I always look forward to the new Lisa Gardner book being released, so it’s even more exciting when I get to read an advance copy.
One Step Too Far is the second in her new series starring missing person hunter Frankie Elkin. Years ago, a young man went missing whilst on a camping trip for his stag do. His father and friends have never stopped looking for him and each year they go out on a camping trip to search the area where he disappeared. This time Frankie has decided to join them after hearing about the search via an online forum, so she heads off into the Wilderness with the group. However, what starts off as a simple hike and search soon become a race for their lives.
One Step Too Far is not your standard mystery novel. Jack Reacher meets Famous Five springs to mind. This is a fun, if a little far-fetched, story that I read over a few days during the Christmas break.
As with all of Lisa Gardner’s novels they include a great range of characters. I like the main protagonist Frankie, she’s a smart loner who isn’t bothered by the trappings of a settled life. She goes from case to case picking and choosing the cases that she takes and always moving forward despite the majority of her cases not having a happy ending. The other searchers included a big foot hunter, and my favourite one Daisy the cadaver dog. All of them have their secrets to hide and their own reasons for returning to search for their friend. As things go rapidly downhill these secrets start to come tumbling out.
The mystery part of the story is interesting, and it wasn’t one where I guessed the ending. I do think you have to slightly suspend belief in parts but as I often say this is fiction and fiction is allowed to push the boundaries of reality. I really like the style of writing in this book. It was an easy read with descriptions that made the story leap off the page as you follow the misfit group up into the mountains and eventually down again.
I very much hope we get to hear more about Frankie Elkin again soon. Find out what others thought on the blog tour below:
Back in March I attended the Hull Noir online event which not only had some great guests but also a link up with a bookshop to offer signed books, which of course I can never resist especially when it includes the latest by one of my favourite authors, Alex North.
The Shadow Friend is the second book by writer Alex North. The story starts when Paul returns to his home town for the first time 25 years after he left. Returning to visit his mother he is surrounded by memories he has tried hard to forget. However the day his friend Charlie committed a terrible crime isn’t easy to forget especially when it appears there is a copycat criminal now operating.
The Shadow Friend is a creepy read that had me hooked from the start. It is one of those books where when you look back actually the ‘action’ isn’t that much. It is the quality of the writing that gives it a really immersive quality where the tension crackles off the page.
There are two different timelines as we find out about Paul both past and present. In the present we follow Paul dealing with his ailing mother who has been moved into a hospice as well as the creaks and threats that seem to be all around him. A younger Paul is coping with moving to a new school and trying to fit in whilst not being certain he actually wants to. As things get more and more creepy he pulls away but is never really let go.
I felt for the character of Paul, he came across as lonely and lost. Clearly despite moving away he has never managed to put the past behind him and it has affect his whole life. His lonliness almost gives the story an extra dimension as it makes it feel quite a claustrophobic tale as we get further inside his head.
I really enjoyed the book and the short chapters ending on cliff hangers kept me up late every night as I just wanted to read more. Throughout the story there is an undercurrent of the supernatural which adds to the uneasy feeling you get as you head to the final reveal. I didn’t see the ending coming at all. However as soon as you look back you realise that the clues where there but easily missed.
I throughly enjoyed this story and without wanting to give anything anyway there were some twists that I was completely blindsided by. I would highly recommend this, and if you haven’t yet read his first The Whisper Man then that should also be added to your pile!
I am a huge fan of Lisa Gardner so I was delighted to be invited onto the blog tour for her latest book, Before She Disappeared.
In Before She Disappeared we are introduced to Frankie. She dedicates her life to searching for missing people when everyone else has given up. Her latest case brings her to Boston where a young Haitian immigrant Angelique vanished a year ago. Frankie takes a job behind a local bar that comes with accommodation (as well as a rather feral room mate). She starts to look into the case despite a luke warm reception from the missing girls family and hostility from the Boston PD, and soon realises there is more to this case than just a runaway teenager.
Before She Disappeared was a great read that I raced through. The story was interesting with lots of red herrings scattered throughout and I enjoyed the way it seemed to change pace, one minute it is quite slow and the investigation has almost stalled, the next we are in the middle of a gun chase. Whilst the background of the story is quite bleak, as with all of Lisa Gardner’s writings there are elements of humour throughout, and it’s a testament to the skill of the author that the two can sit side by side.
It is a standalone book that was very character focused. I really liked the main character of Frankie, of course she is flawed. An ex-alcoholic with a past that haunts her, she acts with little regard to her own life, yet there was something about her that I really warmed to. Her interaction with other characters shows different sides to her from the tough investigator, to the caring friend.
I very much enjoyed this book and although this is currently a standalone I do hope we haven’t seen the last of Frankie Elkin.
To find out what others thought of Before She Disappeared don’t forget to visit the other stops on the blog tour.
I find Christmas an odd break. I had two weeks off work, so therefore you’d think I’d have loads of time, yet it always disappears in a flash of seeing people, drinking and the constant round of ‘how was Christmas, what are you doing for new year’. Therefore although I’ve managed to fit in a bit of reading my reviewing has really gone done the pan. Despite being someone who refuses to make New Year’s resolutions, if I was going to make one it would be to review more in 2020. So I am kicking off 2020 with a great novel, The Mother’s by Sarah J Naughton.
I have had this on my TBR pile for ages, however to be honest the idea of four mothers in a novel put me off picking it up. I assumed it would be a lot of women moaning on about children and motherhood and how tired they are etc. However I couldn’t have been more wrong. This was a story of four women who had met because they were pregnant at the same time, and became friends. Skip to four years later and the friendship is still growing strong, until one of the husbands goes missing. The police are stumped as to where he has gone, and talking to the friends throws up more questions than answers. Are they really such good friends? Would they keep each others secrets?
I read this quickly in a couple of sittings as I found it really drew me in. The characters were an odd bunch of people. You knew that on paper they didn’t work as friends, but then you also know in real life often the most unlikely people form strong bonds for a ariety of reasons. I enjoyed the style of writing that seamlessly switched between then and now as the secrets were gradually unfolded.
I enjoyed all the characters, although I wasn’t too keen on the detective Iona. She didn’t seem very well rounded to me, and spent more time worrying about her love life than actually focusing on the crime. However that is only a minor criticism and actually the police investigation is a very small part of this story. They mystery unravels through the viewpoints of the women, and I found myself frequently changing my mind as to what was happening.
This was a very accomplished debut novel that I would very much recommend. The Mother’s is available on amazon