Tag Archives: rebecca whitney

Deal breaker

This weekend I spent a lovely Saturday afternoon catching up with two very good friends over a couple of bottles of wine. It was, as always, lovely to see them and we had a nice afternoon looking at their wedding pictures and catching up on all the gossip (well two of us did, one half of our friendly foursome were mainly interested in the football for the first couple of hours)

Over dinner as is often the case the subject of books was discussed. The M’s have always been a big supporter of my blog and it’s always nice to hear that someone other than the Mother actually reads it. One thing that came up was a request for book recommendations before Mrs and Mrs M set off on their honeymoon.  Apparently Mrs M had picked up a copy of Girl on a Train based on my enjoying it, and so she fancied some similar reading matter.

You’d think that this would be a simple thing for me to do. I love books, I love reading books, I love reviewing books and I love talking about books. However offering recommendations absolutely terrifies me. It’s a challenge utterly fraught with problems that can be a real deal breaker. What if I recommend a book and they don’t like it? It could ruin their honeymoon. What if I recommend a favourite of mine and they think it’s terrible? It could ruin a friendship. What if I recommend a book and they are really bored by it? It could ruin my blogging reputation (ok that’s a bit of a long stretch)

However I’ve decided to bite the bullet and offer my holiday reading recommendations based on the caveats put on them by Mrs M. Namely they should be as gripping as Girl on a Train and good enough to keep her interest despite the very easy distractions of beaches, sunshine and cocktails. So here goes. My top 5 reads good enough to take on honeymoon:

Disclaimer by Renee Knight – a review

Great story, interesting angles and perfect holiday reading matter.

The Liar’s Chair by Rebecca Whitney – a review

Slightly more disturbing than Disclaimer but a gripping tale with unreliable narrators giving it a claustrophobic feel perfect for open air beach reading.

The Deaths by Mark Lawson – a review

A tale of suburban family life that’s a great antidote to the excesses of an all inclusive buffet restaurant.

Rush of Blood by Mark Billingham – a review

Not only one of my favourite authors but also a great standalone novel with a holiday front cover.

The Girl in the Red Coat by Kate Hamer – a review

A great story and she’ll also hopefully be appearing here in December to answer some questions, (so clearly a bit of self-promotion but it’s still a great book honestly!)

So that’s the end of it, my top 5 holiday reads. Fingers crossed they go down well, and there are more afternoons of wine and chat in the new year!

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The Liar’s Chair by Rebecca Whitney – a review

As I’ve mentioned many times before, one of the great things about the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival is the abundance of free books by both well known and new authors. The selection within the goodie bags is quite random, so myself and the Sister often end up with different books, which means even more choice for us both to read. The Liar’s Chair was one that the Sister received which I borrowed over Christmas on her recommendation and she wasn’t wrong.

The story starts with Rachel driving home still drunk from her assignation the night before. She hits a homeless man and kills him but doesn’t call for help. She goes home to her husband David and admits what she has done. David agrees to help her cover up the crime to save their reputation. On the outside Rachel and David have the perfect marriage, a husband and wife team running a hugely successful business together, with money and a fantastic house. However as that would make a rather dull story, all is not what it seems and David is an abusive controlling man. Rachel continues to stay with him, despite his utterly appalling (but sadly not completely unbelievable) actions. Whilst also having a secret side of drink addiction and affairs which we are shown intertwined with flashbacks to her childhood which was just as unpleasant as her marriage.

The Liar’s Chair was a disturbing, yet compelling book. The main characters are all as unlikable as each other, which gives an unusual perspective to a story of domestic abuse. Whilst the husband is without doubt a vile being, I have to say I didn’t warm to Rachel either. Her actions make you want to give her a shake, although as her childhood story is explored you realise why she acts like she does. Saying that, it’s impossible not to have sympathy for Rachel and the situation that she finds herself in, whilst at the same time disliking her for it.

The writing is interesting, with a lot of description and clichés used but this didn’t distract from the story. In fact I felt that it helped increase the tension within the book and served to highlight the decline in Rachel’s mind as the guilt seemingly overtakes her. It was an incredibly claustrophobic book, with some pretty distressing scenes. Whilst the story itself was not full of shocks and unexpected twists like some crime novels, it was an excellent read that gave a different perspective to a simple hit and run story.

Once again the TOPCWF has highlighted another great author to watch out for, and I’m looking forward to finding out what will be in the goodie bags for 2015.




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