Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT The Silent Kookaburra by @LizaPerrat #Australian #Thriller

Today’s team review is from Olga, she blogs at http://www.authortranslatorolga.com

#RBRT Review Team

Olga has been reading The Silent Kookaburra by Liza Perrat

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My review:

I write this review as a member of Rosie’s Book Review Team and I was provided with an ARC copy that I voluntarily chose to review.

The story —set in an Australia richly brought to life by the writing that describes landscape, animals, trees, food, furniture, cars, lifestyle and social mores— is told in the first person by Tanya Randall. Adult Tanya is back in her childhood cottage and a newspaper cutting from 1973, which her grandmother kept, makes her remember that time when she was only eleven. The story of adult Tanya frames that of her childhood memories, which take up most of the book (I had almost forgotten that fact until the very end of the story).

Young Tanya is quite innocent (of course, she doesn’t think so), overweight (she eats compulsively, seemingly to comfort herself when the situation gets difficult at home, when they call her names, when she has any upsets or… most of the time. There are long lists of biscuits and other foods she consumes at an alarming pace, well-researched for the period, although I’m not familiar with them), and loves her mother, father, cat (that she insists on walking as if it were a dog, even if that brings her even more unwanted attention), dog, true crime magazines, and her friend Angelina, although not so much her grandmother, Nanna Purvis.

Seeing (or reading) things from a child’s point of view is a good way to reflect on how adult behaviour might appear to children and how difficult certain things might be to process and understand. Her mother’s miscarriages and depression (that keeps getting missed until very late in the novel), her secret uncle’s devious behaviour (it’s hard to read the scenes of Tanya with her uncle, as she’s clearly craving for attention and we know from early on where things are headed, but Tanya doesn’t and she finds it more and more difficult to extricate herself from the situation). The author is excellent at making us share her point of view and her thought processes that create an atmosphere of dread and impending disaster. The dualistic life view of young children, for whom everything is black or white is reflected perfectly in Tanya’s reactions to her grandmother (whom at first she doesn’t like at all but later, as she realises she’s the only one to stick by her, goes on to become complicit with) and to her uncle, who goes from being perfect to being a monster (although the novel suggests that he had also been a victim).

The novel is not easy to classify, although it comes under the thriller label, but it is a psychological exploration of childhood, memory, tragedy, the lies we tell ourselves, and also a work of historical (albeit recent history) fiction, as it beautifully recreates the time and place (down details such as hit songs, records of the era, bicycles, toys, cars, magazines, foodstuffs, clothing and hairdos) and even historical events, like the opening of the Sidney Opera House. There is something of a twist at the end, and plenty of secrets, like in most domestic noir novels, but for me, the strong points are the way the story is told, and some of the characters. Nanna Purvis (who is a fantastic character and proves that grandmothers are almost always right) has old-fashioned ideas about relationships, sexuality, religion and race, but manages to surprise us and has good insight into her own family. Tanya reminded me of myself at her age (although I read other types of books, I was also overweight and wasn’t the most popular girl at school, and we also lived with my mother’s mother, although thankfully my home circumstances were not as tragic) and she tries hard to keep her family together. Her point of view and her understanding are limited, and her actions and frame of mind repetitive at times (she munches through countless packets of biscuits, pulls at her cowlick often, bemoans the unattractive shape of her ears, wonders if she’s adopted) as it befits a character of her age and historical period (so close but yet so far. No internet, no social media, no easy way to access information). Real life is not a succession of exciting events; even at times of crisis, most of our lives are taken up by routine actions and everyday tasks. Her mother’s sinking into depression and her bizarre behaviour, which is sadly misunderstood and left untreated for far too long, rang a chord with me as a psychiatrist. It is an accurate portrayal of such conditions, of the effect the illness can have not only on the sufferers but also on the family, and of the reactions of the society to such illnesses (especially at the time). Uncle Blackie is also a fascinating character but I won’t say anything else as I want to avoid spoilers. Although the setting and the atmosphere are very different, it brought to my mind some of Henry James’s stories, in particular, What Maisie Knew and The Turn of the Screw.

