Review Wednesday – Unravelling Oliver by Liz Nugent

The opening lines of a book are so important; for me, even more so when the book is an audio book; it really needs to pull me in. There have been mixed reactions to Unravelling Oliver but even those who were disappointed by the story seem to agree on one thing, it has a great opening line.
I expected more of a reaction the first time I hit her …. She didn’t even seemed to be surprised. I was surprised. I hadn’t planned to do it.
Oliver has hit his wife. His is the opening viewpoint, as he discusses with cool detachment his own feelings about the event. There was an immediate and chilling insight, for me, as the reader, that there was something very wrong with this man.
The story proceeds through several viewpoints, some I enjoyed more than others but all were very distinct and if you are listening rather than reading, recognisable with excellent narrators throughout.
Oliver is telling his story, from his strange and unhappy childhood, which certainly has had a massive effect on his psyche, to the present day. Despite a singularly unusual upbringing Oliver is a successful man, that is, he is a successful author who writes children’s books under a pen name and has enjoyed fame and fortune which includes radio and television interviews. Oliver met his wife, Alice, through his writing, when the two began to work together, her as an illustrator of his stories, but Alice has always eschewed the fame part of their success.
Unravelling Oliver is a perfect title for this book. Once the reader has taken in the shocking situation at the beginning of the story we go back, hearing the viewpoints of friends and relatives as we unpick the layers of the story and find the truth. Why did Oliver show this sudden and tragic violence toward his wife? What caused this golden personality to fall so far?
I enjoyed Unravelling Oliver, the writing is interesting and assured and the often convoluted aspects of the story were all tied in nicely. Some viewpoints were more interesting than others, but each one moved the story further toward its conclusion. This book is not a thriller and, at times, I felt that the author wanted to redeem Oliver, to show his regret and his admittance (if only to himself) of his failings. That part didn’t work for so well for me.
As a study of a man, shaped by his own early circumstances, and rendered unable to care for anyone but himself to the extent that he will go to any lengths to better protect his chosen lifestyle, it is a book I will remember.

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Late Home… Again.

So… she strolls in at 11.30pm as if I she has no idea I would be waiting, toe-tapping, wondering where the hell was, worrying about her.

She treats this place like a hotel, wouldn’t dream of explaining where she has been or what she has been up to. No point in asking; as usual, she strolls into the kitchen and starts rummaging around, complaining that she’s hungry.

I tell her she should get home at a decent hour if she wants to eat. She says, no matter, she’ll go out again and pick something up. I say,

No way, not at this hour, my girl! It’s bedtime and you know it…

and that’s it… she flies off the handle, marches into the bathroom and starts throwing things around. My precious ornaments are smashed on the floor and does she care?
I tell her to stop that, she needs to respect my things. She expects a comfortable home life, would it be too much to ask for her to occasionally consider my feelings?
I say I am so angry I can hardly speak to her. I say we can talk about this again in the morning and I go to bed, furious.

I wake first, realise she’s not up yet and, me being me, I go check on her.
There she is, curled up in the handbasin, as if geckos wouldn’t melt in her mouth. I say,

Good morning, Cleo and she stretches.

All is forgiven.

Life with my cat.

Hungry!

Miss Adorable

The Damage. ☹️

A New Book Out at Last!


At last, I am very happy and proud to announce the release of the third novel in my Berriwood Series.

Dirty Work will be available on Amazon tomorrow!

Each book in the series is a standalone novel; the link being the Cornish village and its characters.

This is a psychological drama with murder at its heart. Don’t be fooled by the pretty village of Berriwood; dark things can happen!

 

 

Here is a little bit about it:-

A shallow grave.

A body to find.

But no one is looking…

Caroline Duke and her sister-in-law Marcie lead very different lives, but blood is thicker than water; they are close, they share things.
Husband troubles.
Marcie has everything she could possibly want, funded by Nathan’s high-powered city job. She pays for her privileged position in lonely days and nights, while her husband works away.
Caroline is struggling with two jobs and out-of-work Pete, who brings in no money at all. He is never home either. He spends his evenings in bars and clubs and the occasional ditch.
But everything in the Duke family is set to change. And for the better. Pete declares he has given up drinking for good and is getting a job. Nathan announces his intention to work less, spend more time with Marcie.
A birthday dinner should be the perfect occasion to bring the four together. But when is a party not a party? When someone ends up dead.

i would be very grateful for any likes or shares.

Review Wednesday – Last Breath by Robert Bryndza

Robert Bryndza continues with his winning formula in this latest in the Erika Foster series. Last Breath is a breathtaking read, fast and furious as the race is on to find a serial killer who disposes of his victims in the town’s dumpsters.

