What I Read: November and December 2019

Lucinda Berry: The Perfect Child

Christopher and Hannah are a happily married surgeon and nurse with picture-perfect lives. All that’s missing is a child. When Janie, an abandoned six-year-old, turns up at their hospital, Christopher forms an instant connection with her, and he convinces Hannah they should take her home as their own.But Janie is no ordinary child, and her damaged psyche proves to be more than her new parents were expecting. Unable to bond with Janie, Hannah is drowning under the pressure, and Christopher refuses to see Janie’s true nature.

This is one messed up book and Janie is one messed up child. You’d think that the more psychological thrillers you read, the less they will affect you. But actually, it doesn’t work like that. This book really disturbed me in some parts but still I couldn’t put it down. Probably the most disturbing part was the animal abuse bit and I think I should warn everyone who wants to read this book to be prepared . What I liked most was how wrong I was about everything. You think you know what will happen, who will die, and how they will die, but it turns out you have no detective skills because your assumptions are 5 km away from the truth.  The way the writer decided to end the book is an odd choice but I am satisfied and slightly impressed.

4/5

Sally Hepworth: The Mother in Law

When Lucy marries Ollie, she desperately wants to be accepted into his family, especially by his mother Diana, as Lucy lost her mother at an early age. But from day one, Diana appears reserved and distant. That was five years ago. Now, Diana has been found dead, with a suicide note near her body. Diana claims that she no longer wanted to live because of a battle with cancer. But the autopsy finds no cancer but does find traces of poison and suffocation. 


Who could possibly want Diana dead? 

This story is told from two points of view, mother-in-law Diana and daughter-in-law Lucy, filling in the blanks of Diana’s life and leading us to the circumstances surrounding her death. I felt this was a very good way to tell the story as you could really see how much misunderstanding there was between these two women. I was expecting more of a thriller but the story ended up having more of a domestic mystery vibe with a twist at the end so I can’t reveal much. I really enjoyed reading it and never saw the last piece of the puzzle until it was added.

4/5

Fiona Cummins: The Neighbour

On a hot July day, Garrick and Olivia Lockwood and their two children move into 25 The Avenue looking for a fresh start. They arrive in the midst of a media frenzy: they’d heard about the local murders in the press, but Garrick was certain the killer would be caught and it would all be over in no time. The neighbours seemed to be the very picture of community spirit. But everyone has secrets, and the residents in The Avenue are no exception.After six months on the case with no real leads, the most recent murder has turned DC Wildeve Stanton’s life upside down, and now she has her own motive for hunting down the killer.

Let me just say, I don’t want to ever live in a street like this. This street is full of people with dark secrets which makes you want to second guess your own neighbours. The first 20% of the book was all over the place, and I was feeling pretty frustrated, I just couldn’t get into it. But then things started coming together. Even though I liked the twist at the end(which I didn’t predict), I felt something was missing. Maybe the fact I couldn’t connect to any of the characters or confused with the way the killer was narrating his life. So many new characters were introduced, and instead of giving some sort of background on each, their chapters would start in the middle of one of their thoughts. But as I said, it all made sense at the end.

3.5/5

Tim Weaver: Vanished

For millions of Londoners, the morning of 16 December is just like any other. But not for Sam Wren. An hour after leaving home, he gets on a Tube train – and never gets off again. No witnesses. No trace of him on security cameras. Six months later, he’s still missing. Sam’s wife Julia hires David Raker to track him down. Raker has made a career out of finding the lost. Once David Raker starts looking into Sam’s case it becomes obvious to him that there are untold secrets that need to be discovered. He is sure that both Sam and Julia have secrets that are being kept well hidden and will need to be exposed if this case is to be solved.

This is the 3rd book in the David Raker series by author Tim Weaver. I accidentally read this series out of order, starting with the latest one and then going back but it didn’t ruin the enjoyment. And I enjoyed reading it so much that I finished it in two days! I loved the idea of just vanishing from the packed train, which is highly believable if that train is a London Tube (if you’ve ever used it, you will know no one is paying attention to anyone). This book has a very clever and original plot, and I personally enjoyed the amount of time spent in and around the London Underground, and it’s history. I love Weaver’s style of writing, how quickly the story pulls you in and keeps you turning the pages. I already have the next book in series waiting to be read because this one ended with a bit of a cliffhanger.

4.5/5

Mark Edwards: The Lucky Ones

After his wife leaves him for another man, Ben and his 11 year old son, Ollie, move from London to Shropshire to make a fresh start. With his personal life in shambles, Ben wonders if he made the right decision to move. Very slowly, Ben’s luck changes and good things start happening for him and Ollie. However, what Ben doesn’t realize is that the good luck he has been experiencing is not what it seems.  At the same time, a serial killer known as “The Viper” is creating a state of terror. After killing his victims, he manipulates their bodies in such a way that it seems like they died in a state of “bliss.” The killer believes that dying happy makes one “lucky.” This deranged individual targets his victims, makes their dreams come true, and then kills them. Without an obvious link between the victims, the police have little to go on to find the killer. Detective Inspector Imogen Evans is desperate to find The Viper before he strikes again.

I already read and reviewed a few books by Mark Edwards. What makes his books different and more interesting is his way of writing – he makes the characters in the book become real, his chapters are short and snappy and the plot is always very clever. The story alternates between Imogen, Ben and the killer and it’s a gripping page turner. So many times I thought I had worked out who it was only to change my mind and choose someone else. It’s one that will certainly mess with your head and a definite read for fans of psychological thrillers.

5/5

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