The time has come again to face an impossible task of narrowing the 117 books I have read into a top ten list. As always it was difficult to do but I have managed and I will list them in no particular order. Apart from my favourite book of the year which I will reveal at the end. You can see my review for each book by clicking on the title.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A locked room. A dead body. A secret that went to the grave.
When retired police officer Finlay Shaw is found dead in a locked room, everyone thinks it’s suicide. But disgraced detective William ‘Wolf’ Fawkes isn’t so sure.
Together with his former partner Detective Emily Baxter and private detective Edmunds, Wolf’s team begin to dig into Shaw’s early days on the beat. Was Shaw as innocent as he seemed? Or is there more to his past than he’d ever let on?
But not everyone wants Wolf back – and as his investigation draws him ever deeper into police corruption, it will not only be his career on the line – but the lives of those he holds closest as well…
With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Endgame is the final book in the trilogy that features among others Wolf, Baxter and Edmunds. Baxter has been my favourite character throughout. I love her temperament, her ability to make things much worse than they are and her humour. It is a series that I strongly recommend that you read in order. Whilst different stories, they are linked and this novel brings many answers. They are also very entertaining.
This is less gory than the other two books, but no less funny. It is a slightly different story, with focus on two of the main characters early on in their careers and how the events that happened then had consequences in the modern day. I was a little shocked by what was revealed.
What the author does well is making sure that all the characters have a voice. Joe and Maggie in particular I enjoyed reading about. A standout moment for Joe was when he was showing off his skills without knowing the identity of one of his audience.
A great finale, and I’m looking forward to future books by this author.
Introducing Standedge Tunnel: the longest canal tunnel in England.
Last year six students went in, and two and a half hours later, the boat reappeared on the other side with only one of the students, unconscious, and the dog.
The case of the Standedge Six was largely kept from the national media. The police investigation concluded that the only remaining student, Matthew, killed his friends, hid the bodies on the boat and returned later to move them to an undisclosed location.
Matthew is in prison . . . but maintains he is innocent.
Robert Ferringham is grieving for his missing wife, Sam. So when Matthew contacts him for help with his case, promising information on Sam, Robert has no choice but to help. But can he trust Matthew?
And how will he solve the insolvable case?
With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I was intrigued about this novel immediately after reading the synopsis. There is nothing that would make me go through a tunnel like this. But I love to read about them, to imagine that I am brave enough to go in.
I hadn’t read the authors debut novel so didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t expect to read a book that was both creepy and full of intrigue, hatred towards somebody trying to find out the truth but also hatred towards the five whose bodies had never been found.
The small town personalities were perfect. Outsiders regarded with suspicion, people who lived there thriving on gossip or secrecy and a few who were afraid to say what they really thought.
I suspected many and had plenty of theories about who was responsible and why. Some outlandish, some sinister. Most incorrect.
A great story with some fascinating characters, including the sheep, and a brilliant set up.