#BookReview: The House by Simon Lelic

It’s my stop today on The House blog tour and I’m very happy to share with you my review.

What’s it about?

What if your perfect home turned out to be the scene of the perfect crime?

Londoners Jack and Syd moved into the house a year ago. It seemed like their dream home: tons of space, the perfect location, and a friendly owner who wanted a young couple to have it.

So when they made a grisly discovery in the attic, Jack and Syd chose to ignore it. That was a mistake.

Because someone has just been murdered. Right outside their back door.

And now the police are watching them…

My thoughts

I’ve got to admit a fab bit of marketing got me interested in this book; when you get a black envelope in the post with a key inside who isn’t going to be intrigued.

The first few chapters really did it for me in terms of the very unsettling feeling that it gave me – very cleverly crafted!  It was one of those books where I wanted it to scare and thrill me but when it did I didn’t like it..like a roller coaster, you know you’ll scream your head off but you will go back for more!

As I always do I thought I’d worked out what was going on quite early but then ended up being led down the garden path completely.  In all honesty, I think that’s why I didn’t rate the book higher; I was somewhat miffed.  To be fair to the author that’s more about my issue than his, but it did impact on my overall feeling and enjoyment of the book.  I had hoped it was going to more about The House rather than its inhabitants and all the orchestrations with the family and their history.

Abuse is at the heart of this novel and it doesn’t make for pleasant reading and quite often made me feel really uncomfortable which is a testament to the author’s writing in being able to convey that but the subject matter may not suit all readers.

Overall I loved the beginning, enjoyed the ending but hoped for something a little more in the middle.

Book links: Goodreads | Waterstones | Amazon

Author links: Twitter | Website

Small print for info
Source: ARC – many thanks!
No of pages: 400
Publisher: Penguin

Do look out for other reviews and content on The House tour!

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#BookReview: Never Coming Back by Tim Weaver

What’s it about?

It was supposed to be the start of a big night out. But when Emily Kane arrives at her sister Carrie’s house, she finds the front door unlocked and no one inside. Dinner’s cooking, the TV’s on. Carrie, her husband and their two daughters are gone.
When the police draw a blank, Emily asks missing persons investigator David Raker to find them. It’s clear someone doesn’t want the family found.
But as he gets closer to the truth, Raker begins to uncover evidence of a sinister cover-up, spanning decades and costing countless lives. And worse, in trying to find Emily’s missing family, he might just have made himself the next target . . .

My thoughts

I’ve had this book on my book shelf for quite some time and was kind of bullied encouraged to read it by daughter as she bought it for me.  This is the second of the David Raker series that I’ve read, having read Fall From Grace which is book five in the series with this one being book four – ooops a little out of order.

This book reminded me of Linwood Barclay’s No Time for Goodbye, another novel in which a family just disappear without trace from their lives

I found it to be dark and gritty from the outset with pretty much everything you need for a dramatic detective story:  likeable main character, good plot, high body count (though not to everyone’s taste) and so many twists and turns you don’t whether you’re coming or going.  I also loved that it’s mostly set in Devon as I recognised a lot of the places.

I’ll definitely read more and although it can be read as a standalone I usually find these types of books are better read in order; if not just to find out what’s going on between Raker and Healy (one of his copper mates).  I think fans of Linwood Barclay would enjoy this series too.

Book links: Goodreads | Waterstones | Amazon

Author links: Twitter | Website

Small print for info
Source: Purchased
No of pages: 544
Publisher: Penguin

#BookReview: The One by John Marrs

What it’s about?

How far would you go to find THE ONE?

One simple mouth swab is all it takes. A quick DNA test to find your perfect partner – the one you’re genetically made for.

A decade after scientists discover everyone has a gene they share with just one other person, millions have taken the test, desperate to find true love. Now, five more people meet their Match. But even soul mates have secrets. And some are more shocking – and deadlier – than others…

 

My thoughts

The One will change the way you think about dating and as a 40+ singleton this book’s blurb was incredibly fascinating…I mean, never having to stick your toe in the scary world of dating is somewhat, no not somewhat, massively appealing.

Told in turn by 5 characters (mostly) each with different stories to offer about their experiences of finding The One and what happens when do or don’t.  It certainly helps that the majority of the characters are all pretty ‘normal’ people and certainly relatable in terms of their relationships.  Even the less ‘normal’ ones have this air of appeal about that makes you want to know what makes them tick.

