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review 2018-09-27 13:42
The Retreat - Mark Edwards

Lucas has come to the writing retreat to write an overdue, difficult, novel, living under the shadow of his last best-seller and a personal loss. It’s just coincidence that the retreat is located in his childhood town. There he finds Julia, the retreat owner, suffering her own loss following the disappearance of her daughter and the death of her husband. Everyone tells Julia her daughter is dead but she refuses to believe them. When mysterious events begin to occur in the house rumours abound about a legendary widow but Lucas and Julia are sure they are on the hunt for more someone more real and more dangerous.

 

There is a sense of malice running through the novel. There is the claustrophobia of the small town, the fact that everyone knows everyone else. The retreat itself seems closed off, separated by Julia’s grief as much as geography. There’s the legend of the Widow, weaved throughout the story and then there’s the fact that Lucas is a horror writer so sees the macabre in things in any event and finds it easier to see the story of his bestseller reflected in his surroundings.

 

There are a host of characters that fill the story, some having more involvement than others. There’s Karen, whose claims of things going bump in the night are questioned as being the result of drug use, Max who at first appears to be nothing but a snobbish Lothario and Suzi, a fellow resident at the retreat. There are the locals who all have some secret to hide. Then there’s Lucas and Julia. Lucas is a mixture of driven and despondent. His motivation for helping Julia seems to be driven as much by desire as it does by altruism. Julia herself is understandable downcast. She flits between melancholy and fierceness, sometimes to the point where the ferocity of her actions is a little extreme.

 

There doesn’t seem to be much happening for the first third of the story and then the pace picks up and the narrative kicks in. Some parts worked better for me than others. As said previously the sense of claustrophobia and malice was created well in the story, with seeds of doubt sown throughout and the limited character/suspect pool lends suspicion to be thrown every which way. The setting of the story in the retreat worked well and I enjoyed the air of suspicion a group of people used to making things up created. It also made me want to attend a retreat and get writing, though perhaps not at this particular retreat! There were parts that didn’t work so well for me, such as a rather incongruous love scene and the last couple of pages seemed a little too much, though I could see how they could also be argued as vital to the story.

 

If you like your thrillers with a hint of horror to them then The Retreat is for you. An interesting read.

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text 2018-02-01 00:56
January in Review

January in Review

(Read: 5 / Reviewed: 9)

It's certainly been an interesting, if not a long, month! Phew, I thought January would never end! Fortunately I got through some great books and was able to write two reviews each week. This new routine really helped me stay on top of things. Let's take a look at all the bookish goodness, shall we?

Read

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Splatterpunk Fighting Back by (multiple) - This analogy has eleven individual stories written by different authors. Going in, I was only vaguely familiar with Duncan Ralston, having previously finished Woom. I never would've discovered this had it not been for Horror Aficionados on Goodreads, of who appointed it the January group read with author invite. I was lucky enough to ask some of the authors questions whilst trying to gain more insight into their brutal tales, and I had a blast! The best thing, though? All proceeds of this book go to charity! (Rated: 4/5)

A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay - Another one I wouldn't have picked up if not for the Horror Aficionados group. Being the January group read, I was pleasantly surprised by this one! (Rated: 4/5)

The Darkest Torment by Gena Showalter - I started this long-running series in 2011, and it's still ongoing. Whilst I really enjoyed it at the beginning, my enjoyment waned several instalments ago, however I can't just give up without finishing it, can I? Ludicrous! (Rated: 2/5)

What Hides Within by Jason Parent - I found this on Netgalley, and I'm glad I did! Bloodshot Books accepted my request, and I promptly read and reviewed it. (Rated: 4/5)

Morium by S.J. Hermann - I was requested to read and review this novel by the author. Being my last read of January, this one takes priority and will be the first review of February. See my request information here. (Rated: 3/5)

 

Reviewed 

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Blood Song by Cat Adams (WORST READ)
Lockdown by Alexander Gordon Smith
The Taste of Night by Vicki Pettersson
Stephen by Amy Cross
The Devil’s Work by Mark Edwards
Blood Moon by Graeme Reynolds (BEST READ)
Woom by Duncan Ralston
What Hides Within by Jason Parent
Dark Space by Kevis Hendrickson

Other than that, January was a decent month for me personally. I'm enjoying reading more, getting out more, and generally trying to put more effort into my day-to-day life. I thank everyone who made this past month all the better, including the wonderful authors I had the chance to speak to! Here's hoping for a book-tastic February!

