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review 2018-03-05 16:29
Bellevue Square / Michael Redhill
Bellevue Square - Michael Redhill

Jean Mason has a doppelganger. At least, that's what people tell her. Apparently it hangs out in Kensington Market, where it sometimes buys churros and shops for hats. Jean doesn't rattle easy, not like she used to. She's a grown woman with a husband and two kids, as well as a thriving business, and Toronto is a fresh start for the whole family. She certainly doesn't want to get involved in anything dubious, but still . . . why would two different strangers swear up and down they'd just seen her--with shorter hair furthermore?

Jean's curiosity quickly gets the better of her, and she visits the market, but sees no one who looks like her. The next day, she goes back to look again. And the day after that. Before she knows it, she's spending an hour here, an afternoon there, watching, taking notes, obsessing and getting scared. With the aid of a small army of locals who hang around in the market's only park, she expands her surveillance, making it known she'll pay for information or sightings. A peculiar collection of drug addicts, scam artists, philanthropists, philosophers and vagrants--the regulars of Bellevue Square--are eager to contribute to Jean's investigation. But when some of them start disappearing, it becomes apparent that her alleged double has a sinister agenda. Unless Jean stops her, she and everyone she cares about will face a fate stranger than death


I rate this book at 3.5 stars. This despite the fact that I almost quit reading about halfway through it. At that point, it seemed like just another domestic noir novel and I couldn’t see why it was a Giller prize finalist—what could it possibly offer to deserve that? But I was home on a snowy day, appointments cancelled, coffee waiting, reading blanket at the ready, and I decided that I would give it a few more pages.

Suddenly things took a completely unexpected turn. I found myself questioning everything. The rest of the book slaloms back and forth between realities until I couldn’t distinguish between them anymore. I was hooked.

And then it ended. Those of you who know me, know that I like messy and ambiguous endings. Except this one. I was left absolutely baffled and unsure what the point of the whole exercise actually was. This was too much even for me.

Apparently there are two more similar books to come. I doubt that I will bother with them after this experience.

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review 2018-03-01 17:01
The Girlfriend: A Novel - Sarah Naughton

Trigger Warning:  Child Abuse and Rape


Mags enjoys the life she has in Las Vegas.  She's a bull-dog defense attorney and firmly plays by her rules.  But when she gets the news her brother, Abe has been seriously injured in a fall, she leaves for England to be by his side.  When Mags arrive at the hospital, she meets Abe's girlfriend, Jody who seems to be the only one who witnesses Abe's accident.  


Jody's account of the accident doesn't set well with Mags.  There's something that Jody isn't telling and Mags conducts her own investigation since she's not getting much help from the police.


This book started off very slow for me.  My rule for reading a slow book is if the first fifty pages of a book doesn't grab and hold my attention, I will not complete it.  I have so many other books I need read.  However, I thought I would give it another chance, set it aside and read something light and cheerful to cleanse my reading palette.  The story did pick up its pace a little after the first fifty pages, but not by much.


I had a difficult time connecting with the characters.  I didn't find Mags likable throughout most of the book, but she slowly redeems herself on the last twenty-five pages of the story.  The plot is good with gripping situations, however I felt some areas in the book needed more buildup.


If you like a dark, psychological thriller, Sarah Naughton's The Girlfriend may be the book for you.


Thank you Netgalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.



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review 2018-02-06 23:42
"Blind Goddess - Hannah Wilhelmsen #1" by Anne Holt (translated by Tom Geddes)
Blind Goddess (Thorndike Thrillers) - Anne Holt

The good things about "Blind Goddess":

  1. The story is told using some cleverly intersecting timelines in a way that makes the story less linear, increases tension and sustains some useful ambiguity
  2. The action scene - there's only one - not much else really happens, despite there being multiple killings - is well-done.
  3. It's set in Norway so there's snow and lots of polite aggression.


Things that made *Blind Goddess" a 2.5 star read:

  1. I didn't care about any of the characters - even when they were the good guys and in mortal danger. The writing was too arms-length - too dependent on an omniscient authorial voice. I felt like I was reading a screenplay.
  2. There was so little tension that, even though the plot is quite clever, I was tempted to give up about halfway through and read something that provoked more than mild curiosity.
  3. What little tension there was depended on unlikely events, like a car failing for no reason or a man being so worried by a vague threat that he suicides.
  4. The relationship between the main police officer and the prosecutor was central to the story and yet, after reading the whole thing, I still didn't know what that relationship was.