This is a difficult one to say much about without spoilers but what I can say without giving anything away is that I enjoyed knowing the identity of the killer before the end of the book, seeing the twisted logic and also the costly mistakes. For me, this is a very effective way of story telling when I can see both sides and ultimately observe as the world’s of the killer and police collide.

If anything I think this is my favourite of the series so far. Erika is becoming a little more human after her past tragedy and her relationships within the force continue to develop. I particularly like Moss who is an intelligent and loyal member of the team. Erika is in conflict with her superiors as usual, but then she wouldn’t be Erika without a little bit of her headstrong, the rules don’t apply to me, style.

Thoroughly enjoyable.

Review Wednesday – The Mangle Street Murders by M.R.C. Kasasian

Set in the London of 1882, March Middleton, whose father has died, arrives to live with Sidney Grice who is to be her guardian. Sidney Grice is the most famous and celebrated private investigator of the era but his success is equally matched by his gruff and unapproachable exterior.

March however is not cowed by this bully of a man. She formerly assisted her father who was an army surgeon at the front and has already had a tough education in matters of life and death. When a distraught woman consults Grice on the matter of her son-in-law, who has been arrested for murder, March jumps in to pay the poor woman’s fee for the investigation but insists she must help with the case. So begins the hunt for a killer.

I did enjoy the mystery in the book which was quite convoluted toward the end, but for me, there were some reservations. Sidney Grice is clever, an astute investigator, but also an abominable man, rude and unfeeling. There were some funny moments, he is a dab-hand at a witty riposte and a few of them made me laugh but all-in-all I found the detective to be too unlikeable and his presence actually overshadowed the story. March is an enjoyable character but, I have to say, I was weary of Grice’s nastiness and peculiarities, even his love of tea, by the end of the book.

 

24 Days by Jacqui Murray

Today I am so pleased to feature Jacqui Murray on the blog hop for her new title in her explosive Rowe-Delamagente series 24 Days. This is the second book in the series and follows To Hunt a Sub where all the main characters are introduced. These are exciting, action packed stories with quirky characters and tech details that give the narrative a genuine feel without ever becoming  too overpowering.

Here is the blurb for 24 Days :-

 

An Unlikely team is America’s only chance! 

A former SEAL, a brilliant scientist, a love-besotted nerd, and a quirky AI have twenty-four days to stop a terrorist attack. The problems: They don’t know what it is, where it is, or who’s involved.

And my review:-

As I have only recently read To Hunt a Sub it was great to be able to dive back in and read the ongoing adventures of Kali, Zeke and the rest of the ‘crew’. This time two lethal nuclear subs are hijacked by terrorists and with the latest technology at their disposal are almost impossible to find.

As the days go by the involvement of Kali and Zeke’s old nemesis becomes clear and the stakes become ever higher.

I love stories that have a ‘countdown’ format to them, building the tension as the hours and days go by. And there is certainly no lack of tension in 24 Days. There is quite a bit of technical detail and naval terms that may be too much for some readers but, for me, they added to the feeling of authenticity. Jacqui Murray has a technical back ground that clearly shows through in this series but she also adds a generous cast of characters with all their expertise and failings building a human story as well as a taut thriller that rattles along at the kind of pace that entirely suits the story. I will look forward to more from Kali and Zeke and the increasingly adorable Otto in the future.

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, and the thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty- four Days. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for TeachHUB, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics.

Visit Jacqui at her website  https://worddreams.wordpress.com for all the latest background info and chat.

Review Wednesday – The Woodcutter by Reginald Hill

The Woodcutter is quite an epic story and not what I was expecting at all.

Wolf Hadda is raised in humble surroundings as a woodcutter’s son but he is destined for success and a visit to the ‘Big House’ on the Cumbrian estate where he lives is the catalyst for his new aspirations.

Wolf achieves everything he sets out for. He becomes a wealthy businessman, marries well and has a beautiful daughter. Then one dreadful morning everything comes to an end with a police raid. Wolf is accused of the most heinous of crimes; he is committed to jail and deserted by family and friends.

Then into the story come Alva, a pyschaitrist who is determined to help Wolf to face his wrongdoing and come to terms with it but his overriding reason to continue living is to find those responsible for his predicament and see that real justice is done.

Wolf is the most likeable of characters even though he can be ruthless when crossed. He has a wealth of down-to-earthiness that made me feel that if he was on your side he would never let you down. As in real life, other characters in the book are drawn to Wolf, despite his reputation, by what they find to be, a very genuine man,

This is a really great story, with a bit of everything thrown in and the treachery of those around him made me root for Wolf all the more.

I have to mention that I listened to this title on Audible and the narration by Jonathan Keeble was outstanding. I felt as if a whole cast of actors were involved in the performance.