This is a great novel that I recommend to those who are interested in accurate psychological portrayals, reflections on the nature of memory, and books with a strong sense of setting and historical period, rather than fast action and an ever changing plot. A word of warning: it will be difficult to read for those with a low tolerance for stories about child abuse and bullying. If you’re a fan of good writing that submerges you into a time and place and plunges you inside of a character’s head, with an edge of creepiness and intrigue, this is your book.

Book Description

All eleven-year-old Tanya Randall wants is a happy family. But Mum does nothing besides housework, Dad’s always down the pub and Nanna Purvis moans at everyone except her dog. Then Shelley arrives –– the miracle baby who fuses the Randall family in love for their little gumnut blossom.

Tanya’s life gets even better when she meets an uncle she didn’t know she had. He tells her she’s beautiful and could be a model. Her family refuses to talk about him. But that’s okay, it’s their little secret.

Then one blistering summer day tragedy strikes, and the surrounding mystery and suspicion tear apart this fragile family web. 

Embracing the social changes of 1970s Australia, against a backdrop of native fauna and flora, The Silent Kookaburra is a haunting exploration of the blessings, curses and tyranny of memory. 

Unsettling psychological suspense blending the intensity of Wally Lamb with the atmosphere of Peter James, this story will get under your skin.

About the author

An image posted by the author.

Liza grew up in Wollongong, Australia, where she worked as a general nurse and midwife for fifteen years.
When she met her French husband on a Bangkok bus, she moved to France, where she has been living with her husband and three children for twenty years. She works part-time as a French-English medical translator, and as a novelist.
Several of her short stories have won awards, notably the Writers Bureau annual competition of 2004 and her stories have been published widely in anthologies and small press magazines. Her articles on French culture and tradition have been published in international magazines such as France Magazine and France Today.

Spirit of Lost Angels is the first in the historical “The Bone Angel” series set against a backdrop of rural France during the French Revolution. The second in the series, Wolfsangel, set during the WWII German Occupation of France, was published in October, 2013. The third in the series, Blood Rose Angel, set during the 14th century Black Plague years was published in November, 2015.

The Silent Kookaburra, a dark psychological suspense novel set in 1970s Australia, was published in November, 2016.

Friends, Family and Other Strangers From Downunder is a collection of 14 humorous, horrific and entertaining short stories set in Australia, for readers everywhere.

Liza is a co-founder and member of Triskele Books, an independent writers’ collective with a commitment to quality and a strong sense of place, and also reviews books for Bookmuse.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT EXPOSURE by @RoseEdmunds Financial #Thriller #TuesdayBookBlog

Today’s second team post is from Terry, she blogs here http://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading Exposure by Rose Edmunds

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EXPOSURE by Rose Edmunds

4 out of 5 stars

This is the standalone sequel to Concealment, which I read two years ago; I have the worst memory in the world, so Exposure read as a one-off to me.  Thus, I can confirm that you don’t need to read Concealment first, though of course it’s always helpful ~ and I think it might be equally as interesting to read it afterwards.

I’d describe this novel as half way between a financial and a psychological thriller.  Occasionally the financial terminology went over my head, but it’s written in such a way that I got the gist.  One thing I did like very much was the way the novel was structured; there are lots of point of view and situation changes at just the right time, it’s extremely well-edited, with plenty of dangling, suspenseful threads at the ends of chapters to make you think, “I wonder what’s going to happen there….?”  The whole novel is dialogue-led; there is little narrative, and the pace never lets up.  Murder, deception, financial fraud, international skullduggery toxic relationships ~ it has all the ingredients of a popular page-turner.

