Archive for book review

Book review – Their Little Secret by Mark Billingham

Posted in Books, review with tags , , , , on May 21, 2019 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

Little, Brown [Publication date 02.05.19]

Description

She says she’s an ordinary mother.
He knows a liar when he sees one.

Sarah thinks of herself as a normal single mum. It’s what she wants others to think of her. But the truth is, she needs something new, something thrilling.

Meanwhile, DI Tom Thorne is investigating a woman’s suicide, convinced she was driven to do it by a man who preys on vulnerable women.

A man who is about to change Sarah’s life.

This the sixteenth book to feature detective Tom Thorne and some authors of a long running series like this may see the series start to run out of ideas, not so for Mark Billingham. In ‘Their Little Secret’ Billingham gives the reader a roller coaster ride of a psychological thriller.

Like his previous book Billingham taps into a topical headline, that of people being conned out of money by very deceptive con artists. In this book it is Conrad, who makes a living out of deceiving others. Running parallel to his character is Sarah, who is quite possibly one of the most disturbing characters Billingham has created in his books. Needless to say Thorne and Tanner have their work cut out with these two.

One of his best books to date, a classic page turner.

Book review: Then She Vanishes by Claire Douglas

Posted in Authors, Books, crime writers with tags , , , , , , on May 13, 2019 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

Michael Joseph [Publication date 27.06.19]

The blurb…

Everything changed the night Flora disappeared.

Heather and Jess were best friends – until the night Heather’s sister vanished.

Jess has never forgiven herself for the lie she told that night. Nor has Heather.

But now Heather is accused of an awful crime.

And Jess is forced to return to the sleepy seaside town where they grew up, to ask the question she’s avoided for so long:

What really happened the night Flora disappeared?

This is the second book by Claire Douglas that I have read and she is now on my ‘must read’ authors list. The story is told from various characters’ viewpoints and the story also switches from present day to the past, however it is not too difficult for the reader to keep up with it all!

I particularly like the reporter Jess’s character as she faces some tough choices when reporting on the case as she is personally and emotionally involved.

If you enjoyed TV dramas such as ‘Broadchurch’ I would heartily recommend this book as each of the main characters have a skeleton or two in their closets and these impact on the story as the book progresses.

Highly recommended.

Book review – Reasons to be Cheerful by Nina Stibbe

Posted in Books, review with tags , , , , , , on April 27, 2019 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

Penguin Books [Publication date 28.03.19]

The blurb –

‘When people in the village heard I was about to start working in the city they tried to unsettle me with tales of woe. The sun, blotted out by the tall buildings, couldn’t shine and the rain was poisoned by the toxic fumes that poured from the sock factories. My skin would be covered in pimples from the hell of it all’

So begins a young woman’s journey to adulthood. Lizzie Vogel leaves her alcoholic, novel-writing mother and heads for Leicester to work for a racist, barely competent dentist obsessed with joining the freemasons.

The verdict –

After reading a fair few crime novels and the odd non-fiction title, it is always nice to read a bit of everyday life fiction. Nina Sibbe has an easy going writing style, with the main character Lizzie, one may readers of a certain age many identify with, or at least the time she was growing up in, namely the 80’s.

There is plenty of dental work description, often quite graphic for those who don’t like going to the dentist! The plot is a coming of age as Lizzie really sees what a messed up world adult life is and her mother is one of the better characters, as she continues her quest to have a book published by her favourite publisher Faber & Faber.

An easy going read, with some genuinely funny moments and perfect for a bit of escapist fiction.

Book review – Cold As The Grave by James Oswald

Posted in Authors, Books with tags , , , , , on April 16, 2019 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

The ninth book in the Inspector McLean series and you don’t have to read them in order, although like any long running crime series the author will refer back to events in the past covered in previous books.

The opening sees the discovery of a mummified body hidden in the dark corner of a basement room, a room which seems to have been left untouched for decades. The plot unfolds from here to include a mysterious circus, human trafficking, a 60’s rock star and a djinn.

James Oswald is similar to John Connolly in that both add in supernatural elements to their books and they work well, also like Stephen King’s excellent Mercedes man trilogy.

Although used a lot in book reviews, ‘Cold As The Grave’ is a proper page turner as you want to keep on reading to see what happens next, such are the twists and turns in the plot. Highly recommended and James Oswald joins my select list of ‘must read’ crime writers.

Book review – A Beautiful Corpse by Christi Daugherty

Posted in Authors, Books with tags , , , , , , , , on March 26, 2019 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake
Harper Collins [Pub Date 04 Mar 2019]

It’s a thin line between love and murder…

A tense new thriller, perfect for fans of Clare Mackintosh, Cara Hunter and Lisa Jewell

A murder that shocks a city… 
Shots ring out on one of Savannah’s most famous streets. A beautiful law student lies dead.
  
A case full of secrets and lies…
Three men close to the victim are questioned. All of them claim to love her. All of them say they are innocent of her murder.
 
An investigation that could prove deadly…
As crime reporter Harper McClain unravels a tangled story of obsession and jealousy, the killer focuses on her. He’s already killed one woman. Will he kill another?

Second book featuring crime reporter Harper McClain, this time she is investigating the murder of a law student and the events that unfold afterwards, including plenty of references to the first novel.

Different view as it is not a standard police procedural novel, instead it focues on a murder from the press viewpoint and Harper McClain soon becomes entangled in the case in a dangerous way. Fast paced, with minimal description, Christi Daugherty has written an enjoyable thriller. Good enough to have the reader looking forward to the next McClain novel.

Book review – The Quaker by Liam McIlvanney

Posted in Authors, Books, crime writers, Netgalley with tags , , , , , on February 17, 2019 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake
Harper Collins [Publication date 28.06.18]

It is easy to see why ‘The Quaker’ has won such high praise and the Scottish Crime Book of the Year award, as this is a proper page turner and one with plenty of twists & turns in the plot.

Set in 1969 and Glasgow has been brought to its knees by a serial killer spreading fear throughout the city – the Quaker. DI McCormack is called in to report on the murder investigations and whether the case should be kept open after no success in tracking down the killer.

Set in 1969 and Glasgow has been brought to its knees by a serial killer spreading fear throughout the city – the Quaker. DI McCormack is called in to report on the murder investigations and whether the case should be kept open after no success in tracking down the killer.

McIlvanney vividly creates the atmosphere of the late 60’s in Glasgow, where gangsters and corrupt coppers murky the investigation into finding the Quaker, DI McCormack himself hides a secret that could jeopardise the investigation as it reaches its climax.

Never too graphic, but with plenty of menace coming through from the villainous characters involved.

One of the best crime novels I have read in a long time, Liam McIlvanney should be on your ‘must read’ list if not already on there.

Book review – Jog On by Bella Mackie

Posted in Authors, Books, Netgalley with tags , , , , , , on January 21, 2019 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

Publication date 27.12.18

The book is part memoir, as Bella Mackie opens up honestly about her anxiety and personal troubles, and part motivational book as you certainly want to go running after reading it. She has an easy writing style, drawing upon published works and studies on depression & anxiety, along with interviews she has conducted with people with anxiety and depression.

A book that is recommended not only for those with anxiety and related issues, but those with a general interest in metal health and the benefits of running. The book does contain useful tips on starting out on your jogging/running journey, although don’t go expecting this to be a beginner’s guide to running as it is much more than this.