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» Listings for April 2011

  1. Andrew Gross Killing Hour My Rating: 3/5

     I had high expectations for this as I have loved his other books. I have to be honest and say I wasn't as thrilled as I thought I would be. The story itself was okay, but just that, okay.

    We meet Dr Jay Handler who is living happily with his wife and children when he receives a desperate phone call from his brother Charlie. Charlie's son Evan has committed suicide. Ay decides to fly to visit them and help Charlie and his wife through this difficult time whilst grieving for Evan. What he doesn't bank on is the fact that Evan's death looks suspicious. Before long Jay is dragged into finding out what really happened to his nephew.

    I liked the character of Jay and the story was well paced, but there were things I wasn't keen on. Jay's brother Charlie was lacking depth and there seemed to be a lot of the story elements that repeated too often.

    I was saddened to read that the character Evan was based around Andrew Gross nephew who also committed suicide. The writing was good and the story not bad, I just don't think this was his best.

  2. J A Kerley Buried Alive
    My Rating: 4/5

    Jack Kerley has now written 7 of these books in the series featuring Detective Carson Ryder. I have not read the earlier books in the series but did read the last book entitled `Little Girls Lost'.

    After Ryder witnesses the escape of the violent psychopath Bobby Crayline from prison, he decides a holiday is in order. He takes a rare break in the mountains with his faithful dog named Mix-Up (GREAT name for a dog by the way!). As usual, Carson's break is interrupted, as any good fictional Detective should expect! He gets called to a grisly murder scene by an anonymous phone call.

    His unexpected presence at the crime scene doesn't go down well with local Detective Donna Cherry, but before long there are too many bodies to be fighting between themselves. Unwittingly Carson gets dragged into the murders and tries to help Cherry get to the bottom of it.

    With the arrival of the FBI, things certainly don't go smoothly and before long Carson realises there is a lot more at stake that a serial killer, as things and people from his past begin to emerge.

    I enjoyed the last Kerley book I read and was looking forward to the next instalment. This didn't disappoint in terms of Carson and the storyline. When I saw other reviews of the book, a couple of people complained there was a major plot spoiler quite early on that looked like an editorial mistake. Thankfully, I am not that bright and was so engrossed in the book I must have missed it!

    Ryder is a great character and again is written well with all his baggage too. It's nice to see him in an area that is not his local stomping ground and the character Donna Cherry made for a good match up as she is certainly not a pushover. The story itself starts with the escape of convict Bobby Crayline, and before long I forgot all about him while the other murders were taking place. This meant that there were two major plots running through the story which made it quite interesting.

    The murder scenes were as usual very grisly and descriptive, but I must point out that Jack Kerley actually made me wince whilst reading one particular section of the book. I actually had to stop reading one scene involving a dead corpse laid out for viewing as it had my stomach turning! Either I have a very active imagination, or he is a great writer. I think it may be a combination of the two, but it makes for great reading.

    The introduction of Carson's brother was very interesting and although I don't want to introduce a plot spoiler, I am glad the story panned out the way it did giving the story more room to grow in future books. The book was paced very well and towards the end we see it reach its climax and wrap things up nicely. All in all, once again a thoroughly enjoyable read, although not one for the weak stomached!

  3. Louise Bagshawe DestinyMy Rating: 3/5

    I only recently started reading Louise Bagshawe. I know that she has written for many years but have not read any of her earlier books. The most recent book I read was named Desire and had a suspiciously similar cover to this one. I enjoyed the last one and felt that it was chick lit with an element of `thriller' thrown in for good measure. I felt that this book was firmly rooted back to the solely chick lit genre which is not necessarily a bad thing.

    The first thing that struck me in the first half of the book was how much I disliked the main character Kate Fox. As a main character I almost expect to instantly like them and this was not the case with this book. Although I didn't warm to her the story was easy to absorb yourself in. Kate is a typical money-grabbing woman. The only difference with her to other stereo-typical gold-diggers was that she seemed to be a very independent and intelligent woman. It kind of made me wonder why she was choosing this path for her life.

    Sure enough it becomes apparent that this life is not for her but to extract herself from it means a long and dirty fight with her husband Marcus Broder. Broder was a despicable character that had wealth and power and absolutely zero respect for women. The second half of the book we see Kate struggle with her decisions and then a major event impacts her life in a way that she is unsure how to deal with.

    This particular event is one that I didn't see coming so adds to the element of surprise which is a good thing. I can't say that this book throws up anything particularly new in this genre (which is very hard to do anyway) but Bagshawe has created characters that you find easy to get to know which is always a plus for me. The story is paced pretty well and towards the latter part of the book it picks up pace.