Rose Edmunds’ Amy shows clever characterisation; she is bound to cause definite reactions amongst those who read her.  The daughter of a hoarder, she grew up with all sorts of psychological problems that led her to being exceptionally ambitious and obsessed with the material, and the outward show of success.  In the last book, circumstances came together to make all this come crashing down, and Exposure deals with the new, more self-aware Amy who is still trying to deal with the remnants of the old.  She’s not particularly likeable; she knows it’s nasty and superficial of her to judge a female colleague on being (horrors!) 20 lbs overweight and wearing the ‘wrong’ clothes, but she can’t help it.  She’s unsympathetic to the woman whose husband was in love with her – she tries to overcome the self-destructive within her, but always struggles.  Her complex character makes for some interesting relationship dynamics, indeed, and we learn more about her backstory in this book, too. 

My favourite character was financial blogger Toby Marchpole ~ I was most interested in his wife, an old schoolfriend of Amy’s, and their marriage.  I also enjoyed Amy’s observations about the dreadful Pedley, her boss for part of the book (when she goes undercover…. I’ll leave you to find out about that!).

It’s a well thought out plot, and I’m sure readers of smart, fast-paced contemporary thrillers will enjoy it very much ~ there’s certainly no opportunity to get bored!

Book Description

City high-flyer Amy has crashed and burned. Fresh out of rehab and with her career in tatters, the sudden death of an old friend propels her into an illicit undercover fraud investigation. 
But Amy’s in way over her head. The assignment quickly turns sour, pitching her into a nightmare where no one can be trusted and nothing is what it seems. 
In mortal danger, and with enemies old and new conspiring against her, Amy’s resilience is tested to the limit as she strives to defeat them and rebuild her life.

About the author

Rose Edmunds

For more than 20 years, Rose Edmunds almost passed as normal, working undercover in several well-known financial firms in London while quietly gathering material for her novels.

Since jumping off the corporate hamster wheel Rose now writes thrillers with a strong ethical theme. Her writing draws heavily on her considerable insight into business world and in particular the uncomfortable conflict between capitalism and humanity. 

Rose’s debut thriller, Never Say Sorry, was about a Big Pharma conspiracy to suppress a cancer cure. Since then, she has been working on the Crazy Amy thriller series—an ambitious project which will follow the brilliant but unstable Amy Robinson on her journey from senior finance executive to who knows where…

You can find out more by checking out Rose’s website at www.roseedmunds.co.uk or on Facebook at Rose Edmunds – Author Page. Via the website, you can also join the Crazy Amy VIP Fan Club, for exclusive access to free bonus Crazy Amy short stories and other exciting offers. There is also a closed Facebook group for club members.

Rose lives in Brighton with her husband David.

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT IREX by @CarlRackman Victorian Seafaring HistFic #Thriller

Today’s team review is from Noelle, she blogs here http://saylingaway.wordpress.com

#RBRT Review Team

Noelle has been reading Irex by Carl Rackman

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Book Review: #Victorian historical mystery #psychological thriller #seafaring tale

 Irex is Carl Rackman’s debut novel, and in terms of creating a feeling of doom and tension in totally bleak surroundings, this author succeeds too well!

Set in the late Victorian era, the story alternates between the maiden voyage of the steel hulled, tall ship Irex, and the investigation into the causes of its wreck and the fate of the survivors amongst her passengers. The settings: The Firth of Clyde, the North Atlantic and the Isle of Wight – all in late winter with unceasing rain, snow and sleet.

Will Hutton, a good and decent married man, has been chosen to captain Irex on this voyage, the ship carrying a cargo of three thousand tons of pig iron to Rio de Janeiro. Hutton has decades of sailing experience, having served on such ships since he was a boy. In addition to the cargo, there are three passengers on Irex: Salvation Army missionaries George and Elizabeth Barstow and a mysterious man of means, Edward Clarence. Captain Hutton’s developing relationships with each of these passengers is a complex subplot, more so when he discovers that one of them hides a horrifying past and none of them are who they seem. The unending storms preventing Irex from making headway on her journey and an early death of a crew member foretells an ill-fated voyage. Lack of sleep, his physical attraction to Mrs. Barstow, challenges to his authority and blackmail all threaten Hutton’s ability to save his ship and challenge his sanity.

