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review 2017-05-16 23:03
Emma Kavanagh - The Killer On The Wall
The Killer On The Wall - Emma Kavanagh

In a close knitted community in the north of England 15year old Isla Bell ran along Hadrian’s Wall and stumbles onto 4 bodies and a young boy seriously wounded. From this day on everything changes for all the people who were involved.

 

20 years later Isla is a forensic psychologist. She examines the brains of serial killers and finally she is able to examine the convicted killer of those people she once found. Her father, who caught this man, built his career on this case. He is the famous Eric Bell. Isla is married to Ramsey, the only survivor. But suddenly  the killing starts again. But how can this be? The killer is behind bars for many years now. Is there a copycat? Or was there another killer who starts again now?

 

“The Killer on the Wall” is a dark thriller. Everyone who was involved in the crimes is traumatized. Isla waited 20 years and prepared herself to examine finally the man who killed people she knew and beaten her husband almost to dead. When the new victims begin to appear she does not know what to think. Her whole world begins to fall apart. The author does a great job showing this. But on the other hand nothing really happens for quite a long time. There is also Mina, a young police officer from London who moved to the north for personal reasons. Through her we see the police work on this case. She begins to look at the old case again and finds disturbing things. This is not as gripping as it sounds. The pace is very slow. In the last third the author offers suspect after suspect and twist after twist. But it is a bit too much. And the motive did not convince me.

 

The story itself is far from new but it is unique enough developed. The characters are ok, although I could not connect to them. This is my second book from Emma Kavanagh. I already had my problems with her writing style in the other book I read. I think the writing is aloof. I just could not connect to this book. I found my thoughts drifting apart while reading. It is probably my personal problem but I just don’t like the author’s writing style. It was an OK read but I think I would not choose a third book from the author. Her books are just not my cup of tea.

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review 2017-04-23 08:07
The Killer On The Wall
The Killer On The Wall - Emma Kavanagh

It began with the bodies. Indeed it did. The opening of the this new detective story from Emma Kavanagh starts thrilling with the discovery of multiple bodies neatly positioned against Hadrian’s Wall. It’s meant to shock the reader right into the story, but I’ve to admit, that I actually had a hard time getting into it, because after its great opening it slowed down quite a lot.

 

This story is set twenty years after the events described in the opening chapter. It mainly focuses on the effects it has had on the small community it took place in. Everyone knew the killer, but also the victims. It’s twenty years later and people seem finally ready to leave the past behind and move on. That is, until a new body appears, right against Hadrian’s Wall.

 

A big part of this story stands or falls with Isla Bell, who did not only discover the first bodies, is the daughter of the police officer who arrested the original killer but also is now the renowned forensic psychologist who’s talking to serial killers and looking at their MRIs. On top of that she’s also married to the brother of one of the victims who himself is the only survivor of the murderer. I very much doubt that given her connections to the case, she would have been allowed to visit him for her study, but either way, that is exactly what happens. The other main character is a young police officer who’s trying to prove her worth, while the older police officers try their best to ignore this.

 

For some reason, I didn’t connect to the characters. I could feel the uneasiness of the village and its inhabitants, but the main characters, and the people immediately surrounding them somehow slightly annoyed me. The mystery in itself was not enough to fully compensate for this. Still an okay read, but nothing special for me.

 

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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review 2016-10-21 10:44
Emma Kavanagh - Falling
Falling - Emma Kavanagh

This book reminded me a lot of "After the Fall" from Noah Hawley. A similar story just without the politics and the social aspect. Here it is all about the characters and their feelings. But I liked Hawleys book better.

This was my first book from Mrs Kavanagh. I had a few of her books on my wishlist, but now I deleted them all. I just did not come around with her writing style. I needed some time to find into the story, to really get it. It was so much in the dark at the beginning and it unraveled to slow. I did not understand Cecelia. At the end maybe I did but it was too late for me. And has nobody ever heard of depressions? That you can do something about it?? Not her husband, not her family or friends? I am sorry to say that I did not enjoy reading this book. I found it boring most of the time. Nothing really happens and a lot of interesting characters just stayed in the dark.

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review 2016-05-06 14:43
The Missing Hours by Emma Kavanagh
The Missing Hours - Emma Kavanagh

Blurb from NetGalley: 

 

A woman disappears

One moment, Selena Cole is in the playground with her children and the next, she has vanished without a trace.

A woman returns

Twenty hours later, Selena is found safe and well, but with no memory of where she has been.

What took place in those missing hours, and are they linked to the discovery of a nearby murder?

 

**********

 

I think the book started off really good with the older daughter Heather discovering her little sister Tara all alone and their mom gone. It was a thrilling and brilliant way to capture the readers attention. What happened to Selena, did she just leave the children or was she taken? DC Leah Mackay is assigned the case and she has to deal with the little girl and Selena's sisters-in-law. Meanwhile, her brother DS Finn Hale is investigating the murder of a lawyer and it turns out that it's a very small world since the man killed had connections to Selena Cole and her family.

