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

Book Review: He Said/She Said by Erin Kelly

What’s it about?

In the hushed aftermath of a total eclipse, Laura witnesses a brutal attack.

She and her boyfriend Kit call the police, and in that moment, four lives change forever.

Fifteen years on, Laura and Kit live in fear.

And while Laura knows she was right to speak out, she also knows that you can never see the whole picture: something is always hidden… something she never could have guessed.

My thoughts

Set against the natural phenomena of various eclipses this was one of those books you go into thinking it’s about one thing but then ends up being something else.  You know with the title and the first few chapters what you think it’ll be but that’s where it ends.

As a female reader my natural and first instinct was to believe the ‘she said’ but as I read on, and only by my own interpretation and prediction (not what I read), I thought we were heading down the road of hang on a minute, what if she’s lying and I shouldn’t be giving her the benefit of the doubt.  As regular readers will know, I’m crap at predicting what’s coming and needless to say it was no different in this case 😉

I thought this book was brilliantly written although somewhat slow in places that I wanted it all to move on a little quicker but I couldn’t fault the drama, the tension and all the twisty bits down to the last sentence and I didn’t have a clue what was coming (coz I’m rubbish!).

Book links: Goodreads | Amazon

Author links: Twitter | Website

Small print for info
Source: ARC – many thanks to Hodder & Stoughton
No of pages: 416
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

Book Review: I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh

i-let-you-goWhat’s it about?

In a split second, Jenna Gray’s world descends into a nightmare. Her only hope of moving on is to walk away from everything she knows to start afresh. Desperate to escape, Jenna moves to a remote cottage on the Welsh coast, but she is haunted by her fears, her grief and her memories of a cruel November night that changed her life forever.

Slowly, Jenna begins to glimpse the potential for happiness in her future. But her past is about to catch up with her, and the consequences will be devastating . . .


My thoughts

I can remember the thrill and the buzz around this book when it was first published and in one respect I’m glad I waited to read it but also I can’t believe I waited THAT long because flipping ‘eck I haven’t read such a good book in such a long time.  And I haven’t read a book with such twists since Gone Girl (not comparing, just saying); a book where I’ve had to go back through the early chapters to check what I’ve read and see if I missed something obvious.

I enjoyed the alternating chapters between the police investigation and other characters but oh my the chapters that were from Ian’s point of view were exceptionally horrifying; I can’t quite grasp how the author managed to portray these scenes of domestic violence so well that they made my stomach churn.  It wasn’t even necessarily about the violence but the subtle verbal put downs to knock confidence that made my blood boil.

Everything just works in this book: the style, the pace, the writing, the characters, I can’t really think of anything I didn’t like or could fault and it doesn’t come as any surprise that the author’s background is as a police officer as the police investigation came across as incredibly authentic.

If you haven’t read this book a) where have you been and b) read it now!

Book Links: Goodreads | Amazon

Author Links: Twitter | Website

Small print for info
Source:  Purchased
No of pages: 384
Publisher: Sphere

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Book Review: The Gift by Louise Jensen

the-giftWhat’s it about?

The perfect daughter is dead. And a secret is eating her family alive…

Jenna is given another shot at life when she receives a donor heart from a girl called Callie. Eternally grateful to Callie and her family, Jenna gets closer to them, but she soon discovers that Callie’s perfect family is hiding some very dark secrets …

Callie’s parents are grieving, yet Jenna knows they’re only telling her half the story. Where is Callie’s sister Sophie? She’s been ‘abroad’ since her sister’s death but something about her absence doesn’t add up. And when Jenna meets Callie’s boyfriend Nathan, she makes a shocking discovery.

Jenna knows that Callie didn’t die in an accident. But how did she die? Jenna is determined to discover the truth but it could cost her everything; her loved ones, her sanity, even her life.

My thoughts

I’m afraid I jumped on that bandwagon to see what the fuss was all about with this book and I’m afraid I was left waiting for more.  I’m aware I’m in the minority as every other reader I know has loved this book and this is somewhat an unpopular opinion.

I found the whole cellular memory an interesting concept; although I felt I needed to suspend all disbelief for this premise to work.

My main problem was that I didn’t gel with Jenna, I found a number of her actions, decisions and conversations implausible that made me eye roll rather than fear for her.  I found myself getting irritated with the plot rather than absorbed in the intended thrill for example the number of times artists and songs were referred to; it felt more like name dropping than trying to evoke an atmosphere.  It’s just a cold…repeated over and over when it clearly isn’t just grated rather than added to my sympathies and concern for Jenna and what did happen to Nathan? Why did he not take this further?

Shame really as I’ve heard the author’s debut novel, The Sister, was exceptional.  Having said all that, the book had a good ending with great pace with a culprit I didn’t see coming. Sorry!

Book Links: Goodreads | Amazon

Author Links: Website | Twitter

Small print for info
Source:  ARC – many thanks!
No of pages: 354
Publisher: Bookouture

Book Review: Thin Air by Michelle Paver

thin-airWhat’s it about?

The Himalayas, 1935.

Kangchenjunga. Third-highest peak on earth. Greatest killer of them all.

Five Englishmen set off from Darjeeling, determined to conquer the sacred summit. But courage can only take them so far – and the mountain is not their only foe.

As the wind dies, the dread grows. Mountain sickness. The horrors of extreme altitude. A past that will not stay buried.

And sometimes, the truth does not set you free.

My thoughts

This was our book club read for December and as we hadn’t read a ghost story I was strangely looking forward to being scared.

mmm well in that sense it was a tadge disappointing as it wasn’t scary at all.  I’d had expectations of it keeping me awake at night or playing on my mind at other times of the day but it’s not that kind of ghost story.  It is however very atmospheric and haunting in a sense that any place that that’s so white, silent, dangerous and desolate would be.

I appreciated the time that must have been spent on the research and the authenticity the book has, the historical aspects of climbing, the pain, the endurance, the equipment they had as this was all really interesting stuff.  Some parts were even a little humourous; there’s a scene where they’re all taking tea at something like 15,000ft which seems somewhat absurd but so very British and of its time.

As I was reading I couldn’t stop picturing the movie Vertical Limit throughout even though that’s set in modern times but it just helped me visualise the difficulties and extremeness of the task they had set themselves.

Overall a good historical novel based on climbing but don’t go into it expecting to not be able to turn out the light at night – you’ll be fine!

As a side note, all the others in the group enjoyed the book also but comments were passed about the cost of the book (which was £10 on Amazon and someone paid £13 in Waterstones at the time of purchase in late November 2016).

Book links: Goodreads | Amazon

Author links: Website | Twitter

Small print for info
Source: Purchased
No of pages: 240
Publisher: Orion

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