Irex wrecks off the Isle of Wight six weeks after sailing from Scotland, and a county coroner, Frederick Blake, is sent to the island to hold an inquiry into the cause. The inquiry is compromised from the start by the existence of a mole within the procedure, and with a disturbing lack of information and witnesses, Blake finds he himself must unravel the events dooming the ship, as well as the character of the crew and its passengers, to reach a finding. When he discovers that powerful forces within the British aristocracy are working to impede his investigation, he is more determined than ever to find out what actually occurred aboard Irex.

The atmosphere of this mystery is exceptional and the author’s attention to detail, especially in the chapters dealing with the voyage and the sailing of such a large ship, show an incredible depth of research. The ship, its crew, and their responsibilities are finely delineated – as a sailor myself, I appreciated the descriptions.

The author has created a rich Victorian world and spun the tail with colourful, unforgettable characters, weaving in intrigue and mystery. When the truth about Clarence is revealed, the plot unveils a deeper depravity – for me a light bulb moment.

My only complaint is the slow pace at which the plot unfolds. The book is dense, very dense, and there were stretches that could have been shortened significantly without affecting the content. I truly wanted to digest it all but wanted more to get to the resolution!

Mr. Rackman is an exceptional writer and this is a superb first outing – a psychological thriller, a seafaring adventure, and first rate murder mystery. I look forward to his next book.

Book Description

In the harsh winter of December 1889, the sailing vessel Irex leaves Scotland bound for Rio de Janeiro. She carries three thousand tons of pig iron and just three passengers for what should be a routine voyage. But Captain Will Hutton discovers that one of his passengers hides a horrifying secret. 

When the Irex is wrecked off the Isle of Wight six weeks later, it falls to the county coroner, Frederick Blake, to begin to unravel the events that overtook the doomed ship — but he soon finds that powerful forces within the British Establishment are working to thwart him. Locked in a race against time and the sinister agents sent to impede him, he gradually discovers that nothing aboard the Irex is what it first seemed… 

Irex is an atmospheric mystery, set in a rich Victorian world, packed with intrigue, twists and colourful characters — the spellbinding first novel by Carl Rackman.

About the author

Carl Rackman

Carl Rackman is a former airline pilot with interests in seafaring and mysteries. His reading is multi-genre – historical, sci-fi, fantasy and techno – but psychological thrillers are prime. He started writing in 2016 and Irex is his first novel. He lives in Surrey, UK.

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#NewRelease ONE LITTLE MISTAKE by @emmacurtisbooks @RosieMargesson #Thriller #SundayBlogShare

One Little MistakeOne Little Mistake by Emma Curtis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

One Little Mistake is a psychological thriller. The main setting is the London area, the year 2010. Running alongside is another story, set in 1992, which ties in at the end. The book chapters alternate between the two.

The story opens with baby Josh having a morning nap, the third child of Vicky Seagrave. Sleepless nights and a fractious baby leave her strung out, so she’s vulnerable when little distractions occur.
A moment of a poor decision, a break-in and the quick action of her friend leads Vicky down a path of destiny she would not have chosen in hindsight. Vicky and Amber met at anti-natal classes; they’ve become best friends, but the friendships is not without problems, mostly based around Amber’s complex emotional issues.

In the second storyline, Katya was in the care of social services, but her social worker, Maggie didn’t listen when she tried to tell her that Luke was abusing her.

When one lie leads to another Vicky’s life begins to spiral out of control. Others have seen something in Amber they don’t quite trust, but Vicky has been blinded by their friendship. Can she turn things around and keep control? Or will one tiny error be her downfall?

I thought the author portrayed really well the stress new mothers feel when they have demanding babies who don’t sleep at night, and when they also feel they have to cope with social pressure to do everything ‘right’. The story was well developed, with small cracks in the relationship between Vicky and Amber slowly drip-fed to the reader. The pull of a thriller or a mystery, for the reader, is to try to solve the mystery themselves, and this gave a satisfying balance between mystery and clues.

