About the Book
When Solomon’s sister is found drugged and in a coma after an online date, Solomon can’t believe this was just a terrible accident. Determined to find out what happened to his sister, and with the police unwilling to help, Solomon begins to investigate on his own. He soon uncovers a rash of similar cases of women who have been found brutally murdered or assaulted after an online date. There is a predator out there working the streets of London, preying on young women. Solomon sets out to bring him to justice, putting him on a collision course with a deadly killer who is fiendishly clever and more twisted than anyone could possibly imagine…
With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.
When Solomon’s sister ends up in hospital after a night out he is understandably annoyed and upset that the police are not interested in investigating it. He rightly, thinks that it’s because his sister doesn’t matter because of her family. He, along with a group of friends decide to investigate themselves and they pick up links that others may miss. His friends are all ‘geeks’ who compile questions for quiz shows. Solomon is a recluse, he has never met any of them and all contact is via the web with no cameras switched on.
I have never met anybody like Solomon before. He struggles to cope with the way he looks, doesn’t always come across as the nicest person but he is devoted to his family who have never had it easy. Out of all of them he has made the best of his life. He definitely manages to get on the wrong side of the officer he has contact with, Fox. But she has under estimated him and he soon manages to outwit and manipulate her.
Fox is an officer who would be easy to get on the wrong side of. I disliked her intensely at first but when I read more and met her superior officer I did have some empathy. Just. What the author has demonstrated very well is how stretched the police are, and how some cases are disregarded because of another that is classed more important. He has also shown a side that I hope doesn’t exist, that those of a higher rank disregard the lower ranked officers.
I thought that this novel would be similar to many others that are on the market but found it to be original. Full of surprises, I was wrong footed most of the time.It’s clever, with the storyline and the intellect. It made me look online for clarification often. It’s slightly Fargoesque at times with its random violence and offbeat humour. I will be interested in seeing what the author does next. Recommended.
About the Book
It’s 1944 when the twin sisters arrive at Auschwitz with their mother and grandfather. In their benighted new world, Pearl and Stasha Zagorski take refuge in their identical natures, comforting themselves with the private language and shared games of their childhood. As part of the experimental population of twins known as Mengele’s Zoo, the girls experience privileges and horrors unknown to others, and they find themselves changed, stripped of the personalities they once shared, their identities altered by the burdens of guilt and pain. That winter, at a concert orchestrated by Mengele, Pearl disappears. Stasha grieves for her twin, but clings to the possibility that Pearl remains alive. When the camp is liberated by the Red Army, she and her companion Feliks – a boy bent on vengeance for his own lost twin – travel through Poland’s devastation. Undeterred by injury, starvation, or the chaos around them, motivated by equal parts danger and hope, they encounter hostile villagers, Jewish resistance fighters, and fellow refugees, their quest enabled by the notion that Mengele may be captured and brought to justice within the ruins of the Warsaw Zoo. As the young survivors discover what has become of the world, they must try to imagine a future within it.
When I first started reading Mischling I was intrigued by the title but had no idea what it meant. When I found out, it was the first of many times that I felt chilled reading this novel. Pearl and Stasha are twins and have recently arrived at Aushcwitz and soon realise the level of danger that they are all in. Very soon after arrival they have the attention of Josef Mengele. Stasha feels that she has the power and will to charm him into getting better treatment for her mother and grandfather. She believes his promises and outwardly accepts all what he does. But in her mind, she only wants revenge.
There is so much about the novel that is devastating. The images created of suffering loss and death were very vivid. But the strength, loyalty and willpower shown by the twins and their friends was humbling. I had to keep reminding myself that the twins were only twelve years old and their friends not much older.
The narrative switches between Pearl and Stasha, both say how they suffer under Mengele, Elma a nurse and Taube a guard. Mengele was evil, I was aware of that prior to reading but the venom displayed by Elma and Taube was just as upsetting. Especially Taube, just as I thought things would be ok. But then there were others, who had no choice but to do what they were told and really struggled coping with their deeds.
Whilst both narratives were fascinating it was Pearl’s account that I preferred. There was part of her story that left me distraught and that image will stay with me for a while. There was a lot to get upset about in the novel but the strength of character, will and loyalty made it much easier to read. It gave a sense of hope that there could be a future for all the ones who suffered.
There will be some who believe that novels like this shouldn’t be written but my opinion is that they need to be. I believe that we are heading into a situation that nobody will remember or be aware of what happened during this time. Affinity Konar was inspired by the twin girls Eva and Miriam Mozes who both survived Mengele’s experiments.
A desperately sad novel that was also full of love and hope.
With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.
On a black night in April 1912, fifteen hundred passengers and crew perish as the Titanic slowly sinks beneath the freezing waters of the North Atlantic. Charting the same perilous course through the icebergs is the SS Californian, close enough for her crew to see the eight white distress rockets fired by the Titanic. Yet the Californian fails to act, and later her crew insist that they saw nothing.
As news of the disaster spreads throughout America, journalists begin a feeding frenzy, desperate for stories. John Steadman is one such reporter, a man broken by alcoholism, grief and a failed marriage. Steadman senses blood as he fixates on the Californian and his investigation reveals a tense and perplexing relationship between the ship’s captain and second officer, who hold the secrets of what occurred that night. Slowly he peels back the layers of deception, and his final, stunning revelation of what happened while the Titanic sank will either redeem the men of the Californian, or destroy them.
I didn’t really know way to expect when I started reading this novel but I found it to be a fascinating and at times heartbreaking read. John Steadman is a journalist. His personal life is a mess but he finds solace in becoming a champion of the ones who have been failed. When he suspects that something is not quite right with the accounts of those onboard the SS Californian he becomes obsessed with learning and revealing the truth.
It was hard to warm to most onboard the SS Californian. Herbert Stern wasn’t supported by his captain when he notified him about what he was seeing from the stricken Titanic but for some reason remained loyal to him throughout the investigation. It seemed like he was the only one who mourned any loss of life. Some of others were just concerned about selling their accounts.
The final section of the novel, about the Sage family was devastating to read. A fictionalised account of a family who were actually onboard and all perished. I could just imagine the fear that they felt when along with so many others they watched lifeboats sail away half empty.
I very much enjoyed this novel and would like to thank the publisher for the copy received.
The Titanic Memorial, Belfast.