I am a big fan of Before I Go To Sleep by SJ Watson, therefore I was really pleased to get the chance to read his latest novel, Final Cut.
Final Cut is set in the fictional town of Blackwood Bay, a formally busy seaside town now struggling to survive in a world of cheap package holidays. Alex is a film maker who grew up in the Bay and is commissioned to make a ‘fly on the wall’ style documentary about the town. She is not keen to revisit the place she grew up in and knows that something bad happened to her, yet she has no memory of the events. When a young girl goes missing the lives of the villagers start to unravel as secrets start to emerge.
I really enjoyed this novel. Final Cut is an interesting premise starting with the idea that everyone nowadays is a filmmaker, as people in the village are being encouraged to film themselves and then upload it to a website. It was not what I would call fast paced, it is very character led and there is a lot of conversation, but that for me was what made it interesting. It felt a very compelling read with a sense of menace running through.
The writing is excellent and conjours up some vivid pictures of a quaint but run down seaside town. The book follows a ‘now and then’ storyline as we find out what happened to Alex after she left the town, and also the village as it is now. I found both plots to be interesting which is often not the case in dual narratives where I often find myself skipping through one storyline fast to get back to the more interesting one. The story itself is good although it did go a little flat in the middle, but I suspect that was mainly because I was so keen to find out what was going on that I got a bit frustrated with no one talking. I like the unreliable narrator as a hook, and you can’t get much more unreliable than someone who has little memory of her past.
Overall I very much enjoyed Final Cut. To find out what others on the tour thought of it visit the other stops on the blog tour.
As I’ve mentioned many times, I read a lot more than I review. A lot of that is down to the fact that I love to read, and tend to move immediately from one book to another. Then I end up forgetting about the review. Annoyingly that happens even when I love a book. My scatty-ness also often means that I think I’ve reviewed things and it’s only when I go back to check I realise I haven’t done at all.
One such author that has fallen foul of this is John Marrs. I know that I have read a number of his books and that I have loved them all. Therefore when I was asked to join a blog tour for his latest novel, The Minders I jumped at the chance. However it’s not until I look back I realise I haven’t reviewed any of them which is very remiss of me.
I personally think John Marrs is one of the most interesting authors I have come across in a long time. Each of his novels is a standalone with a story that has kept me hooked. I have just finished listening via audible to What Lies Between Us, a super twisty tale of two women living together. His previous The One about finding love through DNA testing will put you off dating for life. I have thoroughly enjoyed them all, in fact looking at John’s back catalogue there are only two I haven’t yet read, The Passengers and his latest The Minders. Well I intend to change that and am very lucky to have recently received a copy of The Minders which I can’t wait to start. This time I promise I’ll remember to review it too!
The Minders by John Marrs
In the 21st century, information is king. But computers can be hacked and files can be broken into – so a unique government initiative has been born. Five ordinary people have been selected to become Minders – the latest weapon in thwarting cyberterrorism. Transformed by a revolutionary medical procedure, the country’s most classified information has been taken offline and turned into genetic code implanted inside their heads. Together, the five know every secret – the truth behind every government lie, conspiracy theory and cover up. In return, they’re given the chance to leave their problems behind and a blank slate to start their lives anew. But not everyone should be trusted, especially when they each have secrets of their own they’ll do anything to protect…
I have been lucky enough to be able to follow the Kay Hunter series from the beginning, and whilst I must admit to being a couple behind I was still very excited to be asked to join the blog tour for the latest ‘Turn to Dust’
Turn to Dust starts with the discovery of a naked body in a field, it looks like he may have fallen out of a plane. Yet the injuries soon point to a much more brutal cause of death. When Detective Hunter finds out that someone has been offering money in exchange for information about the dead body she begins to realise that this case is not going to have a simple ending. When a key witness goes missing Kay and her team have a race on, to stop more people ending up dead.
Turn to Dust by Rachel Amphlett is the 9th in the series featuring Detective Kay Hunter, and I have to say I think they keep getting better. I really like the character of Kay, she has a relatively normal marriage and just wants to focus on doing a good job. I like the relationship between the two and I think that Adam’s job as a vet and his love of saving stray animals adds a great comedic element to what is a pretty sad tale.
I always like the style of writing by Rachel, the chapters are relatively short and this makes it a pretty fast paced read. Although it is part of a series I think it works as a standalone too, there is enough back story of the characters to help you get to know them, but not so much that you feel like you are reading the same book again and again (which can be a tricky balance) As with her previous novels as well, she manages to make the murder line the main story throughout with the characters pushing the investigation along.
This is one of those stories that is difficult to review without giving away the plot, but it will certainly make you think about the way that people on the edge of ‘normal’ society are treated, and how any of us could one day end up having to ask for help.
I would highly recommend this series, in fact now I’ve finished Turn to Dust I intend to go and fill in the gaps of my Kay Hunter knowledge and read the couple that I’ve missed!
I am delighted today to welcome author Sherryl Clark to the blog. Sherryl’s latest crime novel is Dead and Gone, which is the second in her Judi Westerholme series, the first being Trust Me, I’m Dead.
Thanks very much for joining me Sherryl, firstly can I ask have you always been a writer? No, I was a great reader in school but I didn’t write much other than school work. After leaving school I trained as a librarian (more books!) and then travelled and did other jobs. I really started writing in my late 20s, and went to university then and studied literature and writing. Since then it’s been a constant in my life, mostly short stories and poetry, and then later novels and childrens books.
You have some fantastic lead characters in your novels such as Judi and Heath, are they inspired by people you know? Not really. It’s more that they are made up of little bits of lots of people, and probably a little bit of me. Judi is much more gutsy than me! I like complex characters who have a lot more going on under the surface than they reveal, so I keep building mine until they feel “right” and real to me.
Can you tell us what a typical working day looks like for you? These days I start with a walk and/or gym first (I used to leave this until last and then forget). After that, it’s a mixed bag. I usually have editing or manuscript assessment work to do, so I keep an eye on their deadlines and work on that on a regular basis, and I write. Neither are for fixed hours – I’m not that disciplined! But I have a writing accountability partner and we check in at the end of each day – that way if I haven’t written any words (or pages of revision), I have to confess. The lock down/self isolating we’ve had to do hasn’t really changed any of that, apart from my gym was closed for ages.
How would you spend a perfect afternoon away from work? (Pre lockdown of course) At a great movie, or wandering around good bookshops and spending lots of money on books. I love how movies in a cinema really take you out of yourself. It’s not like watching them at home on the TV screen at all.
I’m definitely with you there on the bookshops! Finally can you tell us a little about what you are working on next? I‘ve just started Judi Number 3 so very soon I’ll need to sort out more of the plot. I’ve just finished Book 2 in another series I’m working on, and that one was set mostly in Finland, where I had a writing residency last year. I’m waiting for my Finnish policeman to read it and tell me what I got wrong!
That sounds interesting, and I look forward to reading it. Thanks so much for joining me today Sherryl.