When I was asked to join the blog tour for the latest novel by Lin Anderson I was convinced that I had read previous by her, and the blurb for this one was so intriguing of course I said yes. However it actually turns out I don’t think I have read any of her’s before (this is why I need to start writing down everything I read) Well I have to say if Time for the Dead is anything to go by, I will definitely be reading the rest of her novels as this was terrific.
Time for the Dead is the 14th book in the Rhona MacLeod series and this one is set on the Isle of Skye. Forensic scientist Rhona is recovering from a hideous ordeal that has left her quite traumatised. Rather than go to the rehabilitation centre that is suggested she takes herself off to the remote island, agreeing to keep in touch with her colleague DS McNab via regular skype calls. When she finds what seems to be some kind of crime scene her curiosity kicks in. A body is then found at the base of the famous cliff known as Kilt Rock and Rhona begins to suspect that a group of army medics visiting the island after a tour of Afghanistan might not be just on the island for a holiday.
Time for the Dead was a cracking read that I thoroughly enjoyed. This is one of those novels where the setting is as much a character as any of the people being written about. I loved how the remoteness of the island added to the tension of the plot. As well as following the investigation on Skye, we also have chapters set in Afghanistan where we find out more about the medics and what they went through during their time in the country. These chapters were quite harrowing at times to read and the heat of Afghanistan contrasted darkly with the cold of Skye.
Rhona MacLeod was definitely one of the best characters I’ve read recently, especially once she teemed up with Blaze, the detective dog (well search and rescue but detective dog sounds better) I found her slightly frustrating, yet also incredibly strong and resilient. I liked her interaction with both McNab who has his own investigation to contend with, and with Detective Olsen who was visiting Skye on a walking holiday.
I do feel that I would have enjoyed this book even more had I read the previous novels in the series, yet there was enough background in this to ensure I knew what was happening. I very much enjoyed my first Rhona MacLeod story and will definitely be reading more.
To find out what others thought visit the other stops on the tour. Time for the Dead in available here.
Pierre Lemaitre is talking at the festival in the session entitled France Noir – Le Roman Policier. He was not an author that I had read before as I must confess to not normally reading many translated books. However I was lucky enough to get a copy of this from netgalley so I had to give it a go. Well I have definitely been missing out.
Main character Sophie is working as a nanny to Leo. She finds Leo murdered but with no recollection of where she was at the time. She has already lost her husband and her mother in law and is struggling with grief. Worried that she has killed Leo during one of her frequent blackouts she goes on the run, and despite her failing memory she manages to outrun the police whenever they get close. The other main character who we meet through his diary is Frantz, and we soon realise that both their lives are entwined with terrible consequences.
This was a really good story. The character of Sophie was very intriguing, she was likeable but in the back of your mind was always the death of the little boy. It was one of those stories where at times you wanted to shout at her to stop running and just talk to someone. However whilst there were certain bits that seemed a little far fetched this didn’t detract from the story at all.
The two different viewpoints give the story an interesting dimension that I really enjoyed. When the characters begin to cross paths you know that things are not going to be what they seem but it was still a book that kept you guessing right through to the end. The novel was described in the introduction as the new noir, and this novel was definitely along those lines.
This book is a great example of why I love the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival. The festival encourages you to read books that ordinarily you wouldn’t necessarily pick up, yet often are fantastic. I thoroughly enjoyed Blood Wedding and will definitely be looking out for his other work.
I was given a copy of this via netgalley and took it on my recent trip to Canada. I have really enjoyed Rosamund Lupton’s previous novels so was looking forward to this one.
The Quality of Silence centres on young girl Ruby and her mother Yasmin. Ruby and Yasmin are travelling to Alaska to meet Ruby’s Dad who is filming over there. However when they arrive they are told he has been killed in a fire that has wiped out the entire village he was staying in. Refusing to give up hope Yasmin hitches a ride across Alaska to try and find him. The story is told from the two characters points of view. Ruby is deaf and refuses to use her speaking voice, yet she has found a new voice through the wonders of twitter. By ‘speaking’ through cyberspace she feels as though she is no longer disadvantaged and is communicating on an equal footing with everyone else. We also hear from Yasmin who tells us about the relationships within the family whilst she looks back on her life with her husband. As the journey continues we begin to understand more about the family dynamics and what is forcing her to risk the lives of her and her child in order to find out the truth about her husband.
This book had me in two minds. The idea was good, and the writing was excellent. Yet I’m afraid I was left a little disappointed by this. Some of it just seemed a little bit too far fetched for me. For example we are meant to believe someone who has never driven a truck before in their life can drive one safely across the ice and even manage to put on snow tyres. I’m just not sure it would be that easy.
I think for me, the issue was actually one of perception. I wasn’t really sure if it was meant to be an environmental story or a mystery or a love story and therefore I think this caused some confusion in my little brain. I am easily confused after all. Putting the far fetched bits to one side, what did stand out was the quality of the writing. Whilst I’m certainly no expert in literature, there were passages that actually made you feel as though you were stood in the middle of a frozen wasteland, and I enjoyed those bits. However there was just something lacking and I got a little annoyed by some of the repetitive descriptions of actions such as putting clothes on and off. Overall I’d say this was an interesting read and a good holiday story although very far fetched in places.
As I’ve mentioned many many times, one of the most exciting things about the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival is that you not only get lots of free books, but often you are also lucky enough to get proof copies of some novels before they go on general sale. Although this isn’t always straightforward, and the fabulous people at Dead Good Books made us work for a copy of In a dark, dark wood by dressing up in feather boas with a very large hat in order to recreate a murderous hen do. In return I received a copy of the book, which was completely worth the embarrassment.
In a dark, dark wood is Ruth Ware’s debut novel. It centres on crime writer Nora who is suddenly invited to the hen do of her child hood friend Claire despite not having seen her for 10 years. She decides to go along in the hope of putting the past behind her, but things go wrong and Nora ends up in hospital with no memory of how she got there or what happened.
This was a thoroughly good read. Whilst I don’t think it was a particularly suspenseful or dramatic book, I really enjoyed it and it was one of those books that kept me wanting to read just one more chapter before sleep. The story itself is reasonably predictable and there are few twists, yet the writing is good and it was a fun quick read. The story keeps you interested although it isn’t especially scary, however having spent the past few weeks reading altogether darker crime novels this actually felt like it was a great change of direction for me. There is a very limited number of characters which works really well and gives the story a claustrophobic air that’s adds to the tension.
In a dark, dark wood is definitely worth a read, and if you’ve ever been on a hen do and wondered why on earth we go through it, you’ll love this book.