undertake extreme sports whether it is walking, running or climbing. i  wish I knew the answer to that definitively as our son is determined to run the Marathon des Sables, one of the top ultra marathons in the world – across the desert in searing heat! Heb has already run the entire length of Hadrian’s Wall in one day… So I do get some of this desire to compete with yourself not just with others and to go faster and further than before. he seems such a normal person our son, until you mention marathons!

In this intriguing novel we meet a large number of the world’s misfits – of all types and varieties, and yet it is these very misfits, who because of their very belief in conspiracy theories, uncover a real one…

I am giving it a 5 for the story line, but the writing style was somewhat confusing at times and the story was perhaps over complicated? So 4 for the style. Although this is the start of a series i shall not follow up the remainder as Aloa didn’t ‘attract’ me enough.

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