The Abduction by A. A. Chaudhuri – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

Madeline Kramer has finally got her life back on track at top City law firm Sullivan, Blake, Monroe. But when two armed, masked men burst into a conference room one lunchtime, kidnapping a trainee and a partner, Maddy’s life is plunged into disarray once more—particularly when charismatic DCI Jake Carver, who caught a heartless killer when they last met and with whom Maddy shared a mutual chemistry, is called to the scene.

Things become more complicated when a disturbing video reveals two more trainees have been taken. What initially appears as a random kidnapping for mercenary gain soon evolves into something far more complex, the horrifying events of thirty years ago motivating the abductors and having colossal implications for those in the present…

Against a backdrop of sleaze, sex, lies and murder in The Abduction, Maddy and Carver must work together to unravel the truth, and ensure that no crimes—past or present—are left unpunished.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. The Abduction is the second book in the Kramer and Carver series and I recommend you read them in order. There are a few references to the previous investigation throughout this book.

When colleagues are abducted from the firm Maddy now works for, everybody is shocked and they are relieved that the most of the ransom demand is swiftly agreed to. But there is a reason for the abduction, a secret from university that some are determined will stay that way. They are unprepared though, for how determined the group of kidnappers are to have all of their demands met. 

However, not everything is as it initially appears and the author does a good job of bringing all the threads together into a gripping storyline with a tale of revenge, guilt, trauma and some throughly obnoxious characters. 

Kramer and Carver didn’t feature heavily, instead most of story is revealed by the other characters. Whilst there were a handful I had sympathy for, one in particular who shall remember nameless, the overwhelming feeling was how easy it was to manipulate others into doing what was wanted. 

A clever novel that I hope isn’t a true reflection of those who work in law.

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

Alicia Berenson lived a seemingly perfect life until one day six years ago. 

When she shot her husband in the head five times. 

Since then she hasn’t spoken a single word. 

It’s time to find out why.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I had been trying to read this book for months and finally got the chance a few weeks ago. I can honestly say it was well worth the wait, and I now want to read it again. Just to see how well I was duped! The outcome of the original and well written book was one that I definitely didn’t see coming.

The novel consists of a diary written by Alicia, accounts of the consultations between her and her therapist Theo, insight into Theo’s private life and the politics in the increasingly dubious Grove establishment where Alicia spends her life. It was one of those novels where I struggled to work out how I felt about the characters. Everybody who came into contact with Alicia seemed to dislike her, but from her diary I struggled to see why. The more I read, the more inclined I was to disregard their opinions.

Theo was an enigma. Obviously deeply affected by his childhood and facing problems in his marriage I felt I only saw the real character when he opened up to Ruth. In his interactions with his work colleagues and the other patients he seemed cold, aloof and demanding. None of the staff at The Grove seemed like they really cared about their patients. All of them seemed more interested in their own standing or making sure that procedures were being adhered to by the centre manager. It was slightly unsettling at times how uncaring it seemed.

The ending was a complete shock and was very clever. Out of everything I expected to read it wasn’t this. Even better that it all worked and made sense. It will make an excellent movie.

What She Saw Last Night by M. J. Cross – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

A secret that could kill her.

A truth no one believes…

Jenny Bowen is going home. Boarding the Caledonian Sleeper, all she wants to do is forget about her upcoming divorce and relax on the ten-hour journey through the night. 

In her search for her cabin, Jenny helps a panicked woman with a young girl she assumes to be her daughter. Then she finds her compartment and falls straight to sleep.

Waking in the night, Jenny discovers the woman dead in her cabin … but there’s no sign of the little girl. The train company have no record of a child being booked on the train, and CCTV shows the dead woman boarding alone.

The police don’t believe Jenny, and soon she tries to put the incident out of her head and tells herself that everyone else is right: she must have imagined the little girl. 

But deep down, she knows that isn’t the truth.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. This is the first book have read by Mason Cross and it was a pleasant surprise to discover that the events take place in the UK. Even though some of the novel is city based it made a nice change to read a novel that showed somewhere different. Much of this novel takes place in a more remote setting, one that without the danger that Jenny found herself in, sounded amazing.

When Jenny travelled North it was to deal with the sale of her family home and find some personal space after her marriage broke down. She booked the sleeper train, hoping to find it more relaxing but the events that occured made it far from peaceful. Despite assurances form the local police that she mistaken about what she witnessed she refuses to accept that she was wrong and starts her own investigation into what happened. But she is unprepared for the danger she places herself in.

