Archive for books

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 – 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 – Scoundrels by Major Victor Cornwall and Major St. John Trevelyan

Posted in Books, Netgalley with tags , , , , , , on October 23, 2018 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

Scoundrels

Farrago [Publication date 01.07.18]

Hits you like a battering ram, ‘Scoundrels’ is NOT for the feint hearted or the PC brigade. It is like classic Tom Sharpe meets Monty Python, with a dash of Fifty Shades.

Based on the memoirs of two retired majors they recall their initiation into the Scoundrels club. A club which carries out missions others would baulk at and these missions lead the two majors to gate crash Hitler’s birthday celebrations, go undercover to catch a spy and try to conquer Everest.

Like any good boy’s own adventure, they have an arch-nemesis, Hansclapp, who keeps popping up causing mayhem for the pair throughout the book.

You will either love this book, which has some genuinely laugh out loud moments, coupled with parts that leave you a tad off colour, or you will be repulsed and email a complaint to the publishers forthwith. Quite unlike anything I have read in many a year and I think that’s a good thing?!

Glory Hunter by Brian Darling

Posted in Books, Football, Stoke City, Stoke City FC, The Premiership with tags , , , , , on February 12, 2018 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

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Brian Darling is a glory hunter in that he was raised in Rugby and chose to support Stoke as they were going through a purple patch in the early 1970’s when he started supporting Stoke.

His memoir recalls not only watching Stoke, he adds in his career in the banking world which may not be of interest to some, however he gives an interesting insight as to how banking has changed over the years. Fear not though as football is the main focus and Stoke fans will enjoy the highs and lows mentioned in the book. Be it the classy players we have had like Jimmy Greenoff, Mark Stein, Ricardo Fuller, Gordon Banks and Peter Shilton to name but a few to a few donkeys like Keith Scott.

You don’t need to be a Stoke supporter to enjoy this book, as Brian gets onto the printed page the joy of seeing your team win and the abject despair when you get relegated or lose a big cup game (losing to Man City in the FA Cup final still hurts…)

Highly recommended for Stoke fans as a must read and for any lover of football fan memoirs.

Book review: THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW by AJ Finn

Posted in Authors, Books with tags , , , , , on January 2, 2018 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

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HarperCollins UK (Publication date 26.01.18)

Debut psychological thriller from AJ Finn, who has been gaining rave reviews from some big name authors.

The story focuses on child psychologist Anna Fox who has not left her home in over ten months due to a life changing event, that is slowly revealed through the course of the book. She spends her days online, in particular a forum for fellow agoraphobics, and watching her neighbours, especially when a new family the Russells move in. The book really gathers pace once Anna hears a scream from the Russells’ house and then all manner of events are set in motion. You’ll have to read the book as no spoilers here, save to say the ending will catch many surprise.

It is a classic page turner, I wanted to keep reading a few pages more just to see what happens – a sign of a good psychological thriller. Downside is that a couple of twists you can guess, however it is a highly readable debut and looking forward to the second novel from this author.

Bryant and May – The Wild Chamber by Christopher Fowler

Posted in Authors, Books, Netgalley with tags , , , , , on October 20, 2017 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

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The latest instalment of the series featuring the elderly detectives Bryant and May and their colleagues in the Peculiar Crimes Unit (PCU). The wild chambers in the title refers to the various parks in London, which feature heavily in the book as Christopher Fowler continues to give potted histories and oddball facts about London and its peoples through the ages. Indeed Arthur Bryant has vivid hallucinations following some lifesaving treatment and meets various characters in these who help him solve the case, including a cameo by a young Queen Elizabeth II.

The PCU are tasked with catching a possible serial killer who makes their kills in the parks of London. In the background the PCU’s arch enemy Leslie Faraday plots to close the PCU down and all the PCU characters are back including Bryant’s suave partner John May, along with constables Colin and Meera with their ongoing ‘will they, wont’ they’ become an item. There is an added character this time as an exchange German policewoman, Steffi Vesta, joins the team hoping to pick up some good policing tips!

Christopher Fowler cleverly uses the characters in his books to make comments on the current social and cultural landscapes in London, a city he loves and that comes across in his writing. If you have never read a Bryant & May novel you are missing out and this is a good a place to start as any. They are a winning mix of ‘cosy crime’ with a supernatural edge and a good dose of humour.