The building of Amber’s character was stealthy, taking her full circle from devoted best pal to jealous friend, and, finally, to shocking stranger. Revelations about her past were a great surprise, and gave another, fascinating angle to the reader’s understanding of her.

Closing messages from the book will have readers thinking about the friendships they currently have and perhaps some they’ve lost on the way, and made me think about how little we know, sometimes, about those we consider friends. The playground gossips at the school of Vicky’s older children had me nodding in recognition, as they will with most mothers.

A good, well-written debut novel. In order to give this book 5* I would have needed to see some really unexpected twists of the jaw-dropping kind to keep the reader on the edge of their seat in this popular genre, but I was impressed with what I read.

A thriller to pull at the heartstrings of mothers, and, perhaps, to make others question their closest friendships.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book Description

Vicky Seagrave is blessed: three beautiful children, a successful, doting husband, great friends and a job she loves. She should be perfectly happy.

When she risks everything she holds dear on a whim, there’s only person she trusts enough to turn to.

But Vicky is about to learn that one mistake is all it takes; that if you’re careless with those you love, you don’t deserve to keep them . . . 

About the author

Emma Curtis

Emma Curtis was born in Brighton and brought up in London. Her fascination with the darker side of domestic life inspired her to write One Little Mistake, her first psychological suspense. She has two children and lives in Richmond with her husband.

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ALONE TRILOGY by @BobSummer5 #Psychological #Thrillers set in #Wales #TuesdayBookBlog

ALONE (The complete trilogy)ALONE by Bob Summer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Alone Trilogy are a set of psychological thrillers set in Wales around a small town of Nanteang. Book #1 Alone But Not Lost introduces us to a lonely a very insecure character called Sin. She lives in a house with top security, CCTV cameras, locks and bolts and a safe room, and hovers on the edge of sanity. Her only human contact is with Hawk, an odd-job man she leaves notes for who gets her shopping and tries to become her friend.

News of the release from prison of Glyn Morgan has Sin panicking, and making preparations to run away. This triggers memories from her childhood and fills us in on the story so far. Born to a mother made rich from a song her band once made, Sin is her mother’s mistake and she’s subjected to verbal and physical abuse from a mentally unstable parent. Forced to live in a pit beneath the garage. Later they send Sin to a private school, where she meets Jenna, but it’s a front for a Paedophile ring and the girls run away, successfully at first, but later they’re caught. With no proper schooling or upbringing, Sin is far from streetwise and experiences then and later, when they return to her mother’s house make her insanity no surprise.

Book #2 The Edge. Grown up Sin is on the run. Jenna’s gone, Hawk’s dead and she can’t trust anyone. This book is also more about police officer Sara Jones, who came as a community support policewoman to offer support when Glyn was freed. Sara and Sin had met about twenty years before when Sin and Jenna were on the run. They both have mental health issues, and are alone. Sara is ostracized at work over supporting a rape allegation against a fellow police officer. She’d like to be a part of the current murder investigation, but she has family connections and they keep her out. But she can’t let it rest and follows her own line of inquiries which lead them to Sin.

Book #3 Detective Alan Meadows is also a loner, sent in undercover to sniff out the corruption in the police-force. There’s been a big fall-out because of Sara’s investigations and she’s left the force for a peaceful life, but two cases of arson at Hawk’s properties and kidnapping of her son and his pregnant girlfriend have her back on the case. With few avenues open to her, she asks Alan for help, the kidnappers want Sin because they believe she holds vital information, but Sin is in a top mental hospital. Sarah will stop at nothing to save her family and Alan puts his job on the line to help her.