Red xx

Source: redlace.reviews/2018/01/31/january-in-review
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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-12-15 13:00
The Devil's Work by Mark Edwards
The Devil's Work - Mark Edwards
The Devil's Work by Mark Edwards
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Sophie Greenwood's thrilled to have been accepted into Jackdaw Publishing - a job she's dreamed of ever since childhood. Crushing down the dark memories of the past, she doesn't hesitate to jump right in; the work itself showing off her exceptional skill and experience. Paradise doesn't last long, however, as the mystery of her predecessor begins to chip away at her mind, whilst all things business and personal seem to be at risk.

(WARNING: This review contains spoilers.)

My first experience with Edwards was with The Magpies, which introduced me to not only his extremely direct writing style of telling rather than showing, but also his ability to create a sense of unease whilst writing about a situation that could be very real - the former I consider a bad thing, and the latter a good thing, thus the overall impression of his work strikes me as rather average. He likes to delve into the ugly side of humanity, which I appreciate, and raise the question of what people are capable of, and how badly we can treat our fellow man. He does it well enough in this one, despite things coming across as a little too far-fetched at times.

The setting was one of familiarity; the mundane, day-to-day routine of work, with a character who started off as optimistic and happy at having landed her dream job, yet over time became increasingly paranoid and troubled. I couldn't help but share in Sophie Greenwood's concerns, as after all, I was merely an observer to her side of events. Even I, at the beginning, accused Cassie of being the antagonist. She was the most obvious, yet we all know; the more obvious someone is, the less likely they're the actual culprit. Cassie became too obvious, yet there was still something about her, something off...

This is where I need to discuss Cassie, and the apparent reason for her dislikeability. I feel a lesson tried to be included, a moral to the story, and I'm honestly not sure it was executed well. To put it bluntly - it seemed ham-fisted in the representation of autism. I know it's a very serious developmental disability, and it affects how a person communicates with others, but Cassie was so boldly labelled as the villain for the majority of the book. It was heavily insinuated that if she wasn't the person trying to make Sophie's life hell, that she was at least a very questionable individual. To suddenly turn it around and say; "Oh, she was autistic, don't be so quick to judge!", was to me, rather poor storytelling. Am I supposed to feel bad or guilty about not liking her? This is someone who clearly flirted with Sophie's husband, and was in contact with him behind her back - not to mention the other things she did throughout. It occurs to me that perhaps I just didn't get the point, but I hope I've divulged my thoughts clearly.

I didn't suspect the actual perpetrator, the real woman behind it all, until she made her dramatic appearance. It was a twist for sure, but I was unfortunately left unbelieving. It wasn't rational enough for me - I certainly didn't click my fingers and have that "Oh!" moment. With such a build-up and from what I understood of Sophie's past, I expected it to tie together in the end, but it didn't. The woman's accomplice - fine, sure, fair enough. But her? I suppose the insignificant should never be ruled out.

I may have a few complaints, but I didn't hate the book. It was quick and easy, bringing with it simple entertainment. I enjoyed the shift from present to past; the friendship with Jasmine especially interested me, despite it ultimately having little relevance overall. I assume it was meant to serve as nothing more than a distraction. Sophie herself was unremarkable, and whilst I believed her selfish in some regards, I also tried to picture myself in her position. Imagine trying to be your best, yet some unknown presence threatens your attempt at stability. I'm pretty sure I would've handled it just as badly.