    The ending was a little predictable but written well and I enjoyed it. The one thing that threw me a little bit was the amount of sex in the book. Don't get me wrong you see it countless times in this genre and it is par for the course, but I just don't remember Louise Bagshawe writing this raunchily in the last book. If you are a little prudish then maybe this isn't for you. However, this book was pretty readable but with the amount of competition out there, I'm not sure its at the top of the selections!

  4. Simon Kernick DeadlineMy Rating: 4/5

    I am slowly working my way through Simon Kernick's books ever since picking up the book Relentless. Now I have to point out that after reading Relentless which is a 10 out of 10 book, the expectation was high. I also had the misfortune of not reading the books in order of publication which I dislike doing, even if they are stand alone novels.

    In this book we meet Mike Bolt, a member of the SOCA. I get the impression that he may have appeared in previous books but you still get an overall history of him so this book can be read on its own. Mike is dragged into the investigation but has no idea that Andrea Devern is the lady in trouble. This is a major part of the storyline which adds to the tension of the story itself.

    Andrea Devern is a woman in distress and as usual Simon Kernick manages to translate the fear onto paper. You can almost imagine yourself standing right next to this woman whose daughter's life is being threatened. The first few chapters we are thrown in at the deep end with Andrea and see her making split second decision in order to try and save her daughter. There is also an underlying element of suspicion with the woman.

    As usual the pace is frighteningly fast and before you know it you are halfway through the book. One of the things I love about Kernick is that when you start reading his books you feel like you are being physically dragged in and you are powerless to stop reading. There are many twists and turns in this book and the suspense level is cranked high. We get to read about Andrea chasing her daughter, Mike chasing the case and surprisingly we also see a glimmer of Andrea's daughter Emma and the nightmare she has been dragged in to.

    We also see Tina Boyd make an appearance on the case, and she can be seen in other Kernick books. I love Simon Kernick's style of writing and don't think for that he can be faulted. This isn't my favourite book of his (as Relentless is just the best), but this is definitely an easy to read, high octane thriller with lots of plot twists. Overall another corker of a read from Kernick, sit down and hold on tight for the ride.

  5. Jo Carnegie DIrty TricksMy Rating: 5/5

    Well, well, seems Jo Carnegie is the new Jackie Collins. Wow, talk about a `bonk-buster' of a book. I have read all of Jo's books and enjoyed them all. This latest one was the best yet in my opinion. Her previous books introduce us to all different people living in the village and I must say that each book gives you another look into the lives of the villagers.

    Although the books are set in and around the people that live or have lived in Churchminster you could read each one on their own and it wouldn't make any difference. I like having a bit of background on all the various people we have seen in previous books especially when they pop up again in the current one.

    This latest release takes us into the lives of Harriet and Saffy. Harriett is quite happy living in London, but with her mother having disappeared off to do charity work on the other side of the world, she realises she is missing something. Her mad idea of volunteering for a charity becomes a reality and before long she is signed up to help out at the Gatsby Community Centre.

    The Community Centre introduces us to Zack the very sexy but mysterious man who runs the place, and Win the loud and lovable lady that everybody seems to go to for help. Win is a fabulous character and I could almost picture her in my head chatting to Harriet. Zack was also interesting although it took me longer to work out why he didn't come across as well, however by the end of the book it all made sense.

    Saffy meanwhile is set up in the country in her Mum's house and is writing her first book. She is determined to make a go of it, but didn't bank on Tom's supermodel twin brother Rex popping up and becoming a temporary resident in the village. Zack and Tom may be twins and be identical in looks but as men they are polar opposites. Saffy finds herself drawn in to Rex and his world and before long her relationship with Tom is on rocky ground.

    As ever the other village characters pop up and one on my absolute favourites is Harriet's Dad Sir Ambrose. He made me laugh at his antics while Harriet's mother was out of the country. We also see fleeting glimpses of Jed, Benedict and Caro as well as Clementine.

    As usual Jo Carnegie has done a cracking job of bringing to life these weird and wonderful people of Churchminster. The book was so easy to read and had a brilliant ending that wrapped up things nicely. Don't get me wrong this is not a book that is challenging, but myself personally, I don't read `chick lit' books for the challenge. In particular the one thing that stood out a mile for me with this book is the amount of sex in it! Now I love a good bonk buster with Jackie Collins being a favourite, but was shocked to see the change in JC's books. I don't recall Jo Carnegie writing like that before, although she certainly pulled the hat out of the bag with this book. In my eyes the perfect beach read, forget reality and get your teeth stuck into this glamorous, funny and trashy novel. Perfect!!!