It was good to read these books one after another, there was just enough detail of the story so far, for readers who will read them singularly, but not too much for those reading them in sequence. I think they work best read one after the other and I enjoyed the level of suspense in each book. As the books evolve they move more into police crime thrillers. There were some good twists at the end of book three which I didn’t see coming. I would recommend these to anyone who enjoys good thrillers.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT WINGS OF MAYHEM by @SueColetta1 #Thriller #WeekendBlogShare

Today’s second team review is from Karen, she blogs at http://mytrainofthoughtson.wordpress.com

#RBRT Review Team

Karen has been reading Wings Of Mayhem by Sue Coletta

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My Opinion

This book introduces you to Shawnee Daniels, leading a double life and – being immune to feedback is suboptimal when a serial killer is near.

With The Wings of Mayhem, Sue Coletta has once again created an incredibly chilling thriller with a stubborn young woman stalked by a serial killer. It is a very compelling read, inevitably drawing you in as the story proceeds. Sue Coletta paints a clear picture of the main characters’ mindsets – making the readers acquainted with them – while the story evolves. I was drawn rather close to Shawnee (despite her stubbornness) and Levaughn. The characters are very complex, believable with their flaws and virtues; sometimes too believable for comfort. The story is cleverly elaborated and has a great flow. Sue Coletta’s thorough research shows; you find proof throughout the story

This is a book for you if you like psychological suspense, thrillers with serial killers, stubborn characters, and if you are a fan of excellently researched topics.

Highly recommended!

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT CURRENTS OF SIN by @aallemanwrites #Thriller #LasVegas

Today’s second team review is from Judith, she blogs here http://judithbarrowblog.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Judith has been reading Currents of Sin by Arleen Alleman

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My Review:

I was drawn to the cover of this book; it intrigued me and, together with the blurb, I was looking forward to the read.

The subject matter is dark; human trafficking, teenage runaways, enforced prostitution. It’s hard to read because of the themes and because of the depth and intensity of the writing. Which is to be admired. It is obvious that the author has researched extensively and she brings all that knowledge to the story..

The depictions of the settings and the atmosphere they evoke are strong, well described, well detailed. Las Vegas is revealed to have an underbelly of corruption and danger.

The characters are well drawn, especially the protagonist, Darcy. The reader learns a lot of the background, her family, her previous life, former encounters, her friends and her enemies. The portrayal of the abduction of Pamela, Darcy’s adopted daughter, the way she is conditioned into prostitution is written with confidence. I had no difficulty believing the hopelessness of the situation. I know though, I should have read at least one of the former books to have been able gained more empathy with this character.

The plot is complex and interwoven with the history of all the characters’ lives and the multifaceted subplots they bring to the story.

But reading Currents of Sin reminded me how difficult it is to write a book that is a sequel, or a follow on to a series of books. The danger of telling rather than showing- or of information dumping – is difficult to overcome.  I found myself having to read and re-read certain parts to understand how the characters fitted in. Some of the explanations – although necessary in the main to bring an awareness to the situation – slowed the action considerably. I was constantly drawn away from the plot to appreciate and realize where and how, characters and situations were connected.

Yet, as I always say, this could be me and the way that I read. After writing this review I looked for the book on Amazon to find an image of the cover (which still think is brilliant, by the way). There were many good comments on other reviews. There were quite a few five stars. Whenever I see this I start to doubt myself as a reviewer. So I spent a few more hours re-reading. It did become easier but I still don’t think Currents of Sin could be read as a stand alone; there are too many referrals to the plots of the former novels for me.

But if read as a final book in a series I can see that all the threads would be pulled together. It is a good psychological thriller.

Buying links:

Amazon.co.uk:http://amzn.to/2bsg0Ig

Amazon.com: http://amzn.to/2c0M8AI

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT BEDSIT THREE by @sallyjenkinsuk #Thriller #fridayreads

Today’s second team review is from Judith, she blogs at http://judithbarrowblog.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Judith has been reading Bedsit Three by Sally Jenkins

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My Review:

I really enjoyed this novel, it’s a good psychological thriller that steadily builds in tension until the end.

