It’s been almost eighteen months since I first wrote a post entitled ‘Saying Hello’ introducing myself as the author of one novel and four children’s chapter books.
Since then, nothing, except the quiet publication of a second novel, but it has been a hell of an eighteen months.
I hesitated to write this. The easier option would be to brush aside my silence and open up this blog with a review or one of the many great writing articles I have saved from other bloggers since becoming involved in the writing world. Continue reading
Sheesh! Where to start here with this bit-of-everything book? This is my first reading of a Stuart MacBride book, a stand alone that was different and entertaining.
it starts with the discovery of a mummy on a refuse dump. The first assumption is that it has been stolen by pranksters from some local museum. DC Callum MacGregor is given the task of finding out where it came from and returning it safely home. This is not exactly riveting police work but nothing more than he expects after disciplinary proceedings against him.
When more mummies turn up and their origin is discovered to be more sinister (and recent) the real chase is on to find a modern-day serial killer.
This is a real twisty-turny story where so many characters are not what they seem. Amidst the investigation Callum must deal with his own tragic past, lost family members, his present relationship and the disdain of fellow workers and all the time the bodies are piling up.
What made this book really stand out for me though was the gallows humour thrown in amongst some truly gruesome details.
This is a larger-than-life police investigation that was a lot of fun to read and not to be taken too seriously, at least by me!
*Many thanks go to HarperCollins UK, Netgalley and the author for an Advanced Copy of this title *
To Hunt a Sub gets off to a great start with the disabling of a nuclear submarine. The vessel is lost to the authorities who control its movements and the consequences for the crew are dire. Being able to locate and control the American fleet of subs would be a devastating terrorist weapon and this is what one group are attempting.
It’s been a while since I have read a book in this genre but I have read enough to know the format and was expecting a lone deniable agent out there tracking down the terrorists or a team from special ops. However To Hunt a Sub takes a different and surprising slant on this scenario into the world of academia.
Kali Delemagente (you do have to get your tongue around some unusual names in this book) is a research student who has developed an amazing programme to track the progress of early man out of Africa. I won’t pretend to understand all the tech science behind this story but it felt well researched and feasible, if not actually possible. When the true power of her research becomes evident to those who would use it for nefarious purposes Kali and her loved ones are suddenly in danger.
There are plenty of good supporting characters, good and bad and as the action hots up each must decide who to trust
This is a thoroughly enjoyable thriller, a great adventure and, a bonus for me, the first in a series.( I often seem to come into them half way through)
The next book in the series, 24 Hours, has just been published and I am looking forward to reading more about Kali and the adorable Zeke Rowe.
I was drawn to this fictional account based around the last months in the life of Agnes Magnusdottir, the last woman to be executed in Iceland.
Recently there seem to have been a number of excellent books whose narrative is set in snowy wastes and that can add great atmosphere to the story. Burial Rites is no exception.
After being convicted and sentenced for her part in the murder of two men, the authorities send Agnes to a remote farm to await her fate. The year is 1829. The family are horrified by this enforced proximity to a convicted murderer and, at first, avoid contact with Agnes as much as possible. But when the summer months give way to the harsh Icelandic winter sheer survival compels all members of the household to work together and the farmer’s wife and daughters, along with Tóti, a young priest charged with the task of ministering to Agnes during her final days, begin to see that the story of Agnes is not as straightforward as it first may have seemed.
The ending is, of course, already known. It is shocking as is some of the background detail, like the sourcing of the axe and who should pay for the execution.
I have to say that, for me, the beautiful writing failed to bring me closer to Agnes and though I felt a deep sorrow for her she remained a shadowy figure. In contrast that bleak, Icelandic countryside was ever present. Being turned out of an isolated farmstead was nothing short of a death sentence in itself. There was literally nowhere to go, no one to turn to and only the bitter landscape for company. No wonder, in such circumstances, women found themselves bound to their home, no matter what the conditions.
Burial Rites is a good story set around true events and a memorial to Agnes whose true part in the murders is not known. I listened to the audio book and mention must be made of the narrator Morven Christie who did an absolutely outstanding job of switching between English and Icelandic pronunciation. In less capable hands the audiobook would not have had the haunting impact that it did.
This is the first book in the series about Scottish policeman DCI Jim Daley and is a great start. I read several reviews prior to purchasing the book that refer to the way the Scottish accents are written phonetically and that it made the story a little more difficult to get into. I listened to the book on Audible and can highly recommend the excellent narrator who brought the characters to life for me.
As for the story, Jim Daley is sent away to the remote Scottish town (fictional) of Kinloch where a body has been found in the water. At first it seems that the case will be straightforward and Jim’s biggest headache is the grumpy local police chief. That’s not his only problem though, simmering in the background is his shaky relationship with his wayward wife who, in the midst of everything decides to pay Jim a visit at Kinloch and whilst trying to deal with this development the case suddenly becomes more complex and nasty.
I was lulled at first by the narrator’s dulcet tones and the descriptions of Scottish life into a kind of cosy mystery feel where the murderer would be the last person anyone expected; the vicar or the librarian but actually this turned out to be quite a red herring in itself. The story becomes very dark with more murder, drugs and smuggling at its heart and though not peppered with violence when it does come it is quite graphic and shocking.
This was a good introduction to Jim Daley, his personal life and I really loved the ending!
This gorgeous new book by Julia Donaldson is sure to delight little children, perfect to cuddle up with!
Rabbit is on his way home one day when he hears an alarming voice coming from his burrow,
‘I’m the Giant Jumperee and I’m as scary as can be!’
Rabbit is understandably reticent to go into the burrow and cries for help. Along comes Cat who is sure she won’t be scared… she goes to the burrow and…
So it goes on, Bear and Elephant also being frightened off by the terrible voice. But then Mummy Frog comes along and all is revealed.
This is a familiar and winning format with the repetition that little ones love so much. A lovely story and most beautifully and finely illustrated by Helen Oxenbury.
*Many thanks to Penguin Random House UK Children’s, Netgalley and the author and illustrator for an advance copy of this book*