Double Deceit by Julienne Brouwers – Review.

About The Book

Jennifer is a young mother, married to a hotshot lawyer and living in Amsterdam. Her world explodes when her husband is found dead at a holiday park during a weekend getaway. Convinced that the police have failed in their investigation, she embarks on a desperate quest for the truth – but the deeper she digs, the more she gets enmeshed in a tangled web of lies, spun by a ruthless law firm. 
As Jennifer’s search for answers intensifies, her grip on reality weakens. Barely able to manage her patients at the health clinic, or take care of her young son, Jennifer is at risk of losing it all – even her closest friends begin to desert her. And then a chance encounter with a charming stranger sparks a new chain of events that plunges her deeper into a world of threats and corruption. Soon, she begins to fear for her life – but who can she trust, and how far will she go in pursuit of the truth?
This is a gripping, addictive thriller for fans of Angela Clarke, Mel Sherratt and Rachel Lynch, that will make you question everything, including the flaws of forensics. Could we all be framed for a murder we didn’t commit?

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Jennifer’s life falls apart when her husband dies in what initially appears a tragic accident whilst they are having a short break away. But when she receives his possessions from the police and hears some slightly disturbing details she wants to find out what more about her husband’s life before he died. 

But she is unprepared for what she finds and despite it causing arguments with her close friends, issues at work and the police taking no notice she won’t stop delving and places herself and her young son in danger.

I enjoyed this book, it was slightly different with most of the focus being on Jennifer instead of the police. You saw the effect her searching had on her, the guilt at not being able to commit to her job and her upset at alienating her friends. There was also her attempts to try and create a normal life for her son. Because of this she came across as a real person and this is more than just a crime fiction novel. 

I also enjoyed my visit to Amsterdam,I had a clear image of what it was like to live in a city that was full of tourists but it described little of the places to see. This could have come across as strange but instead it showed that to the characters concerned it was  their everyday lives. 

I would read books again by this author

The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

Widely regarded as a modern classic, The Stone Diaries is the story of one woman’s life; that of Daisy Goodwill Flett, a seemingly ordinary woman born in Canada in 1905. Beautifully written and deeply compassionate, it follows Daisy’s life through marriage, widowhood, motherhood, and old age, as she charts her own path alongside that of an unsettled century. A subtle but affective portrait of an everywoman reflecting on an unconventional life, this multi-award winning story deals with everyday issues of existence with an extraordinary vibrancy and irresistible flair.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I wasn’t really sure what to expect from this novel and it didn’t take me long to realise that I had never read anything like it before and it would be a long time before I would again. 

It starts in 1905 when Daisy is born and steadily covers all of her life and a short period after her death. She doesn’t have an overly exciting life, just a normal one but it was fascinating to see how she coped with love, loss and family life. She sees a lot of change during her long life. Both wars and Kennedy’s assassination are mentioned but only briefly. None had a huge impact on her and those she knows.

It’s not just her version of history you see. Her children, friends and brief associates also have their voice and I found that I learned more about Daisy from them rather than her. Some had more of an impact than others, in particular her mother in law who did make me smile initially but I also saw a venomous streak.

One of my favourite parts which didn’t really include her was when her father in law, Magnus, returned to his roots. It showed how just one of the many who crossed the seas yearned for their former life.

It’s often witty, often sad but what stands out is this is just a normal life. 

The Last Resort by Susi Holliday – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

When Amelia is invited to an all-expenses-paid retreat on a private island, the mysterious offer is too good to refuse. Along with six other strangers, she’s told they’re here to test a brand-new product for Timeo Technologies. But the guests’ excitement soon turns to terror when the real reason for their summons becomes clear.

Each guest has a guilty secret. And when they’re all forced to wear a memory-tracking device that reveals their dark and shameful deeds to their fellow guests, there’s no hiding from the past. This is no luxury retreat—it’s a trap they can’t get out of.

As the clock counts down to the lavish end-of-day party they’ve been promised, injuries and in-fighting split the group. But with no escape from the island—or the other guests’ most shocking secrets—Amelia begins to suspect that her only hope for survival is to be the last one standing. Can she confront her own dark past to uncover the truth—before it’s too late to get out?