Sally Jenkins’ style of writing is easy to read without being cosy. Her words take the reader steadily through the plot without revealing too much, yet there is also subtle foreshadowing. .

The main characters are well portrayed: the single mother, Sandra, with a young daughter, the new occupant of bedsit three, Ian, a middle class, unemployed man, separated from his wife and son, desperate to be reunited with them. And then there is the former resident of bedsit three;  the mentally disturbed  Ignatius Smith, evicted and living nearby in his car. The author gradually reveals the actions and thought processes of each of these people. And  I liked how the two”off the scene” characters associated with  Ignatius Smith were revealed.. And, no, I won’t say any more about that!

My only disappointment in the whole of this book was with the dialogue. Sometimes, with all of the characters, I thought the dialogue was stilted (perhaps a little contrived?) and didn’t fit their portrayed personalities. Every now a then a section of speech felt as though it was there, not so much for exposition, but for explanation to the reader. Hmm, does that make sense? .

The main setting is Vesey Villas, an old house separated into cramped bedsits. The descriptions of the building are evocative and gives a good sense of place; of seedy, uncared-for rooms. In fact each setting that the characters move around in is well depicted

Bedsit Three has a good, progressive plot, the story is equally shared between the three main characters and was gripping enough to  keep me reading almost in one session. Personally I was a little disappointed with the ending. But this wasn’t because of the writing or the way the plot evolved; it was because I wanted a different ending. I need to stress this was purely personal and gives credit to the writing of Sally Jenkins. So ignore what I’ve just written. You could always find out what I mean by buying this great book.

Bedsit Three is for anyone who enjoys a well written contemporary  psychological thriller.

Buying links:

Amazon.co.uk: http://amzn.to/2bOZQYY

Amazon.com: http://amzn.to/2c5OrG4

Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Childhunt by @FaithMortimer #Mystery #Suspense

Today’s team review comes from Judith, she blogs at http://judithbarrowblog.com/

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Judith chose to read and review Childhunt by Faith Mortimer

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The plot of CHILDHUNT is an excellent one. I admire Faith Mortimer’s writing. I didn’t realise this was a follow on of the Diana Rivers, Psychological Thriller Series and that some of the characters had a past life in earlier books. This coloured my first reaction when reading of this novel and I needed to give it a second go.

I know how difficult it is to avoid information dumps in sequels. This is one reason, I think, that the story is slow in starting. The early chapters mainly consist of setting the characters and their back-story within the scene. We are first introduced to Adam (a detective), Roger (a retired barrister’s clerk). Diana, the obvious protagonist of the book, and ex-fiancée to Adam is only mentioned in a conversation between the two men about a past crime; the killing of two children. She is brought into the story shortly afterwards as a writer, now married to Steve. And it is through her we meet two of the important characters, Debbie and William; parents of Charlie and Hannah.

There are some thrilling action scenes but these are often slowed right down by long pieces of internal dialogue of the characters, especially the character of Debbie (ostensibly the person thought to be involved in the crime discussed earlier) And there are various times when the point of view changes within the narrative without warning, mid-scene, which slows the story yet again.

I don’t give spoilers in reviews so that’s as far as I’ll go.

The dialogue is good and differentiates the characters but the dialogue of the children didn’t ring true for me. Even being willing to believe they are exceedingly well behaved, Charlie’s voice sounded stilted and that of the little girl, Hannah, irritated, purely because it was written exactly as anyone with a lisp would speak. The odd syllable to show that she stutters is all that is required – you need to trust that the reader understands.

The setting is Cyprus, the descriptions of the customs of the country are interesting, there are some wonderful descriptions of the unusual wintry conditions and the descriptions of the buildings are good, especially that of the rented house of the paedophile.