Each chapter ending on its own mini cliffhanger certainly makes for a gripping read and had me wanting to skip to their next chapter to find out what happens so I managed to read this in just a couple of days.  I mean, there’s murder, a bit of romance, kidnap…the whole premise is so enticing but reality always has a way of playing its hand so it can’t all be happy ever after – can it?

I did have the ending for one of the male characters (Nick) pegged differently and would love to have been right about that as I it would have been so much more dramatic given the rest of the book’s content but hey ho, that’ll be one for discussion with other bookish peeps.

I think the author’s stand out performance here is the original plotline and I think it would make an excellent thriller of a movie.  Start picking who you want to see playing these characters guys – that’s my prediction for a forthcoming book to movie adaptation!

Is this a taste of futuristic dating? Would you do it? Would you take the test?

Book links: Goodreads | Waterstones | Amazon

Author links: Twitter | Goodreads

Small print for info
Source: Purchased
No of pages: 416
Publisher: Ebury

#BookReview: Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

What’s it about?

Sometimes it’s the little lies that turn out to be the most lethal…

A murder…a tragic accident…or just parents behaving badly?

What’s indisputable is that someone is dead. But who did what?

 

 

My thoughts

I’ve read one other of Liane Moriarty’s books before (The Husband’s Secret) and remember thinking that what’s between the covers was a lot darker and had more depth to it than what you’d expect from just the cover.  Same again here and I ‘m not gonna lie, I was totally drawn to this book because of the recent TV adaptation!

The book’s format isn’t going to be to everyone’s taste in that the chapters are interspersed with a reporter’s interviewees responses but I liked it and thought it added to the tension and suspense of what was really going on! WHO’S DEAD AND WHO DID IT? Right from the outset we don’t know the answer to either so that really drew me in but by god did it also frustrate me but I tell you what it made me read quicker 🙂

I liked the way this book explored the darker side of everyday life; playground mums (and some dads), school bullying that’s not just the between the students but with this black comedic twist and so much misdirection.

Surprising to find that all of the 3 main women characters are likeable, it’s the majority of the others you’ll have issues with.  I’m now looking forward to being able to watch the TV show somehow because it looks to have been perfectly cast.

Book links: Goodreads | Waterstones | Amazon

Author links: Facebook | Website

Small print for info
Source: ARC – many thanks!
No of pages: 460
Publisher: Penguin

Book Review: The Ice Beneath Her by Camilla Grebe

What’s it about?

A young woman is found beheaded in an infamous business tycoon’s marble-lined hallway.

The businessman, scandal-ridden CEO of the retail chain Clothes & More, is missing without a trace.

But who is the dead woman? And who is the brutal killer who wielded the machete?

Rewind two months earlier to meet Emma Bohman, a sales assistant for Clothes & More, whose life is turned upside down by a chance encounter with Jesper Orre. Insisting that their love affair is kept secret, he shakes Emma’s world a second time when he suddenly leaves her with no explanation.

As frightening things begin to happen to Emma, she suspects Jesper is responsible.
But why does he want to hurt her? And how far would he go to silence his secret lover?

My thoughts

This was our book club read for May and one I was really looking forward to.  The book is marketed as “for fans of I Let You Go” which I loved so of course I had high hopes because when books are compared to or billed as for fans of blah blah blah they don’t always live up to your expectations do they but I’m pleased to say this one did.

Told from three points of view by Emma, Peter and Hanne: Emma a store assistant hiding a secret relationship, Peter an aging police detective with a shitty homelife and zero relationship with his son and Hanne a police advisor, Peter’s jilted lover and wife of an emotional abuser. Plenty to get your teeth into this mystery!

As with murder and crime novels there are scenes of a violent nature which might not suit all readers particularly the scenes of decapitation.  They made me wince but didn’t stop me reading.  It’s reminiscent of the Scandi Noir stuff that has been really popular on TV just lately particularly with the cold freezing dark setting which is enough to chill your bones without any creepy murders.

What really did it for me was what I didn’t see coming and not just because I never pick up on the clues but because the outcome was something I’d never read before in books of this nature – so top marks for this! 🙂

However, the ending was somewhat of an anti-climax given that the rest of the book was quite fast paced and gripping.  As a group we thought the last two chapters would have been better swapped around.  But overall, it’s a really impressive crime procedural debut that would suit fans of The Girl on the Train and Gone Girl.  A solid 4* read for me!

Book links: Goodreads | Waterstones | Amazon

Author links: Twitter | Goodreads

Small print for info
Source: Purchased
No of pages: 400
Publisher: Zaffre