Tag Archives: murder

Gone by Lisa Gardner – a review

I’m a big fan of Lisa Gardner’s books and on the whole this one did not disappoint. In this story we see the return of ex-profiler Pierce Quincy and his wife Raine Connor. She is also an ex-officer and now helps out befriending young people in care.  The husband and wife team have previously been working as consultants to the FBI, and are still trying to get over a particularly shocking murder case. This has lead Raine back into alcoholicism, of which she is in denial. Quincy has left her in the hope it will shock her into sobriety. Unfortunately Raine goes missing, and as you can expect it’s down to Quincy and his daughter to track her down. Along the way they encounter kidnappings, arson, murder, hash farms and bombings.

The story itself has the usual twists and turns we expect from Lisa Gardner and is not just a straight murder ‘who dunnit’. I didn’t guess the perpetrator and was surprised at the reveal. However once I knew who it was, it actually became quite obvious and I was surprised it hadn’t occurred to me earlier.

As with all of Lisa Gardner’s books they are jam packed with feisty female characters which I always enjoy. The women are always just as likely to run into a burning building as the men in these books, and the cast of characters in this one is no exception. I did find it slightly odd reading though, as the new female negotiator that was brought in had my name, right down to the i not y which is probably the first time I’ve ever seen it in print!

Although I did enjoy this book, and felt that there were some clever red herrings within, I don’t feel this was one of her best books. The story for some reason just felt a little flat. I like the way it moved around between the varying characters viewpoints, giving an insight into the emotions of all of them. However for some reason I felt that the middle of the story seemed to drag a bit. Its difficult to explain fully without giving away the plot, but at times you just wanted to shout at characters with frustration. There also seemed to be a few inconsistencies which bugged me. Not least of which was Kimberly running 6 miles in 30 minutes, that would be rather impressive.

Overall, I would say its very hard to find fault with anything Lisa Gardner does, and despite my small reservations I would definitely recommend this book. I think that, like anything else, authors often get better with practice. Lisa Gardner has written another 8 books since this one, and looking back I’ve read most of them. I haven’t however read her earlier ones so maybe I am just used to her current writing style. I shall have to go back to her roots and start at the beginning of the series at some point, just to see how it evolves. Something to look forward to!

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Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn – a review

This was another Harrogate purchase. Gillian was talking in the America’s Got Talent session at Harrogate which was one of my favourites. I had previously read her novel ‘Dark Places’ which you may remember I thought was excellent (and if you don’t remember it can be found here) so I was definitely excited to read this book.

Gone Girl begins with Nick’s wife Amy going missing. The story is told from his point of view, yet you soon realise what an unreliable narrator he is. For the first part of the book it looks a pretty much cut and dried case of abusive husband kills wife, at least that’s what her ‘doting’ parents think. However things soon become more complicated as Amy’s voice begins to be heard through her diary pages, and twists and turns being to mount.

I found this book utterly compelling and couldn’t wait to get to the end, whilst wanting it not to stop. It was a clever plot that meant you were constantly shifting your allegiances between characters. Whilst you start out believing Amy to be the innocent party and believing Nick to be a killer, this is clearly a case of both parties being as bad as each other. It was a great portrayal of a marriage that I suspect many can relate to, a couple scoring points against each other, blaming each other for mistakes in their own lives, generally only being happy when they’ve made the other one unhappy.

The writing was fast paced, and the differing view points were interesting and clearly defined. My only slight criticism was that the shortening of Nick’s sisters name to Go confused me a little at times, but then I’m easily confused!

I would definitely recommend this clever story to anyone who enjoys the likes of Sophie Hannah, and Greg Hurwitz. I think Gillian Flynn is well on the way to becoming one of my favourite authors.

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Acts of Violence by Ryan David Jahn – a review

My latest read was Acts of Violence by Ryan David Jahn, and I can honestly say it was one of the best books I’ve read all challenge.

It is based around a street is 1960’s America where Kat is brutally stabbed and raped. This is witnessed by various people in the area. Pat with the dying mother, Thomas who is about to kill himself, Frank who is a black man who goes out looking for a push chair his wife thinks she has hit with their car, the policeman who tries to frame him for the beating of a man who is trying to blackmail him, David and John a pair of ambulance drivers, and two couples having their first attempt at swinging.

All these people see what happens to Kat but no one does anything about it, all assuming someone else will. The story starts with Kat and returns to her every few chapters whilst the other characters stories intermingle throughout.

I thought although this was violent and disturbing in equal measures, it was a fantastic read, with clever plot that made me not want to put it down (I had to have that extra glass of wine in the bar as I didn’t want to have to stop reading!) It covers a huge range of moral issues, paedophilia, war, rape, homosexuality, racism, euthanasia. Each character has something they deal with over the few hours this story is told as they intermingle with each other.

This book reminded me a little of the Armistead Maupin series Tales of the City I read many many years ago. It had a claustrophobic air to it that makes you want to scream ‘ring the police’ at the self absorbed characters letting a woman die on the street. Everyone is to blame in part, from the person who stabs her to the one who ignores her cries for help.

It wasn’t until after I’d finished reading that I realised this story is based on a true  murder that happened in the 60s. This may have slightly slanted my opinion of the book if I’d known before, however what makes this book even more outstanding to me, is that I imagine this could easily happen nowadays. No one is ever without a mobile phone yet how many people would actually stop and help someone? Would people even notice, or just be too self absorbed in their own small worlds to even look up from facebook?

This book was a great story, told at a good pace, that was cleverly written. It was also depressing and thought provoking. One completely random act and everyone in this street were changed in some way and nothing in their lives was ever the same again.

Everyone should be made to read this novel, and think how would they want to be seen to act in these circumstances? The challenge of course is to act that way!

On a lighter note, it now means I have completed two full sessions, America’s got talent which is where this sits, and Deadlier than the Male, which I am really looking forward to, so my own challenge continues!.

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