In conclusion - It passed the time and was easy to get through, however some aspects left me in disbelief. I hope I can give a higher rating to the next Edwards novel I read.

Notable Quote:

But for fifteen years - since she woke on the morning after her lost night, the hours she still kept locked tight in her memory box - she had carried a sadness with her. Sadness and guilt. It was like a splinter, buried so deep in her skin that she would never get it out. The impurity, the flaw, would be in her forever.

© Red Lace 2018

Wordpress ~ Goodreads ~ Twitter

 

Source: redlace.reviews/2018/01/16/the-devils-work-by-mark-edwards
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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-11-12 18:36
Stalker
Stalker: Thriller - Louise Voss,Mark Edw... Stalker: Thriller - Louise Voss,Mark Edwards,Beate Brammertz

€ 9,99 [D] inkl. MwSt. 

 

€ 10,30 [A] |  CHF 13,90* 

 

(* empf. VK-Preis) 

 

Taschenbuch, BroschurISBN: 978-3-442-74571-5

 

NEU 

 

Erschienen: 14.08.2017 

 

 

 

Alex Parkinson ist wie vom Blitz getroffen, als er seine Dozentin aus dem Schreibkurs zum ersten Mal sieht. Siobhan ist wunderschön, intelligent und teilt auch noch seine große Leidenschaft: das Schreiben. Niemals zuvor hat er jemanden so sehr geliebt. Doch wie kann er Siobhan davon überzeugen, dass sie zusammengehören? Besessen von der Idee, sein Leben mit ihr zu teilen, findet Alex heraus, wo Siobhan wohnt, verliert seinen Job für sie, macht ihr Geschenke, kümmert sich um ihre Katze, liest in ihrem Tagebuch. Alex würde alles für Siobhan tun – bis plötzlich eine junge Frau tot vor ihrem Haus liegt …

Meine Meinung:

 

Ich bin durch den ja sehr aussagekräftigen Titel auf das Buch aufmerksam geworden. Ich habe bisher zwei Stalkingromane gelesen, da mich das Thema sehr interessiert. Freundlicherweise wurde mir das Buch zu Rezensionszwecken vom Verlag zur Verfügung gestellt.


Der Einstieg in das Buch ist mir anfangs nicht ganz so leicht gefallen, habe mich nach einiger Zeit aber gut herein gefunden. 


Das Buch fängt direkt ziemlich heftig an, da geht es ja um den Mord an die unbeteiligte junge Frau. 


Ich muss aber sagen, dass ich insgesamt den ersten Teil nicht sonderlich spannend fand, dies kam zum Glück später noch. 


Im zweiten Teil ging es dann richtig zur Sache. Ich hatte nie mit den vielen kompletten Wendungen und Veränderungen der Charaktere gerechnet. Ab da war das Buch ein absoluter Pageturner für mich. Andererseits fand ich diese Wendung aber auch etwas unrealistisch und auch sehr heftig. Genau das hat das Buch aber auch irgendwie besonders gemacht. 


Alles in allem war dies ein interessantes Buch über Stalking, auch, dass sich die Dinge wenden können. Von mir gibt es eine Kauf- und Leseempfehlung für alle, die gerne etwas mit dieser Thematik lesen möchten. Von mir bekommt das Buch 4 Sterne. 

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review 2017-07-03 13:25
The Lucky Ones - Mark Edwards

Here we have a villain who punishes people if they've been good and also if they've been bad too - there's just no pleasing some people! The killer ensures people are at their most happiest, then they die and Imogen Evans has to work fast to ensure no one else suffers the same fate, so there is much toing and froing across the lovely county of Shropshire. Definitely a thriller, a thriller with lots of suspense to keep everyone gripped. Every time I thought I knew whodunnit, it turns out I didn't. Loved the story and twist at the end. Not a book for a work commute as you might just forget to get off so make sure you have plenty of time because once started, you will want to finish it, with as few interruptions as possible!

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