Paedophilia is obviously a difficult subject to write about and Faith Mortimer’s description of the physical appearance of Philip Bolton, the paedophile, is good (although palpably, and quite rightly) written to repulse) and, straight-away, the reader is made aware that there is a sordid mystery to his past. But I found the internal dialogue of the paedophile particularly uncomfortable; not only because of his thoughts but because of the way it was written. For example, “he grinned, lasciviously, thinking how pleasant and delightful touching them would be…”, when he realises his plan is working he felt a “…tingle with excitement in his groin and he let out a cackle of laughter…” and, when he touched the little girl, “The feeling made him groan with desire.” Ms Mortimer makes a good job of making the man repugnant but there was something about the delineation of the scenes that Bolton is in that feels melodramatic and wrong. But, as always, this is only my subjective view.

This is a well-plotted psychological thriller, written from a third person omniscient narrator’s point of view. There are enough clues drip-fed into the story to keep the reader interested (I guessed the real identity of Philip Bolton about halfway through the book – which was quite satisfying). And as I said at the beginning of this review there is much I admire about Faith Mortimer’s writing.

But I probably would have preferred an earlier book about amateur sleuth, Diana Rivers – if only to get to know the background of the characters (but probably because the subject matter of the crime was totally abhorrent.) I know these crimes are a fact of life; I was a child, living at the time of the Moors murders, in a village near to where the children were buried, and remember it far too well.

However, disregarding that, and purely on the basis of reviewing the novel, I have thought carefully about CHILDHUNT and, after much consideration, have given the book three stars.

Find a copy here:

http://amzn.to/1Fqp6y4

http://amzn.to/1A4dryJ

Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Terry reviews Behind A Twisted Smile by Faith Mortimer

Today we have a review from Terry, she blogs at http://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

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Terry chose to read and review Behind A Twisted Smile by Faith Mortimer

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Behind a Twisted Smile by Faith Mortimer

3.5 stars

Reviewed by me as part of Rosie Amber’s Review Team

A psychological thriller. Keen marathon runner Moya Waterford has had a brief relationship with Martyn Cousins, and thinks she will hear no more from him when she calls it a day. This, however, is when the trouble starts, as he insinuates himself into the life of her family and manages to convince everyone that he is a really nice guy. Moya suspects differently, especially when she finds out details about his past. Alas, no-one believes her….

This is a fairly standard plot, but it’s in the telling, right? I sped through the first fifty per cent of the book on a long train journey without even noticing I had read so much of it; I found the writing style very readable, and there were no long boring bits or diversions that might have tempted me to skip read. Martyn was delightfully slimy, sister Evie and mother Belinda irritating in their naiveté; the dialogue is mostly smooth and the book starts with a good punch.

I’m in two minds about this one; one the one hand I did enjoy it, but on the other hand I felt frustrated by it because the whole premise by which the plot hangs is, I think, unfeasible. Very slight spoiler alert here; skip to the next paragraph if you don’t want to know anything at all about the plot. Right from the beginning Martyn gives Moya’s friends and family the impression that he dumped her and she is upset and jealous because he is now with her sister, Evie. So why doesn’t Moya make clear that it is she who finished it and she doesn’t even like him much? She’s supposed to be a strong, outspoken sort of woman but for some reason is struck dumb about this detail until much later. Next, someone from Martyn’s past travels hundreds of miles to reveal shocking details about her own experience with him, and to warn Moya that he is dangerous, but for some reason Moya does little about it, and doesn’t even seem to give it more than a cursory consideration although the pattern is clearly repeating itself. When she does finally start to reveal details, her lifelong best friend chooses to believe Martyn over her, despite all the evidence.

I liked Faith Mortimer’s writing style and would read another book by her; if you are good at suspending disbelief this might work for you (as I can see by the reviews it has for many), but for me it needed more thinking out, perhaps another draft or two to tighten up the prose, and less inclusion of unlikely occurrences in order to push the plot forward. I was expecting much more of a twist in the tale all the way through, and suspected another character’s involvement in the evil-doing; I thought I’d been really clever and guessed it at 57% but I was wrong; a really great twist at the end would have made the book so much stronger.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com