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Search tags: crime-mystery-thriller
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review 2020-05-04 11:26
Jane Doe
Jane Doe: A Novel - Victoria Helen Stone

Every time I get a book without realizing it’s written in present tense, I make a disgusted noise and tell myself I’m going to read samples from now on. But then it happens again, so basically I’m a lying liar who lies. To myself. On a monthly basis.

 

This time, though, I’m not even mildly irritated. This book was one hell of a reading slump remedy. It took me weeks to get through my previous book. I bought this on impulse and burned through it in two days, something I haven’t been able to do since pandemic anxiety sent my ability to focus on an extended holiday.

 

Freaking yay for sociopaths out for revenge! Jane is a fascinating character. She’s not the stereotypical Hollywood sociopath. She didn’t spend her childhood carving up the neighborhood pets before moving on to larger prey. She isn’t a master tactician whose every plan goes off without a hitch. And thank goodness, or this book wouldn’t have been nearly as engrossing. She’s impulsive, she makes mistakes, and that’s half the fun for her. And for me, too.

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review 2020-02-28 10:04
Review: The Wayward Girls
The Wayward Girls - Amanda Mason

I received a copy from Netgalley.

 

An enjoyable mystery with a paranormal twist. Takes place in a “then and now” form.  Sisters Loo and Bee live with their mom and dad and siblings in a rambling farm in the 1970s. Their parents are considered “outsiders” in their small communities. The kids are home schooled, the dad’s an artist. The mom wanted an easier life, and while it seems ideal on the front, it’s doesn’t sound as easy as it looked in the idea stage.

 

During one summer strange things start happening in the house and before long a slew of paranormal experts and professors, reporter and a medium are on the property interviewing the family, trying to get to the bottom of the mystery.

 

In the present day, the mom, Cathy, is now in a care home and Loo has been called home to come and see to Cathy’s care and needs. At the same time a modern day team of university students are conducting a paranormal research investigation Loo and Cathy’s former house which has been empty for many years now.

 

The chapters flip back and forth between what happened back then and what’s happening present day. It’s been a while since I read it so I can’t remember too much of the intricacies of the plot. Lots of characters, can’t remember anything that particularly stood out. It was a well written mystery that kept the pages turning.

 

Intriguing more in the past stages for me than the present. The present day sounded like a thousand other ghost hunter books/tv shows/movies but it was interesting in comparing the temperament of adult Loo to the child Loo in the past along with how she dealt with things back then and what she’s thinking/feeling now as the recent events unfold.

 

There were a few twists at various points which I had already guessed, however, that didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the novel.  The twists were believable and the errors involved human and understandable, given the circumstances.  Some good family and relationship dynamics added into the mix.

 

All in all a very enjoyable read and definitely an author I would read again.

 

Thank you to Netgalley and Bonnier Books UK for approving my request to view the title.

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review 2020-01-28 13:47
The Dry (Aaron Falk #1)
The Dry - Jane Harper

It was probably a bad idea to read a crime novel set in a dying, drought-stricken, rural Aussie town when half my state is on fire and dozens of non-fictional towns are literally running out of water, but oh well. Can’t blame a four-year-old novel for being painfully relevant to current events. Depression practically oozed off the pages, and I couldn’t help thinking that if Kiewarra were real it would be cinders by now.

 

Depressing realism aside, I thought this was a well-written novel with a decent mystery and an interesting main character. To clarify, the present-day mystery was decent. The past mystery was a disappointing collection of violence-against-young-women tropes. Still, I’m interested enough to seek out more by Harper. I’m undecided if I want to read the sequel, though. Aaron Falk is an interesting character, but he definitely belongs to the class of crime novel protagonists in desperate need of a good therapist. I don’t know if I want to read a few hundred more pages of him not working through his abandonment issues. I hear Harper’s third book is a standalone and also pretty darn good. Maybe I’ll just skip to that one.

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review 2019-12-30 16:05
Review: Violet
Violet - Scott Thomas

I received a copy from Netgalley.

 

The synopsis of this one caught my attention when browsing Netgalley. I usually like small town haunted houses with a secret and especially ones where someone’s coming back to a childhood home.

 

The novel started out interestingly enough. However, it felt very long winded and over written after a while and failed to keep my attention from about half way through. I did find myself skimming over the latter parts of the novel as I was mildly interested in how it all concluded. It took forever for anything to remotely happen.

 

The story stars with the heroine Kris going back to her hometown with her daughter after losing her husband in an accident, Kris appears to be a workaholic vet and the daughter has withdrawn and seems to be struggling to cope. Kris feels a fresh start will help them move on.

 

Arriving at the house they find it overgrown and the estate agent lied about the condition of the house  - it’s got a bit of a reputation in the town. It’s so slow and boring as Kris and the daughter start to clean the house and Kris finds mementos of her childhood and starts remembering things she’d forgotten. Creepy things start happening.

 

Whilst visiting the local town Kris learns about a series of murders and missing children. The daughter starts talking to someone who isn’t there – an invisible friend. More creepy things start happening. Kris remembers more stuff from her own childhood and her own creepy invisible friend. Who may or may not have been real.

 

Interesting concept but the execution didn’t really work for me at all. I didn’t connect to the characters, I didn’t feel any emotion whilst reading other than just wanting to get this book over and done with. Disappointing as I usually like this kind of story. Not for me.

 

Thank you to Netalley and Inkshares for approving my request to view the title.

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review 2019-12-13 06:17
Picnic at Hanging Rock
Picnic at Hanging Rock - Joan Lindsay

Once upon a time, this classic mystery about the disappearance of some schoolgirls and one of their teachers in 1900s Australia had a final chapter that explained the disappearances. Lindsay’s publisher told her to cut it because it ruined the novel’s mystique. And cutting the last chapter turned out to be a stroke of genius. Thanks in part to Lindsay’s enigmatic foreword in which she tells readers to decide for themselves whether the events in the book are fact or fiction, people absolutely obsessed over the mystery. They scoured old newspapers for reports of missing girls and pestered Lindsay for answers to the point where interviewers were asked to avoid the question. She eventually gave the final chapter to her agent with her permission to have it published after her death. Which was a good move on her part. It probably saved her from a ghastly amount of next-level pestering once the answers were out there.

 

You see, Lindsay’s agent did publish the final chapter after her death, and I have to agree with the publisher who cut it. It 100% ruins the story in a serious “I know it was the sixties, but what was this woman smoking?” kind of way. So yay for the publisher. Pat on the back.

 

On the other hand, not all of the clues that tied in with that what-was-she-smoking ending were edited out, making it obvious that the real ending was cut. The book didn’t feel open-ended so much as it felt unfinished. So once again I find myself finishing a classic and finding it an okay book while being much more fascinated and satisfied by the story behind the story.

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