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Reviews Published

Thursday, January 07, 2021

The Dry - the movie

 As a fan of Jane Harper, I waited not even a day to see the movie of her debut thriller, The Dry. I wasn't disappointed. The script is good, the cinematography breathtaking, and the acting superb.

Read the book first, of course. But definitely see the movie.



Twisted by Steve Cavanagh

Twisted by Steve Cavanagh is different from his usual fast-paced Eddie Flynn books, both because it doesn't feature Eddie Flynn and because the narrating voice seems different: not as suspenseful, not as engaging.

Don't get me wrong, the premise is good, and the multiple twists twisty. It's just that the writing style didn't land with me.

I'm not going to include any details, because the less you know about the plot, the more enjoyable the experience.




Friday, October 30, 2020

The Survivors by Jane Harper

I'll be forever grateful to my book club for introducing me to many, many beautiful books. I fell in love with Jane Harper's writing when I read her debut thriller, and she continues to deliver atmospheric character-driven suspense.

"The Survivors" ticks all the boxes: a sense of place so strong you can smell the chilly salt in the Tasmanian air, characters that come to life and sit next to you while you read, a few old secrets. It's a page-turner, it's escapist, it makes you think long after you've reached the end.

In case you still need the blurb:

Kieran Elliott's life changed forever on the day a reckless mistake led to devastating consequences.

The guilt that still haunts him resurfaces during a visit with his young family to the small coastal community he once called home.

Kieran's parents are struggling in a town where fortunes are forged by the sea. Between them all is his absent brother, Finn.

When a body is discovered on the beach, long-held secrets threaten to emerge. A sunken wreck, a missing girl, and questions that have never washed away...  



Tuesday, September 22, 2020

The Silence

I want to say that "The Silence" by Susan Allott has left me silent, and I'm so worried this will sound like a turn of phrase,but I'll say it anyway. After turning the last page, I thought for a bit. Then I read the Author's Note (which I rarely do, because it usually contains a bunch of thank-you notes to people I don't know), then I thought some more.

"The Silence" is not really a thinking book. It's a who-dun-it that swiftly switches between 1967 and 1997, between Australia and England. It's a fast read, it's an engaging read. And it leaves you sitting quietly and thinking for a bit. About the harsh beauty of Australia, about its history, about the Stolen Generations.




Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Crow Lake by Mary Lawson

This is the best thing I've read in a long time. I couldn't make up my mind whether to race on to see how the story unfolded, or pause every few pages to prolong the pleasure of being in Crow Lake. Mary Lawson (a Canadian writer, and, according to the Wikipedia, a distant relative of LM Montgomery) has created a masterpiece of balance between the past and the present, between the mystery and the microscopic mindfulness, between beautiful writing and simplicity.

What is the book about? Family, love, destiny, happiness, living in a small community in Northern Ontario.


Saturday, July 11, 2020

The Secrets We Kept

"The Secrets We Kept" by Lara Prescott is a fantastic read: engaging, thought-provoking, moving. I used to think I didn't care for spy thrillers - now I know I didn't care for male-centric spy thrillers. Women spies - bring them on!

The book follows women who work for the CIA during the Cold War. Over in Russia, the plot revolves around the woman who was the inspiration for "Doctor Zhivago", a book that the CIA is hoping to turn into an anti-Soviet weapon.

As you fall in love with the characters, you get a glimpse of what life was like in the 1950s on both sides of the Iron Curtain.


Cry Baby

This one's different! I've been following Mark Billingham since his first official visit to New Zealand (the Auckland Writers' Festival), where he shared the podium with two other authors and joked that with that many people in the audience, we could all go up and hold the presentation in his hotel room. I fell in love with his humour right then and promptly bought "Sleepyhead" and all those that came after. I don't regret it.

***THIS REVIEW CONTAINS MINOR SPOILERS***

The plot of "Cry Baby", written two decades after "Sleepyhead", actually predates it. Don't let it be the first Tom Thorne book you read, because you'll deprive yourself of the little "aha" moments when Tom meets Phil Hendricks for the first time, or walks away from his future flat in Kentish Town, or visits his parents. "Cry Baby" is a throwback to the times when people didn't carry cell phones and there was no CCTV footage to do the police legwork - and it's also a throwback to a younger, less cynical, Tom.

Of course, if you don't want to commit to reading 16 Tom Thorne books before "Cry Baby", go right ahead. It can be enjoyed as a stand-alone.