My advice: unless you're a true scandi crime fan, wait for the TV adaptation to come out.


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review 2018-02-06 17:18
The Gate Keeper - Charles Todd

Set in the early twenties,this book just breathes golden age with a very modern twist. A very perturbed inspector, suffering from post-war trauma, finds himself involved in a mysterious murder(a man stops a car in the middle of the night and shoots the chauffeur ). Not only does he needs to solve the case,he is also confronted with a certain animosity from the villagers and the local constabulary. This is a perfect read for lovers of the British detective story (villages,gentry, murder...)but this is definitely not a soppy read. Good story,right atmosphere and good characterisation. Very good.

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text 2018-01-30 18:15
10 Psychological thrillers for your 2018 TBR pile

We love to feel shivers when reading. And you? Check out these 2018 psychological thrillers full or secrets and deadly mysteries. Yummy! 


To add the book to your bookshelf click +Shelf. What's your secret? Share your  2018 thriller picks!



The Perfect Nanny: A Novel - Leila SlimaniThe Perfect Nanny - Leila Slimani  

Out: Jan. 9, 2018

When Myriam, a French-Moroccan lawyer, decides to return to work after having children, she and her husband look for the perfect nanny for their two young children. They never dreamed they would find Louise: a quiet, polite, devoted woman who sings to the children, cleans the family's chic apartment in Paris's upscale tenth arrondissement, stays late without complaint, and hosts enviable kiddie parties. But as the couple and the nanny become more dependent on one another, jealousy, resentment, and suspicions mount, shattering the idyllic tableau. Building tension with every page, The Perfect Nanny is a compulsive, riveting, bravely observed exploration of power, class, race, domesticity, and motherhood--and the American debut of an immensely talented writer.



Sunburn: A Novel - Laura LippmanSunburn - Laura Lippman  

Out: Feb. 20, 2018

They meet at a local tavern in the small town of Belleville, Delaware. Polly is set on heading west. Adam says he’s also passing through. Yet she stays and he stays—drawn to this mysterious redhead whose quiet stillness both unnerves and excites him. Over the course of a punishing summer, Polly and Adam abandon themselves to a steamy, inexorable affair. Still, each holds something back from the other—dangerous, even lethal, secrets.

Then someone dies. Was it an accident, or part of a plan? By now, Adam and Polly are so ensnared in each other’s lives and lies that neither one knows how to get away—or even if they want to. Is their love strong enough to withstand the truth, or will it ultimately destroy them?



The Chalk Man - C.J. TudorThe Chalk Man - C.J. Tudor  

Out: Jan. 11, 2018

You can feel it in the woods, in the school and in the playground; you can feel it in the houses and at the fairground. You can feel it in most places in the small town of Anderbury . . . the fear that something or someone is watching you. It began back in 1986, at the fair, on the day of the accident. That was when twelve-year-old Eddie met Mr Halloran - the Chalk Man. He gave Eddie the idea for the drawings: a way to leave secret messages for his friends and it was fun, until the chalk men led them to a body. Thirty years later, Ed believes the past is far behind him, until an envelope slips through the letterbox. It contains a stick of chalk, and a drawing of a figure. Is history going to repeat itself? Was it ever really over? Will this game only end in the same way?




The Elizas: A Novel - Sara ShepardThe Elizas - Sara Shepard  

Out: Apr. 17, 2018

When debut novelist Eliza Fontaine is found at the bottom of a hotel pool, her family at first assumes that it's just another failed suicide attempt. But Eliza swears she was pushed, and her rescuer is the only witness.

Desperate to find out who attacked her, Eliza takes it upon herself to investigate. But as the publication date for her novel draws closer, Eliza finds more questions than answers. Like why are her editor, agent, and family mixing up events from her novel with events from her life? Her novel is completely fictional, isn't it?



Anatomy of a Scandal: A Novel - Sarah VaughanAnatomy of a Scandal - Sarah Vaughan  

Out: Jan. 11, 2018

A high-profile marriage thrust into the spotlight. A wife, determined to keep her family safe, must face a prosecutor who believes justice has been a long time coming. A scandal that will rock Westminster. And the women caught at the heart of it.  Anatomy of a Scandal centres on a high-profile marriage that begins to unravel when the husband is accused of a terrible crime. Sophie is sure her husband, James, is innocent and desperately hopes to protect her precious family from the lies which might ruin them. Kate is the barrister who will prosecute the case – she is equally certain that James is guilty and determined he will pay for his crimes.



