I find that often because I read so many new and debut authors I can often ignore established writers, especially those with long running series where I have probably missed out on a few of the books. Ann Cleaves is one of those authors but when I was offered a copy of her latest Vera novel I decided to give it a go, and I most certainly wasn’t disappointed.
In the Rising Tide we are transported to the Holy Island of Lindesfarne which is one of my favourite places. A group of friends are gathering for their regular reunion to remember a friend they lost during their first visit there fifty years ago. When one of the group is found hanged Vera Stanhope is called to investigate. The dead man had recently been fired from a very public role for misconduct and Vera soon realises that the friends are all hiding secrets.
This was an absolutely fantastic read that I thoroughly enjoyed. I had forgotten how much I love Vera Stanhope as a character. Her gruff exterior belies a heart that does really care and this case will test her resolve, especially at the heartbreaking finale. Vera is such an iconic character loved by everyone that it must be difficult to write her without having that always in the back of your head but Ann Cleeves manages to write a character that is both flawed and wonderful at the same time.
The story itself is intriguing. I enjoyed the mix of characters and liked the fact that we were introduced to them all individually at the beginning which gave us a real sense of who they all were. Ann Cleeves has a superb way of writing that absolutely flows of the page. There is a real sense of place about the books, and I thoroughly enjoyed the setting of Lindesfarne. It’s a beautiful place but within it is a real sense of menace and danger that comes from living somewhere that is cut off for a lot of the time.
The Rising Tide was a great read that was absolutely enthralling. I had forgotten what a superb author Ann Cleeves is and what a fantastic character we have in Vera!
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Having spent part of my childhood living near the seaside town of Cromer I have always had a bit of a fascination with coastal places, especially the disconnect between the holiday sunny ideal and the reality of seasonal living. Therefore when I was asked to review a true crime book focusing on murders in seaside towns I jumped at the chance.
Murder by the Sea is a companion to the CBS Reality true crime documentary series of the same name, and features 10 of the series stories with extra material that couldn’t be in the show, including interviews with detectives and witnesses.
This was a fascinating book with 10 hideous crimes all set in British Seaside Towns. Some of the stories you may know, for example that of John Cooper who was portrayed in the TV drama series The Pembrokeshire Murders. There are also others that I hadn’t heard of such as Mathew Hardman who killed Mabel Leyshon in Anglsey, or Malcom Green who murdered Gleys Johnson and Clive Tully nearly twenty years apart.
Murder By The Sea gives an interesting insight into the crimes and both the murderers as well as the victims but it also paints a picture of the coastal towns that goes against the postcard pictures usually seen. I really enjoyed the way this book was written. Each of the ten stories are well researched and have enough details to keep you interested but equally each chapter is relatively short so it keeps you reading.
A must for fans of true crime and a good read whether or not you have seen the TV series.
One of the few good things about flying (apart from getting to the destination of course) is the hours of uninterrupted reading it provides, so I always make sure I take a book I think I’m going to love with me. Therefore when The Daves Next Door landed on my doormat I knew it would be the perfect book for my weekend away.
The Daves Next Door tells the story of a hotpotch of characters. There is the uncaring nurse, the old man being cared for by angels, a sportsman with a life changing injury and two men called Dave with an identical brain tumour. All with separate lives potentially destined to collide, or so the narrator tells us, but can we believe a potential suicide bomber or is he in fact God?
There are some books that once you read them you continue to think about for days afterwards, and this was one of those books. It is hard to really describe the story as it doesn’t fit into any standard category. There is crime but there is so much more. Its a study of character as well as a comment on everyday life.
I really don’t want to give anything away with this, so it’s going to be tricky to review. However I want to say enough that you will go and buy a copy. I personally think that Will Carver is one of the most original and outstanding novelists currently going. In The Daves Next Door he provides us with a cast of characters where nothing is what it seems, yet everything is just as it seems.
The story is written with short sharp chapters that absolutely zip along. There is a narrator that is not just unreliable but is almost ghost like as he watches the others on the train, and gives us insight to the world. The chapters from him are the ones that really stick in your mind. A series of questions within the narrative almost slip by as you read them, then suddenly it makes you think ‘Has anybody ever drawn a perfect circle, freehand?’ ‘Would you eat less lamb if it was labelled ‘baby sheep’?’ Within the questions is a commentary from the narrator on the tube which is frankly chilling.
I’ll confess that it took me a little while to get into this, the short chapters mean you flit from one to another quickly and it takes a while to get all the ducks in a row in your head, but it’s absolutely worth it. I loved the sense of unknown that came through when you read it. The characters are all vividly written and how they come together at the end is fitting.
I’ve read alot of Will Carver’s previous books, Psychopaths Anonymous and Nothing Important Happened Today are two of the best novels I’ve ever read and The Daves Next Door is no exception. A highly original read that will stay with you long after you finish it.
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John Marr’s is one of my favourite authors so I was delighted to be invited onto the blog tour for the newly repacked The Vacation (previously titled Welcome to Wherever You Are)
The Vacation is set in a back packers hostel on a Los Angeles beach. Eight strangers are all there but none of them are there just for a holiday. Each of them has their own reasons for trying to turn their back on their normal life, and each of them have secrets they want to keep hidden. Whether they are running from themselves or other people they hope that the hostel will be the solution, yet as the saying goes you can run but you can’t hide!
The Vacation is a real twisty read that I found very compelling. The chapters are short and there are lots of cliff hanger endings, all of which makes this hard to put down.
The book started relatively slowly as we are introduced to all of the main players but it soon starts to pick up pace. There are a lot of characters in this book but it is so well written that they are all easy to keep track of. They each have their own back story and as with all good books as the stories start to unwind the characters lives begin to merge.
I liked the way that all the stories were tied up properly at the end, some with endings I didn’t see coming and some with endings that were just heartbreaking. Throughout the book my views of each of the characters had kept changing and this continued right to the end.
I would recommend this great read for all fans of a twisty well written tale.
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