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Amelia is part of a group of people who have been invited to an event. None of them have any idea where they are going or what they will be doing. They also don’t know anything about any of their travel companions. Most of them have the public image that they want to glorify and they all have something that they want to try and keep hidden. The most exciting part of this novel for me was when and how their secret would be revealed. And all of their secrets made me think about each of them differently. Some with pity and some with revulsion. The rivalries and friendships made in the small group were perfect. I could really sense the tension between them, especially the women.

It’s an unusual novel that I struggle to assign to just one genre. There is a crime element, but also Sci- fi, tech, and suspense. The tech was just enough for me. It didn’t go over my head and was just about the right amount to make me wary. 

When I read a book by this author I know that it will always be a little different. No two books have been the same. What I didn’t expect was to find some thoroughly unlikeable characters or rediscovering my childhood with the references to The Famous Five. But you have no need to be concerned if you are not familiar with that series. This novel is completely original and I think it will be a long time before I read anything like it again.

Susi will be one of the authors who is taking part in December First Monday Crime. Alongside her will be Sam Carrington, Deborah Massey and A. K. Turner. Join in the fun at 7.30pm on Monday 7th December on Facebook.

The Diabolical Bones by Bella Ellis – Blog Tour Review

About The Book

It’s Christmas 1845 and Haworth is in the grip of a freezing winter. 

Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë are rather losing interest in detecting until they hear of a shocking discovery: the bones of a child have been found interred within the walls of a local house, Top Withens Hall, home to the scandalous and brutish Bradshaw family. 

When the sisters set off to find out more, they are confronted with an increasingly complex and sinister case, which leads them into the dark world of orphanages, and onto the trail of other lost, and likely murdered children. After another local boy goes missing, Charlotte, Emily and Anne vow to find him before it’s too late. 

But in order to do so, they must face their most despicable and wicked adversary yet – one that would not hesitate to cause them the gravest of harm . . .

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. How did I not know there was a Brontë Mystery series? Before I got a few chapters in I was fascinated by the idea, the setting and all of the characters. Despite not reading the first book in the series I had no problem getting to appreciate any of them. It didn’t even matter that my knowledge of the Brontë family is slim. I am only aware of who wrote which book and how young they were when they died. 

It is one of those few novels that contain everything I enjoy in fiction. A mystery, a touch of the gothic, historical facts and likeable characters. I did feel a touch of sadness because I know how and when they died and the opening chapter is very poignant. I wanted to know how many similarities the Brontë family had in this novel had to the real life family, in particular the relationship that they had with Tabby, if she existed, and the self destructive attitude of Branwell. 

Whilst you have to suspend belief that the Brontë sisters were a team of detectives what this novel does show extremely well is portray the life at the time. The struggle to keep warm,the harsh life in the orphanages, the customs and superstitions, the feeling of horror at crossing the border into Lancashire and the attitudes towards the Irish. 

This book was just what I needed after a slight reading slump.

The Searcher by Tana French – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

Cal Hooper thought a fixer-upper in a remote Irish village would be the perfect escape. After twenty-five years in the Chicago police force, and a bruising divorce, he just wants to build a new life in a pretty spot with a good pub where nothing much happens.

But then a local kid comes looking for his help. His brother has gone missing, and no one, least of all the police, seems to care. Cal wants nothing to do with any kind of investigation, but somehow he can’t make himself walk away.

Soon Cal will discover that even in the most idyllic small town, secrets lie hidden, people aren’t always what they seem, and trouble can come calling at his door.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Whilst The Searcher is described as a crime novel or ‘a novel with a murder’ it is slightly different to all of the ones I usually read. There are a few reasons, the lead character is a retired police officer who is a long way from where he was based so has no contacts, little knowledge of the local area or customs, has no jurisdiction and the investigation isn’t the main thread in the novel. Instead the focus is on Cal’s attempting to rebuild his life in the small town on the West Coast of Ireland. It was this side of the story that was the strongest for me.

The description of the local area, the nature, the weather, the wildlife ( in particular the rooks) and the people were spot on. Much of it made me smile, particularly the scenes that featured Noreen the local shopkeeper and the initial scenes involving Trey, otherwise known as The Kid.

Cal is initially reluctant to get involved but he does so despite knowing that it could jeopardise his standing in the area. He wants to be accepted, not regarded as a ‘blow-in’ or trouble. His involvement isn’t without difficulties, some of it caused my naïveté, some by ill feeling from the locals to him sticking his nose in but he does get there.

As I said at the beginning of my review I liked the story of village life more. I would like to know more about Cal as he settles down in his new life.