The Daughter: A gripping psychological thriller with a twist you won’t see coming - Lucy DawsonThe Daughter - Lucy Dawson  

Out: Jan. 24, 2018

You lost your daughter. You will never forgive yourself. Now someone's determined to make you pay… Seventeen years ago, something happened to Jess’s daughter Beth. The memory of it still makes her blood run cold. Jess has tried everything to make peace with that day, and the part she played in what happened. It was only a brief moment of desire… but she’ll pay for it with a lifetime of guilt.

To distance herself from the mistakes of the past, Jess has moved away and started over with her family. But when terrifying things begin happening in her new home, Jess knows that her past has finally caught up with her. Somebody feels Jess hasn’t paid enough, and is determined to make her suffer for the secrets she’s kept all these years.



The Good Samaritan - John MarrsThe Good Samaritan - John Marrs  

Out: Apr. 12, 2018

The people who call End of the Line need hope. They need reassurance that life is worth living. But some are unlucky enough to get through to Laura. Laura doesn’t want them to hope. She wants them to die. Laura hasn’t had it easy: she’s survived sickness and a difficult marriage only to find herself heading for forty, unsettled and angry. She doesn’t love talking to people worse off than she is. She craves it. But now someone’s on to her—Ryan, whose world falls apart when his pregnant wife ends her life, hand in hand with a stranger. Who was this man, and why did they choose to die together? The sinister truth is within Ryan’s grasp, but he has no idea of the desperate lengths Laura will go to…Because the best thing about being a Good Samaritan is that you can get away with murder.



Twist of Faith - Ellen R. Green WoodTwist of Faith - Ellen R. Green Wood  

Out: Feb. 1, 2018

After the death of her adoptive mother, Ava Saunders comes upon a peculiar photograph, sealed and hidden away in a crawl space. The photo shows a shuttered, ramshackle house on top of a steep hill. On the back, a puzzling inscription: Destiny calls us.
Ava is certain that it’s a clue to her elusive past. Twenty-three years ago, she’d been found wrapped in a yellow blanket in the narthex of the Holy Saviour Catholic Church—and rescued—or so she’d been told. Her mother claimed there was no more to the story, so the questions of her abandonment were left unanswered. For Ava, now is the time to find the roots of her mother’s lies. It begins with the house itself—once the scene of a brutal double murder.



Tips for Living - Renee ShafranskyTips for Living - Renee Shafransky  

Out: Feb. 1, 2018

It’s taken Nora three years. With the help of her best friend, she fled New York City for a small resort town, snagged a job as the advice columnist for the local paper, and is cautiously letting a new man into her life. But when Hugh and his perfect new family move into a house nearby, Nora backslides. Coping with jealousy, humiliation, and resentment again is as hard as she feared. It’s harder still when Hugh and his wife are shot to death in their home.

If only Nora could account for the night of the murders. Unfortunately, her memories have gone as dark as her fantasies of revenge. But Nora’s not the only one with a reason to kill—and as prime suspect in the crime, she’d better be able to prove it.



Pretty Girls Dancing - Kylie BrantPretty Girls Dancing - Kylie Brant  

Out: Jan. 1, 2018

Years ago, in the town of Saxon Falls, young Kelsey Willard disappeared and was presumed dead. The tragedy left her family with a fractured life—a mother out to numb the pain, a father losing a battle with his own private demons, and a sister desperate for closure. But now another teenage girl has gone missing. It’s ripping open old wounds for the Willards, dragging them back into a painful past, and leaving them unprepared for where it will take them next.
Bureau of Criminal Investigation agent Mark Foster has stumbled on uncanny parallels in the lives of the two missing girls that could unlock clues to a serial killer’s identity. That means breaking down the walls of the Willards’ long-guarded secrets and getting to a truth that is darker than he bargained for. Now, to rescue one missing girl, he must first solve the riddles that disappeared with another: Kelsey Willard herself. Dead or alive, she is his last hope.



If you love the titles add them to your bookshelf! Click +Shelf, or visit the 2018 Psychological Thrillers reading list


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