I liked Jenny a lot, her refusal to back down and her bravery in dealing with the increasing danger she found herself in almost immediately. And, especially when faced with Klenmore, one of the scariest bad guys I have ever met in fiction.

At times it felt like classic train noir. An emotionally exhausted traveller, a harassed young woman with a little girl, a feeling that the lone male traveller is sinister. One ends up dead, two never there. An old fashioned journey, no wifi, intermittent phone signal, little comfort in a poky room. It could have sounded like an unattractive journey but I found it fascinating, a blast from the past and despite the events it made me interested in doing a journey like this.

A great standalone introduction to Mason Cross, I have another of his books to read soon.

The Killer In The Choir by Simon Brett – First Monday Crime.

About The Book

When Jude joins the Fethering community choir, she discovers that at least one of her fellow choristers is hiding a deadly secret.

Although she hadn’t known Leonard Mallett very well, nor liked him particularly, Carole Seddon feels duty bound to attend her fellow committee member’s funeral. As she suspected, the hymns, readings and sermon are all very predictable – not unlike Leonard himself. What she couldn’t have predicted was that the deceased’s daughter would use the occasion to publicly accuse her stepmother of murder. 

Did Heather Mallett really kill her husband, as many Fethering residents believe? Deciding to get to the heart of the matter, Carole’s neighbour Jude joins the new community choir – and discovers that amidst the clashing egos and petty resentments lurk some decidedly false notes. At least one chorister would appear to be hiding a deadly secret – and it’s up to Carole and Jude to unearth the truth.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. This was the first book I have read in this series but I had no problems getting to know the characters. Cosy crime and village life, its just like Midsomer Murders and Miss Marple. Where life is ruled by gossip and not always revealing the truth. If your neighbour didn’t know everything about you they were invent something and convince everybody that it was the truth.

Carole and Jude, the two amateur sleuths were like chalk and cheese. Carole was reclusive, tetchy and judgemental. Jude was more tolerant, likeable and approachable. How their friendship worked was slightly baffling but they did seem fairly close. Especially over a glass or two of Sauvignon Blanc.

Like many cosy crime novels you couldn’t take it seriously, but its part of the attraction. Total escapism. I had a lot of fun trying to work out who the murderer was. I will dip into this series again.

Simon Brett is one of the authors who will be appearing at First Monday Crome on Monday 2nd December. Details can be found at https://www.firstmondaycrime.com/

White Zion by Gila Green – Review.

About The Book

It’s titled ‘White Zion’ but Gila Green paints from all the colors/hues of the Jewish palette. These gritty yet shimmering stories get into you. I read them all in two swoops, then stayed up for an hour or two, maybe four, waiting for my heart to return to normal.
-Ruchama King Feuerman, author of In the Courtyard of the Kabbalist and Seven Blessings

In a journey of generations from Aden to Palestine to Ottawa, one Yemenite family encounters new and difficult realities: racism and war, rejection and divorce, resourceful survival and tragic death. With smells of delicious breads wafting up from the page, embroidering detail upon detail in fine literary stitch, Gila Green draws us fully into her narrative, as she generously shares with us the hidden core of family life and the stories she is not afraid to tell.
-Yael Unterman, author of The Hidden of Things: Twelve Stories of Love & Longing

Imagine a group of friends and relatives coming together throughout the afternoon over food and drink, staying late into the evening to share stories that engender laughter, tears, empathy and admiration. The profoundly satisfying stories in White Zion are rich in intimate detail, peopled with a cast of heart wrenching characters at once familiar and unique, a gathering of personalities that leaves me reluctant to leave their company and eager to revisit them. 
-Pearl Luke, author of Madame Zee and Burning Ground

My Review

With thanks to the author for the copy received. I read the first few chapters of this book twice, I misunderstood the description ‘novel in stories’ so hadn’t realised that they all concerned the same family at different times in history. It was no hardship, I throughly enjoyed this book and I found it very different to anything else I have read.

It was fascinating to read about the development of Israel, how different it was to life in Ottawa and how Miriam adapted to married life there after a childhood spent in Canada. I read with sadness, at how hard it was being a child who was bullied for being Yemenite and living in poverty. I cheered when years later he got some form of revenge on the ones who could have done more. I read with a warm feeling when the kindness strangers made a huge difference to a difficult existence. And I laughed at the tale about the rat on a wedding day.

I had to ask a friend occasionally about some of the Jewish customs but not knowing wouldn’t have stopped me enjoying this novel. It was fascinating to read about a culture and way of life so different to my own. I also have to comment on the photo that is used as the cover image, it is a beautiful one that says a lot.