When this book dropped through my door courtesy of Indie Novella it was definitely intriguing. The cover being a suited and booted man with a panda head.
Mr Jones begins with Ben and his daughter on their way to school. It’s ten months since the sudden disappearance of Ben’s wife and he’s still struggling to come to terms with it whilst parenting his eight year old daughter Imogen. When he finds a strange young girl who appears to be living on her own in a derelict house it is the start of a descent into a weird and scary place. Ben starts to hear odd noises in the house, and Imogen begins to receive messages from her mother.
I really wasn’t sure what to expect from this book. Originally I’d just left it on the shelf but the cover kept calling me so I gave it a go, which I’m very glad I did. As all my regular readers of the blog will know (Hi Mr T and the Sister – don’t think I’ve missed anyone!) I’m not a fan of the supernatural and don’t usually like a supernatural ending. However this book was absolutely superb and without giving too much away personally the ending can be interpreted in different ways. Supernatural or human breakdown? I confess that for the first couple of pages I wasn’t immediately gripped but a chapter in and I was hooked.
The story focuses on Ben who is struggling to cope after his wife goes missing. He is a really interesting character that I felt huge sympathy for, yet at the same time I was frustrated by some of his actions. His interactions with the other parents sometimes took turns that made me want to shout no at the page, but his relationship with his daughter was one of love yet desperation.
As I’ve said it’s difficult to review without giving too much away. One of the elements I really liked was the ambiguity around both the story and the characters. There was a real sense of menace coming off the page at points and the ending was equally thrilling and frustrating in equal measure. I would definitely recommend Mr Jones if you want a gripping yet unsettling story.
Sometimes I find that with the fabulous amount of new books on offer the longer running series can fall off my radar even if I have loved the previous ones. This is what had happened with Jonathan Kellerman and the Alex Delaware series. Therefore I was really pleased to be sent his latest one City of the Dead.
City of the Dead begins with a dead man who whilst originally thought to have been run over actually seems to have been thrown into the side of a van. However things take a more sinister turn when a trail of blood leads the detectives to the body of a young women. The woman turns out to have a troubled background and the case gets even more complicated as the investigations leads us into the sordid side of LA.
I really enjoyed this story. Despite the murder and crime it felt like the type of story that could be described as a caper (the frolicsom crime type, not the pickled berry), lots of red herrings and dead ends but not so many that it became confusing.
I liked the characters within it, Alex is a psychologist who helps the police out on cases when needed and is an all round nice bloke. The friendship between Alex and detective Milo Sturgis is an interesting one, and I like the fact they work together with mutual respect rather than it just being who can use who the most. I really enjoy the mix of police procedural and psychological thriller that is created by having the two characters together.
The descriptions of the city are incredibly vivid and it conjoured up a pretty murky desperate place where criminals are around every corner.
Although this is the 37 book in the series I think it could be read as a standalone as the focus is on the crimes not necessarily the detectives. However if you are in the market for investing some time and starting a new long running series then start dig out When The Bow Breaks and get stuck in.
The Long Weekend is sadly not a description of a nice few days away, instead it’s the focus of the latest blog tour that I was lucky enough to be invited on to.
The Long Weekend by Gilly McMillan starts with three friends arriving for a weekend away at an isolated farm house in the middle of the Moors. When they arrive they find a note that has been left telling them that one of their husbands is going to be murdered. As a storm hits they are stranded in the farm house with no phone signal and no way of contacting their families to find out what is happening. As the three friends become increasingly desperate to find out what is going on their friendship starts to fracture and the tension boils over.
The Long Weekend was a good story that I read over a weekend. What started off as a seemingly ‘run of the mill’ wild weekend story soon became something more intriguing as the stranded wives start to fear for their husbands and you start to find out about their backgrounds and their relationships.
The characters were not particularly likeable, in fact other than the daughter they are all pretty unpleasant. However I felt that this gave the story a different edge. You weren’t really rooting for any of the main characters, yet still I was compelled to see how it all played out. The story is told from multiple points of view not only the main characters but also a mysterious third voice who is clearly unhinged. There was also a third strand to the story which was that of the farmer and his wife trying to make a living against the odds which was quite moving.
I found this quite a clever twisty story. The numerous unreliable narrators did get a little confusing at the start, but it soon became clear. I have a read a few of the novels by Gilly Macmillan and have always found them to be very enjoyable and this was no exception.
To find out what others thought of The Long Weekend look out for the next stops on the blog tour.
Deity is the latest in the six stories series by Matt Wesolowski. I have devoured all of these books so was very excited to be invited onto the blog tour of his latest.
Pop superstar Zach Crystal is the mysterious singer at the centre of the newest Six Stories podcast hosted by internet sensation Scott King. Zach died in a fire at his mansion. Since then there have been numerous allegations made against the recluse. Was he really an abusive monster like his critics say or was he the caring charity worker his fans believe? It is down to Scott to try and find out the truth.
This was another gripping story that I thoroughly enjoyed. As with all of the series, this book is split into 6 podcast episodes, for each one a different person is interviewed. Interspersed throughout is an interview that was recorded with Zach just before he died. I really like this style of storytelling, it is short and to the point and you know that at every episode you get a certain closure whilst still having the cliff hanger to keep you reading.
The story was interesting and kept me turning the pages (well pressing the next page button on the kindle) This is a disturbing read, with parallels undoubtedly being drawn with some real life scandals that have come to light, yet it is more than that. With interesting characters littered throughout we are drawn into a web of folklore and legend, that all spins around the Zach Crystal story.
It is hard to review these books without giving much away, but if you like punchy thrillers with elements of the supernatural then I would definitely recommend them.
To find out what others thought of the book find out by visiting the other stops on the tour.