The Bay by Allie Reynolds – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

There’s a darkness inside all of us and The Bay has a way of bringing it out. Everyone here has their secrets but we don’t go looking for them. Because sometimes it’s better not to know.

Kenna arrives in Sydney to surprise her best friend, shocked to hear she’s going to marry a guy she’s only just met. But Mikki and her fiancé Jack are about to head away on a trip, so Kenna finds herself tagging along for the ride.

Sorrow Bay is beautiful, wild and dangerous. A remote surfing spot with waves to die for, cut off from the rest of the world. Here Kenna meets the mysterious group of people who will do anything to keep their paradise a secret. Sky, Ryan, Clemente and Victor have come to ride the waves and disappear from life. How will they feel about Kenna turning up unannounced?

As Kenna gets drawn into their world, she sees the extremes they are prepared to go to for the next thrill. And everyone seems to be hiding something. What has her best friend got involved in and how can she get her away? But one thing is rapidly becoming clear about The Bay: nobody ever leaves. 

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. The Bay is one of my favourite books this year. It contains everything I enjoy when I read crime fiction, a claustrophobic setting, not knowing who could be trusted, a disintegration of mood made worse by the weather and very short chapters where you get to see what others are thinking alongside the main narrative which comes from Kenna.

When Kenna arrives in Australia to attend the wedding of her childhood friend Mikki she isn’t prepared for what she she is about to face. Mikki isn’t that enthusiastic about her arrival or the wedding itself and Kenna is determined to persuade Mikki to return home. She doesn’t trust her soon to be husband Jack but he isn’t the only one she should be concerned about and when Mikki and Jack take Kenna with them to a remote surfing spot where she meets all of their friends she feels that all of them are hiding something.

Most of the narrative is ‘now’ but there are flashbacks to when Kenna and Mikki first met, events from their childhood that still had an impact on Kenna and also the events that led to death of Kenna’s boyfriend. Those plus her determination to protect Mikki and find out what the group were hiding showed Kenna’s stubbornness and strength of character. But these traits also put Kenna in danger and the brilliant thing about this book is that you have no idea who from. All of the brief chapters from other members of the group show that they have something they wanted to keep hidden and that they’d do anything to achieve that. Plus there was the danger from the area itself. The sea, wildlife, weather and the intimidation caused by the remoteness and being completely cut off from the rest of society.

I enjoyed every aspect of this novel. The characters, setting, increasing paranoia and the moment when all was revealed about who was responsible.

Silver by Chris Hammer – Review.

About The Book

A HOMECOMING MARRED BY BLOOD
Journalist Martin Scarsden returns to Port Silver to make a fresh start with his partner Mandy. But he arrives to find his childhood friend murdered – and Mandy is the prime suspect. Desperate to clear her name, Martin goes searching for the truth.

A TERRIBLE CRIME
The media descends on the coastal town, compelled by a story that has it all: sex, drugs, celebrity, and religion. Martin is chasing the biggest scoop of his career, and the most personal.

A PAST HE CAN’T ESCAPE
As Martin draws closer to a killer, the secrets of his traumatic childhood come to the surface, and he must decide what is more important – the story or his family…

My Review

Scrublands was a book that I enjoyed reading a lot so I was looking forward to reading Silver the second book in the series. Following on from the events in Riversend Martin and Mandalay are hoping for a quieter life in a new town. However whilst this is a new town for Mandalay it isn’t for Martin. It is the town where he grew up and he has a lot of bad memories. But their fresh start doesn’t go as planned when almost immediately Mandalay is implicated in the murder of Martin’s childhood friend.

This book is very much a slow burner but I feel that this is the only way it could be. Martin, because of his childhood, was familiar with the town and its inhabitants but he could see it differently. The way the lure of huge amounts of money showed a different side to an individual’s personality. You could see how the promise of ‘improvements’ in the local area could benefit in some ways but could also see it destroy in others. My choice would be to protect the natural world and turn away from the money making opportunities.

It is one of those novels where you don’t initially see what is happening. I had doubts about Topaz but wasn’t sure why. But she wasn’t the only one, there were others whose true personalities were revealed in the latter half of the novel. Some I liked more, a few I liked a lot less. 

I have to admire an author who can write a novel where all of the characters are important and where most have some type of impact on the reader. Even the town of Silver seems to have its own personality. The old way of life competing with the new way, led by corruption.

I can’t wait to read Trust the next book in the series. 

The Drowned City by K. J. Maitland – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

1606. A year to the day that men were executed for conspiring to blow up Parliament, a towering wave devastates the Bristol Channel. Some proclaim God’s vengeance. Others seek to take advantage.

In London, Daniel Pursglove lies in prison waiting to die. But Charles FitzAlan, close adviser to King James I, has a job in mind that will free a man of Daniel’s skill from the horrors of Newgate. If he succeeds.

