Tag Archives: mystery

Review Wednesday – The Chalk Man by CJ Tudor

9B7B0633-09DC-4705-B56A-C8C7420E9633Twelve year old Eddie and his mates are like any other group of kids; friends but with a healthy dollop of rivalry and leg-pulling thrown in. A much anticipated visit to the fairground is a chance for the friends to go out together without parents in tow, but the night ends badly and has a life-changing effect on them and Eddie in particular. 

When one of the group receives a bucket of chalks for his birthday the kids begin to use what was at first regarded as a naff present to leave one another secret, coded messages. It’s a great game, but leads to a gruesome discovery in the woods and once again the children’s lives are touched by tragedy. 

The story runs on two timelines, 1986 when the fairground incident occurred and present day when Eddie is forty two years old. The ramifications of what happened in 1986 have never been forgotten and when chalk figures begin to appear the past is brought back in a rush of memories and events that must be confronted. 

There are a lot of twists in this book but, for me, rather than make it more of a page turner, that was its downfall. It’s a good book and an absolutely intriguing premise but in an effort to keep the reader guessing, the author, I think, introduced too many plot lines. The result, for me, was that it stretched my belief too far, particularly the very last twist which seemed to serve no purpose at all. 

Having said that, there were some very good moments; when Eddie goes to see Mr Halloran for the last time, the results of his actions are clear and chilling. 

I enjoyed The Chalk Man but, in this case, a slightly more simplified plot may have been more effective. 

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Review Wednesday – The Northwater by Ian McGuire

18A9F5FD-28DF-45AF-B057-90A58732DD24Having read the long and arduous, true-life tale of The Essex in the book The Heart of The Sea, I had put off reading The Northwater, despite the reviews and praise and despite it being a work of fiction. Although I am drawn to stories of survival in the cold and inhospitable corners of the world, I’d had enough of brutal descriptions of the whaling industry for the time being. Finally, I succumbed to the lure of this book and I say, Wow, I am so glad that I did. 

In some ways, although a work of fiction, The Northwater is even more tough and uncompromising in its descriptions and yet at the same time, for me, it so perfectly captured the place and the era. As the ship set sail in 1859, I felt that I had time-traveled to a world that I could hardly comprehend; rough and uncaring of man or beast. 

Into this world comes Drax, the worst of the worst, and Sumner a doctor with a history he would rather forget. They are thrown together with a rag tag crew to head north from The English port of Hull in search of whales. What neither man knows is that the captain has a very different agenda for the voyage. 

The story surprised me; yes, there are the descriptions of the despicable trade of whaling, and of the totally unfeeling treatment of any other creature the sailors happen upon, including their fellow man, but what made them interesting was the viewpoint, shown through the rough-hewn characters and morals of the time. It felt as believable as it was shocking.

As the story progresses the real purpose of the voyage is revealed along with the escalating crimes of the monster, Drax. Murder and rape are nothing to him and it will take a strong man to stop him. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this tale but beware, ultra-strong language and terminology make it not for the faint of heart.

I couldn’t end this review without a few words about the narrator of the Audible presentation,  John Keating. He was excellent; I couldn’t imagine any voice more perfect for the book. 

A Thousand Yesteryears (Point Pleasant) by Mae Clair

Eve Parrish returns to Point Pleasant fifteen years after the tragic bridge collapse that claimed many lives, including that of her father and her best friend Maggie.

After the accident, Eve’s mother decided a fresh start was needed and she moved with Eve far enough away to help forget the events of that night.

But now Aunt Rosie has died and left her house and the Parrish Hotel to Eve and so Eve has travelled alone back to her home town, to decide what to do with her inheritance.
Her first instincts are to sell and return back to her new home as soon as possible. The town has changed, weighed down under its reputation as a place of tragedy. But there are plenty of people that Eve still knows, the Flynn brothers, Caden and Ryan, .their mother Mrs Flynn and Katie Lynch whose sister Wendy disappeared. Events soon begin to take an ominous turn and conspire to keep Eve back in her old home.

This murder mystery; what really happened to Maggie and to Wendy Lynch, is woven into the paranormal tale of the bridge collapse and the legend of the Mothman, a creature said to roam the swampy area just out of town. Plenty of local people believe in the Mothman and some have seen it. Despite her early doubts, Eve begins to wonder if maybe the Mothman really does exist and if Maggie is trying to help catch a murderer from beyond the grave.

With a bit of romance thrown, in this is a great start to a series and a fluent, easy read.

A First Review for Dirty Work

So very pleased with this review for Dirty Work. It really can’t be said enough, reviews really do make an author’s day. Go on, readers,  write about the books you love and make an author happy!

Unsworth’s first novel – The Palaver Tree – will always be my favorite, because I too lived in Africa.

Her novel – Dirty Work – is another must read. The deceptively simple story of two couples morphs into a mystery with a number of surprising twists that kept me turning the pages. On the surface it would seem that Nathan, with all his money, his beautiful wife and stunning home, has the upper hand. Below the surface, however, things are churning – nasty things, that lead Nathan, his brother and his sister-in-law into a web they never could have imagined.

Well written with strong characterizations, great descriptions, and lots of action, Dirty Work is a story not to be missed if you like mysteries and even if you don’t.’

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.

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 – 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.