Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The Secrets She Keeps

The Secrets She Keeps by Michael Robotham is a skillfully-written page-turner. More than a thriller, more than a psychological study into the criminal mind's motives, this book asks the important questions:

  • what is a perfect life?
  • why would you forgive an affair?
  • what rights do biological fathers have?
  • what's the worst thing that can happen to you?
  • how does love happen?

And here's the blurb:

How far would you go to create the perfect family?

Agatha is pregnant and works part-time stocking shelves at a grocery store in a ritzy London suburb, counting down the days until her baby is due. As the hours of her shifts creep by in increasing discomfort, the one thing she looks forward to at work is catching a glimpse of Meghan, the effortlessly chic customer whose elegant lifestyle dazzles her. Meghan has it all: two perfect children, a handsome husband, a happy marriage, a stylish group of friends, and she writes perfectly droll confessional posts on her popular parenting blog—posts that Agatha reads with devotion each night as she waits for her absent boyfriend, the father of her baby, to maybe return her calls.

When Agatha learns that Meghan is pregnant again, and that their due dates fall within the same month, she finally musters up the courage to speak to her, thrilled that they now have the ordeal of childbearing in common. Little does Meghan know that the mundane exchange she has with a grocery store employee during a hurried afternoon shopping trip is about to change the course of her not-so-perfect life forever…

Friday, January 05, 2018

The Kind Worth Killing

"The kind worth killing" by Peter Swanson is a psychological thriller, the kind worth reading.

Delayed in London, Ted Severson meets a woman at the airport bar. Over cocktails they tell each other rather more than they should, and a dark plan is hatched - but are either of them being serious, could they actually go through with it and, if they did, what would be their chances of getting away with it?
Back in Boston, Ted's wife Miranda is busy site managing the construction of their dream home, a beautiful house out on the Maine coastline. But what secrets is she carrying and to what lengths might she go to protect the vision she has of her deserved future?

Thursday, December 28, 2017

How hard can it be?

"How hard can it be?" by Allison Pearson is a sequel to the superb "I wonder how she does it". It's about middle-life marriage, mothering teenagers, and getting the job market to understand that 49 is not over the hill.

A must read.

Kate Reddy is counting down the days until she is fifty, but not in a good way. Fifty, in Kate’s mind, equals invisibility. And with hormones that have her in shackles, teenage children who need her there but won’t talk to her and ailing parents who aren’t coping, Kate is in the middle of a sandwich that she isn’t even allowed to eat because of the calories.
She’s back at work after a big break at home, because somebody has to bring home the bacon now that her husband Rich has dropped out of the rat race to master the art of mindfulness. But just as Kate is finding a few tricks to get by in her new workplace, her old client and flame Jack reappears – complicated doesn’t even begin to cover it.
How Hard Can It Be? is a coming of age story for turning fifty. It’s about so much more than a balancing act; it’s about finding out who you are and what you need to feel alive when you’ve got used to being your own last priority. And every page will leave you feeling that there’s a bit of Kate Reddy in all of us.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

The Midnight Line by Lee Child

The Midnight Line by Lee Child, also known as Jack Reacher 22, is as Jack Reacher as you can get. Which is a very good thing. When I sit down to read one of these books, I know my values and morals will be challenged. I know I’m going to be with a guy who is the strong and silent type in a way that’s not a clichĂ©. I also know he’s going to win every fight and bring bush justice unto the baddies. I would probably not want him as a life partner, but I’d love him in my corner in every situation I can think of.

Reacher takes a stroll through a small Wisconsin town and sees a class ring in a pawn shop window: West Point 2005. A tough year to graduate: Iraq, then Afghanistan. The ring is tiny, for a woman, and it has her initials engraved on the inside. Reacher wonders what unlucky circumstance made her give up something she earned over four hard years. He decides to find out. And find the woman. And return her ring. Why not?
So begins a harrowing journey that takes Reacher through the upper Midwest, from a lowlife bar on the sad side of small town to a dirt-blown crossroads in the middle of nowhere, encountering bikers, cops, crooks, muscle, and a missing persons PI who wears a suit and a tie in the Wyoming wilderness.
The deeper Reacher digs, and the more he learns, the more dangerous the terrain becomes. Turns out the ring was just a small link in a far darker chain. Powerful forces are guarding a vast criminal enterprise. Some lines should never be crossed. But then, neither should Reacher.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Don't Let Go by Harlan Coben

"Don't Let Go" is a classic Coben: an old mystery surfacing, secrets, lies, betrayal. As good a suburban thriller as you can get. Read it in one sitting.