For Bristol is a hotbed of Catholic spies, and where better for the lone conspirator who evaded arrest, one Spero Pettingar, to gather allies than in the chaos of a drowned city? Daniel journeys there to investigate FitzAlan’s lead, but soon finds himself at the heart of a dark Jesuit conspiracy – and in pursuit of a killer.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I  enjoy reading historical fiction and always feel I’m in for a treat when the book I’m reading sends me to look for further information on the internet. In this novel that occurred after reading the prologue. I’d had no idea that Bristol was flooded in the 17th century.

Apart from the witch trials I don’t know that much about the reign of James I but I was aware of Robert Cecil. The author has brilliantly described both and neither come across as very nice people. But they both only appear briefly and most of this novel concerns the people of Bristol. A city that is struggling to cope with the aftermath of the floods, the superstitions and the horrifying religious attitudes at the time. This was one of the more convincing accounts that I have read and I fully believe that events such as the ones described occurred.

There were so many characters I was fascinated by. Daniel, Rachael, Myles and Mistress Crugge were just a few of the them. All different, all passionate and all determined to survive. And at times it seemed that Bristol also had its own character. It isn’t somewhere I know, but time and time again I was looking for buildings, streets and local history on the internet.

It was also a book that made me slightly nauseous. The accounts of what the flood left behind, the food the survivors were forced to eat, the relish in which the many executions were described all made this novel very life like. 

I can’t wait to read more, this book had me glued to the sofa.

One August Night by Victoria Hislop – Review.

About The Book

25th August 1957. The island of Spinalonga closes its leper colony. And a moment of violence has devastating consequences.

When time stops dead for Maria Petrakis and her sister, Anna, two families splinter apart and, for the people of Plaka, the closure of Spinalonga is forever coloured with tragedy.

In the aftermath, the question of how to resume life looms large. Stigma and scandal need to be confronted and somehow, for those impacted, a future built from the ruins of the past.

Number one bestselling author Victoria Hislop returns to the world and characters she created in The Island – the award-winning novel that remains one of the biggest selling reading group novels of the century. It is finally time to be reunited with Anna, Maria, Manolis and Andreas in the weeks leading up to the evacuation of the island… and beyond.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. About 15 years ago I read the prequel to this book which was called The Island. From memory it was a holiday read and I loved it. But because it was so long ago and I’ve read a lot of books since I can remember little of it. Apart from the island that became a leper colony and the way it tore apart lives when loved ones had to go and live there. But I was thrilled to be sent this follow up which I decided to read as a stand-alone novel.

It starts with a tragedy at what should have been a happy occasion. The release of all the inhabitants of Spinalonga after a cure had been found for leprosy. One of those released was affected personally by what happened and she is one whose story you read. How she coped with her release and the way she chose to deal with the tragedy that occurred. Anna was one of the central characters in The Island, and really the only one I remembered anything about.

The other thread of the story involves Manolis, who flees Crete after what occurred. He builds a new life for himself but can never settle into a relationship and be truly happy. Despite not remembering him from The Island it was his story I preferred. His life with friends, especially his landlady was one that I really enjoyed.

The culture, the people, the developing tourism all felt realistic and I would happily reread The Island and then read this again. I’m sure reading the two together will reveal so much more about the history from the time.

Hermit by S. R. White – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

After a puzzling death in the wild bushlands of Australia, detective Dana Russo has just hours to interrogate the prime suspect – a silent, inscrutable man found at the scene of the crime, who disappeared without trace 15 years earlier.

But where has he been? Why won’t he talk? And exactly how dangerous is he? Without conclusive evidence to prove his guilt, Dana faces a desperate race against time to persuade him to speak. But as each interview spirals with fevered intensity, Dana must reckon with her own traumatic past to reveal the shocking truth . . .

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I read a lot of crime fiction, most of it fast paced some of it slow. Hermit is probably one of the more slower paced novels that I have read, but it is the only way it could be. It works perfectly. 

It concerns one murder investigation and apart from a few memories that the chief suspect, Nathan, is encouraged to reveal takes place across one day. For the chief investigator Dana it is a very long day. It is the day which she started contemplating suicide until she got the call about the murder at the local store. It is a day that she never usually works, you only find out some of the reasons why very late in the novel. 

As you would expect with a police procedural novel much of the book shows the attempts to find out why the store owner was murdered but it differs because of Dana’s method of gaining Nathan’s trust. She wants to know why he has spent living the last 15 years as a hermit and how he survived without any human contact. I felt at times she envied him for his way of life. Over a series of interviews between just the two of them everything is revealed. I felt sadness and horror over what happened to him, as well as awe over how he coped until the moment it all went wrong. 

There were times when they seemed similar. Both struggling with events from the last, both struggling to explain why, both coping in different ways. It could have been depressing but for Dana’s colleagues, in particular Lucy who made me smile quite a lot. I wouldn’t like to be a lawyer who had to deal with her! 

The ending left me near howling with frustration, this is one book I am absolutely desperate for a follow up.