Pretty Is

imagePretty Is was nothing like I expected it to be. I knew it was about two young girls who were abducted and their attempts to rebuild their lives years later. What I hadn’t expected was the reasons why and the relationship that existed between the three of them.
Part of the book covers the abduction and the events leading to it, and some during Lois’s and Carly’s life when they are in their late twenties. Each narrate their own version of events in both time frames and each struggle to live any kind of normal life.
Lois especially, is being threatened by a student who by a long way is the most sinister character in the novel. She doesn’t deal with it the way that she knows she should do and the in way that she is advised to by people around her.
Both Lois and Carly were both loners who used their ‘gifts’ as a shield. Both were difficult to like initially but as I got further into the novel I understood the reasons why and warmed to them a bit more.
Child Beauty Pageants and Spelling Bees aren’t as popular here as they are in some countries and from what I have read in Pretty Is and seen in documentaries on TV I’m quite happy for it to stay that way.
With thanks to the publisher for the copy via netgalley.

Beyond Evil

imageIt is a few years since I read a novel by Neil White, so when I was asked to read any for part of a blog promotion I jumped at the chance to read this stand alone.
Set in a rundown Lancashire former industrial town, which I’m convinced I’ve worked in we have a detective haunted by a cold case, a disillusioned lawyer and a member of a local cult. When the original suspect is found murdered Sheldon, the detective is hoping to find the answers to both the crimes and prove himself as a competent police officer.
Charlie, the lawyer is increasingly suspicious of everybody, his business partner, a young girl who is training with them and two strangers who have suddenly started hanging around.
John is the newest recruit into the local cult. All members of the cult are creepily dedicated to their cause and part of the novel focuses on John having to prove his commitment.
It was quite gruesome at times, but there was also focus on coping with loss. The way that Alice’s family dealt with their loss was very convincing and at times moving. I did have a good idea which way the novel was going but there were parts of it I hadn’t worked out.
I always enjoy reading a novel that has local setting and Beyond Evil doesn’t disappoint. Very true to life in the way the town and its inhabitants are portrayed. Now I just need to decide which of two series I want to read first.

Husk

I don’t read much science fiction but Husk appealed because it sounded so different. Rhodes is a ‘husk’, basically he is willing to rent out his body to people who are willing to pay. When he starts to experience flashbacks and minor injuries he feels less happy about his career. Other members of the team he works with also have disastrous things happen to them.
I found this novel to be quite scary. I initially thought that it would be set in the future but there were a few references to music from the 1980s so it takes place much closer in time. It was very convincing, New York and London totally different to real life but a vision of how life could be.
Some of the rentals that Rhodes was used for were poignant but most were done for very nasty people to have their fun.
A very sinister read which I really enjoyed.
Thanks to the publisher for the proof copy received for review purposes.image

Redemption Road

imageI have had this book for a while and fancied something different to the usual crime fiction genre.
Margaret is driving home in treacherous conditions after working late when she is involved in a horrific accident. She is pulled from her car by a stranger just before it sets on fire. Deeply affected by the crash, desperate to find the man who saved her and also to find some answers to events in her childhood that the crash has stirred memories of.
The book the goes back in time to Moll, a seven year old who lives with her mother and stepfather and has no contact with her natural father ‘Big George’. George is the only decent member of a gangster family and is desperate to have some part in Moll’s life. Another main character is a thoroughly repulsive journalist, Angus, who is very eager to get his big story. Every chapter that featured him had me cringing.
The novel covers evenly Margaret building a relationship with the man who saved her, George’s time with Moll and Angus’s quest for his story. Every character even the minor characters are strong and feel real.
I loved Margaret’s relationship with her family especially her stepfather and also Moll’s relationship with George.
Redemption Road is a fantastic read by an author that is new to me. Highly recommended.
Thanks to the publisher and the author for the copy via netgalley.

Humber Boy B

imageHumber Boy B is a book that at times I really struggled up carry on reading. I knew that I would be reading about children killing a child but combined with a tale of child neglect, child cruelty and ‘Ben’ trying to make friends and rebuild his life outside prison made it, for me, a very difficult book at times.
I did carry on reading and finished it, whilst I did find it harrowing I wanted to know the ending. Not really for me but I did think it was very well done.
Thanks to the publisher and the author for the copy via netgalley