November 5, 2019 · 10:25 am
I read the Fourth Monkey by JD Barker a while ago and loved it. I then got sent the Fifth to Die which sat on my bookshelf for a while forgotten, until the Sixth Wicked Child landed loudly through the letterbox. The problem with these novels is that they are pretty hefty tomes. As someone who does most of my reading whilst travelling, large books tend to get overlooked in favour of the handy kindle type. So on my recent week off I decided to treat myself by reading Fifth to Die, swiftly followed by Sixth Wicked Child, and what a treat!
The Sixth Wicked Child is the final novel in the 4MK trilogy. The story takes off immediately following Fifth to Die, the hospital is in lock down due to the threat of a virus outbreak, and Detective Sam Porter is on the run. The body count is increasing, and the only link is the words ‘Father Forgive me’ written near them. Porter is still hoping that he can catch Anson Bishop, the main suspect in the killings. Yet when Bishop hands himself in Porter realises that actually in this deadly game of cat and mouse he is not necessarily the cat.
The Sixth Wicked Child is a novel I literally couldn’t put down (luckily I was on holiday!) This is definitely a story where you need to have read the first two before you get to the final one, but they are a treat in themselves. I have thoroughly enjoyed all three of these novels and honestly feel that they are one of the best series I have read for a long time. The crimes are gruesome but the pace of the novels meant that you don’t dwell on that bit. The characters are all well rounded, yet the twists just keep coming, and the final reveal is just not something I saw coming at all.
All the stories are told with the inclusion of diary entries, none of which I have been keen on. Certainly in the Sixth Wicked Child I didn’t feel they worked as diary entries, to me personally they didn’t sound like they were actually written like someone would write a diary. However forget the diary part and read them as ‘flashbacks’ and they add an extra layer to the story.
This is one of those stories where you feel you get to know the characters and can separate good from bad. Then something happens and suddenly you feel like you don’t know who to trust after all. Although this is meant to be a review of The Sixth Wicked Child it is impossible to review it as a stand alone. I am actually really pleased that I had waited to read Fifth to Die because it meant that when I got to the end of it I didn’t have to wait to start the next one. These are a gripping, gruesome, superb novels that I would highly recommend. Just beware that once you start you won’t to stop.
The Sixth Child is available here.
December 14, 2014 · 11:26 am
As you know I am an avid reader, as I suspect are the majority of people who take the time to read this blog (with of course the exception of Mr F – no Scooby Doo is not a crime book, and the Father – a small paperback should not take four years to read) So we all agree that encouraging people to read is a great thing.
Well I’ve had a fantastic idea as to how to get people reading. Provide books in places where people spend hours waiting around with nothing to do. A and E departments for example. I have been lucky enough to have spent the previous 37 years never having been near a hospital apart from birth and work related trips. Well this year I certainly seem to be making up for it. In the past couple of months I’ve had the misfortune to have to visit A and E twice (neither time for myself I hasten to add) Two different departments, neither of which I could fault. However one of the things they both have in common is the waiting around. I have spent literally hours sat on very uncomfortable chairs, surrounded by ill people with nothing to do.
I, of course, in true brownie guide style am always prepared and one of my most favourite things about an android phone is the kindle app. Therefore I can spend a few hours sat around with nothing happening and happily entertain myself with a good book. Yet what about those less prepared than myself?
Hairdressers are another good example. As anyone who ever gets their hair coloured will know there is alot of sitting around. On the whole if your hairdresser is anything like mine the magazines on offer will be ten years out of date and mainly concerned with either weddings, or diets. If neither of those things floats your boat, without a kindle app its a pretty long hour.
There must be loads of other places like this, airport lounges, doctors surgeries, waiting to be served at Morrisons cheese counter. I think there is a whole market out there for short story writers. There could be a specific compendium of short stories for specific places, the 4 hour short story for a&e, the hour long stories for the hair dressers, the never ending short story for the cheese counter.
Of course my great idea might not be altogether practical judging by the state of some of those in a&e on a Friday night, but for the rest of us it would be a great way to get reading, although fingers crossed I won’t be needing the a&e short stories again anytime soon.
May 24, 2014 · 12:17 pm
After the upheaval of the past few months I’m now back at work as normal which is good (honestly!) Unfortunately this means I’ve had to curtail my addiction to watching back to back episodes of criminal minds. However it does mean lots of train travel again, which if nothing else means good kindle book reading opportunities. Last week I had a trip up to Scotland so armed with my programme for the festival, I downloaded (or uploaded I’m never certain of the difference) some books and got stuck in.
My first read of the journey was ‘The Cry’ by Helen Fitzgerald. She is talking in the session called Worse Things Happen at Home. I think that this was the first book I’ve read by the author which I’m very surprised about as it was excellent.
Joanna, her husband Alistair, and their new baby son are travelling to Australia from Scotland. They are going in the hope of winning custody of Alistair’s daughter. When their son goes missing they become involved in a widespread media campaign to try and find him. However obviously things are not as straightforward as they seem and their lives soon start to fall apart.
It’s very hard to review this book without giving away any of the plot. The story is told through the eyes of both Joanna and Alexandra the ex-wife and flits between their viewpoints. There is also a jump around in timeline, as the story slips between what happened on the actual flight, the aftermath after they’ve lost the baby, and also the outcome. This adds to the build up and suspense as everytime you think you know what happened something else changes.
Whilst I throughly enjoyed this novel, I did think that some of the actions of the main characters were a little unbelievable but as I’ve often said, in fiction you have to sometimes suspend the truth a bit to enjoy a good story. Equally I don’t think any of us really know how we would react to a stressful situation until it happens. I thought the description of the crying baby on the plane, and the reaction of the others around her was a great way of building up to the main crux of the plot. As someone who would have been complaining and wondering why the child wasn’t being shut up, I hope that I’d now think twice in that situation. There is a certain element of predictability regarding elements of the plot but I suspect that’s done on purpose as it is used to great effect to build up the tension leading to the eventual, and I thought unforeseen, climax.
I would certainly recommend this book to others, especially if you like the style of story that is being given the term ‘domestic noir’. It’s one of my favourite types of fiction and makes a nice break sometimes from the more hard-nosed style of detective novel, which is not to say these stories are any less gritty or unsettling.
I think the ‘Worse Things Happen at Home’ panel is going to be excellent as alongside Helen Fitzgerald is the lovely Julia Crouch who I was fortunate enough to sit with at dinner last year. Both excellent authors, and I look forward to reading more of their books soon. In the meantime I’ll be downloading the other panellists novels ready for my next trip out.
Filed under book review, Theakstons Festival
Tagged as #topcrime2014, book reading opportunities, book review, criminal minds, glasgow, helen fitzgerald, julia crouch, the cry, theakstons crime festival, train