 

I was a bit confused in the beginning. Had a hard time figure out if the police was a woman or man, but then I realized that I had glanced over the name that stood after the chapter title and that actually something I had a tendency all through the book to do and since this book has a first person perspective was that a bit of a problem now and then. But, since it mostly shifted between Leah and Finn weren't it so hard to figure out who was in charge. However, I must admit that I was not that fond of the first person perspective, it just didn't work well for me while I read the book. It disturbed my reading and I have a feeling that I would have enjoyed it better if it had been written without the first person perspective.

 

The story I think was the best in the beginning when everything was a big mystery. When Selena was missing and the period when she was found and Leah had to figure out if she was lying or not. I liked the connections between the cases and the conclusions. But, I was never really engrossed with the story, despite its interesting and unusual story. As I wrote before the first person perspective is probably one of the big reasons for the book failing to grab my interest. Also, I can't say that either Finn or Leah really grabbed my interested either. I was perplexed that two siblings could work on the same police team. But, it's perhaps a married couple that is more a big no-no. Anyway, I just didn't find either of the main characters life that interesting to read about. Or their life, I should say Leah life since it was more about Leah and her troubled marriage life. In many ways, it felt like Leah was more the main character than Finn. And, neither on of them managed to make an impression on me.

 

So, it was an OK book, nothing that rocked my little boat, but not necessarily a bad book. It felt a bit different and I liked the interluding chapters with case files from Selena and Ed's "kidnap and ransom" cases. Why anyone wants to travel to South America is beyond me. It's like asking to be kidnapped!

 

I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy for an honest review!

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review 2016-05-06 14:35
The Missing Hours - Emma Kavanagh

I received a copy of this book from the publishers via Net Galley and this is my honest opinion of the book.

 

Selena Cole vanishes from a playground, leaving her two young children alone. DC Leah Mackay is looking into her disappearance but time is against her. A murder has just taken place and she’s be called in to investigate, leaving her no time to look for Selena, even though there is no clue to her whereabouts. Meanwhile Leah’s brother DS Finn Hale is the lead detective on the murder case; the victim a local criminal solicitor. Selena returns unhurt 20 hours after she has disappeared, claiming no recollection of the intervening hours. Is there any connection between her disappearance and the murder that occurred during those missing hours?

 

This is the third novel by Emma Kavanagh and after reading and loving the first two I couldn’t wait to read this intriguing sounding story.

 

I was familiar with the kidnap and ransom industry, the kidnapping of people for profit, the insurance that can be obtained to cover it and of the companies who are called in to negotiate release, for the right price. (Not, I hasten to add through any nefarious means, simply because I watch too many crime dramas and read too many crime novels). It was fascinating to see the K&R industry dealt with in this novel, it is in general a little known area of criminal activity and makes for an interesting story angle.

 

I had figured out early on in the novel one of the story arcs. I spent many a happy moment metaphorically shouting at Leah and Finn, muttering ‘it’s obvious that … has happened, why can’t they see it…’ In fact I spent so much time merrily berating the police and enjoying seeing the story unravel as I had smugly predicted that I forgot about the other story arc and was completely surprised by the reveal. Don’t take this to mean that the story was obvious however. It’s just I enjoy hurriedly going through all the potential permutations of what could have happened in a story and like to challenge myself to work it out as quickly as possible. I have enormous fun figuring out ‘whodunit’ in a novel, as was the case with this story.

 

As with her previous novels, Falling and Hidden, Emma Kavanagh shows her talent in creating three dimensional characters, that feel real. As a reader I was easily able to conjure up images of each of the main characters, each one there to add substance to the story. I liked the dynamic between Leah and Finn. I don’t recall coming across a brother and sister detective team before and the relationship between the two worked extremely well. Both were flawed characters, having their own private issues to deal with, but both were also kind and engaging, and the sibling interaction brought sprinkles of light relief. It would be great to see these characters return and develop.

 

Another character who I found deeply fascinating was Selena Cole. Her coolness whilst negotiating the release of hostages, recalled through the case files, is placed in high relief compared to her out of character disappearance that opens the novel. She is a very interesting character and a novel featuring her and the rest of the Cole Group would be high on my reading list.

 

The only trouble with having an ensemble cast and a story that flits between them is that sometimes there is the feeling that you haven’t quite seen as much from a character as was possible. There were times when there were glimpses into Leah or Finn that I would have liked to learn more about. But it’s a sign of skilled characterisation that I wanted to know more and didn’t just let them wash over me.

 

There have been some reviews I’ve read which have commented on the abruptness of the ending. For me the ending was a fitting way to finish the story. I’m one of those reader’s that thinks they prefer everything sewn up at the end but in actual fact I realise I don’t mind when a little ambiguity is left. It is for the reader to fill in the blanks. It is often the sign of a good story when you imagine what the characters get up to after the novel closes. That is the case with this novel. It also reveals what kind of reader you are to some extent, will you imagine a happy ending, or predict a darker outcome?

 

Another gripping, truly fascinating novel from Emma Kavanagh, full of interesting characters and based on a unique premise. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.

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