Suburban New Jersey Detective Napoleon “Nap” Dumas hasn't been the same since senior year of high school, when his twin brother Leo and Leo’s girlfriend Diana were found dead on the railroad tracks—and Maura, the girl Nap considered the love of his life, broke up with him and disappeared without explanation. For fifteen years, Nap has been searching, both for Maura and for the real reason behind his brother's death. And now, it looks as though he may finally find what he's been looking for.

When Maura's fingerprints turn up in the rental car of a suspected murderer, Nap embarks on a quest for answers that only leads to more questions—about the woman he loved, about the childhood friends he thought he knew, about the abandoned military base near where he grew up, and mostly about Leo and Diana—whose deaths are darker and far more sinister than Nap ever dared imagine.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

The Almost Sisters - Joshilyn Jackson

"The Almost Sisters" by Joshilyn Jackson - in a word: WOW!

If you don't know the beautiful, slightly off-kilter, heart-warming world of Joshilyn Jackson's books, do yourself a favour and get shopping. These are books you want on your shelf, to greet you at the end of a long day; and in your car on CDs, and on your e-reader for when you have five minutes to spare at the dentist and you want to read a few pages of gorgeous prose.

"The Almost Sisters" revisits some themes from "Gods in Alabama" - racism, maternal love, the bond between not-necessarily-biological sisters, old secrets - but it offers a totally different plot and a brand-new set of characters.

You will fall in love, just as I did.

Only read the blurb if you have to. I didn't, and was happy to let the book take me places at its own pace.

Superheroes have always been Leia Birch Briggs’ weakness. One tequila-soaked night at a comics convention, the usually level-headed graphic novelist is swept off her barstool by a handsome and anonymous Batman.
It turns out the caped crusader has left her with more than just a nice, fuzzy memory. She’s having a baby boy—an unexpected but not unhappy development in the thirty-eight year-old’s life. But before Leia can break the news of her impending single-motherhood (including the fact that her baby is biracial) to her conventional, Southern family, her step-sister Rachel’s marriage implodes. Worse, she learns her beloved ninety-year-old grandmother, Birchie, is losing her mind, and she’s been hiding her dementia with the help of Wattie, her best friend since girlhood.
Leia returns to Alabama to put her grandmother’s affairs in order, clean out the big Victorian that has been in the Birch family for generations, and tell her family that she’s pregnant. Yet just when Leia thinks she’s got it all under control, she learns that illness is not the only thing Birchie’s been hiding. Tucked in the attic is a dangerous secret with roots that reach all the way back to the Civil War. Its exposure threatens the family’s freedom and future, and it will change everything about how Leia sees herself and her sister, her son and his missing father, and the world she thinks she knows.

Then She Was Gone

"Then She Was Gone" by Lisa Jewell is a captivating tale of loss and closure. A page-turner, with believable characters.


She was fifteen, her mother's
golden girl. She had her whole life ahead of her.
And then, in the blink of an eye, Ellie was gone.

It’s been ten years since Ellie
disappeared, but Laurel has never given up
hope of finding her daughter.
And then one day a charming and charismatic stranger called Floyd walks into a café and sweeps Laurel off her feet.
Before too long she’s staying the night at this house and being introduced to his nine year old daughter.
Poppy is precocious and pretty - and meeting her completely takes Laurel's breath away.

Because Poppy is the spitting image of Ellie when she was that age.
And now all those unanswered questions that have haunted Laurel come flooding back.

What happened to Ellie? Where did she go?
Who still has secrets to hide?