Book review: My Last Confession by Helen Fitzgerald

My Last Confession by Helen FitzgeraldMy Last Confession: What it is about

From amazon: “A naïve parole officer in her first month on the job. An extremely good-looking convicted murderer. What could go wrong?

These are some of Krissie’s tips for fellow parole officers:

Don’t smuggle heroin into prison.

Don’t drink vodka to relieve stress.

Don’t French-kiss a colleague to make your boyfriend jealous.

If only she’d taken her own advice…

When she starts the job, Krissie is happy and in love. Then she meets convicted murderer Jeremy, and begins to believe he may be innocent. Her growing obsession with his case threatens to jeopardise everything – her job, her relationship and her life.”

My Last Confession: What I thought

Hele Fitzgerald’s books are thrillers with a difference. They don’t fit into the typical thriller-mould and are a little crazy, but great fun at the same time.

Krissie thought being a parole officer would be easy. You read reports, visit the prisoners and that’s it. But already on her first case, she gets involved more than she should. He is a good-looking guy, and he wasn’t even anywhere nearby when the murder happened. It’s just that his estranged mother won’t give him an alibi, although he was with her that day.

So, Krissie is a little in love and talks to the people in his life and slowly starts to home in on a possible killer. Her home life is a mess, meanwhile, with her artist boyfriend is busy organising an exhibition, while he’s in the meantime supposed to look after their young child.

It was fun, it was different, it had quite a twist, too. An easy read for when you want a thriller without blood and gore. Oh wait, there are of course some missing fingers…

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (good)

Number of pages: 272

First published: 2007

I got this: bought it

Genre: thriller

Other books I read by this author: The Duplicate, Bloody Women


Book Review: Wool by Hugh Howey

Wool by Hugh HoweyWool: What it is about

From the publishers: “For suspense-filled, post-apocalyptic thrillers, Wool is more than a self-published eBook phenomenon―it’s the new standard in classic science fiction.

In a ruined and toxic future, a community exists in a giant silo underground, hundreds of stories deep. There, men and women live in a society full of regulations they believe are meant to protect them. Sheriff Holston, who has unwaveringly upheld the silo’s rules for years, unexpectedly breaks the greatest taboo of all: He asks to go outside.

His fateful decision unleashes a drastic series of events. An unlikely candidate is appointed to replace him: Juliette, a mechanic with no training in law, whose special knack is fixing machines. Now Juliette is about to be entrusted with fixing her silo, and she will soon learn just how badly her world is broken. The silo is about to confront what its history has only hinted about and its inhabitants have never dared to whisper. Uprising.”

Wool: What I thought

For me, this was a whole new dystopian world: a silo under the ground. And a deep one at that. Special couriers travel the stairs to deliver packages and letters all day through. But most people only use a few levels from where they live, and so, sub-societies are formed of those living near the top, the middle, or the bottom of the silo.

I love the ideas in this book. The details of the silo weren’t totally convincing to me: there was running water and electricity, and apparently the silo was so airtight, that the poisonous gases from outside never entered it. It did not disturb me too much. After a slow beginning, the story started to speed up and I was turning pages to see what would happen next rather than worry about believability.

The beginning was not only slow for me but also frustrating. In each of the first two chapters, a main character is introduced who is thereafter no longer important in the book. Only from the third chapter onwards did the main character actually stay in the rest of the story. I never like it when I get to know and love a character and then have to shift focus to another character.

For fans of dystopia, this is a great and suspenseful novel. I have already got the sequel, Shift, and I’m really curious to see how the story will continue.


Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (good)

Number of pages: 528

First published: 2013

I got this: bought it

Genre: science fiction, dystopia


Book Review: The Way Inn by Will Wiles

The Way Inn by Will WilesThe Way Inn: What it is about

From the publishers: “Neil Double is a “conference surrogate,” hired by his clients to attend industry conferences so that they don’t have to. It’s a life of budget travel, cheap suits, and out-of-town exhibition centers—a kind of paradise for Neil, who has reconstructed his incognito professional life into a toxic and selfish personal philosophy. But his latest job, at a conference of conference organizers, will radically transform him and everything he believes as it unexpectedly draws him into a bizarre and speculative mystery.

In a brand new Way Inn—a global chain of identikit mid-budget motels—in an airport hinterland, he meets a woman he has seen before in strange and unsettling circumstances. She hints at an astonishing truth about this mundane world filled with fake smiles and piped muzak. But before Neil can learn more, she vanishes. Intrigued, he tries to find her—a search that will lead him down the rabbit hole, into an eerily familiar place where he will discover a dark and disturbing secret about the Way Inn. Caught on a metaphysical Mobius strip, Neil discovers that there may be no way out.”

The Way Inn: What I thought

The idea that someone would be a conference surrogate was fun in itself. Neil doesn’t get to do much conferencing, though, because he gets into trouble with the organizers. And the hotel, which seemed like a safe haven at first, turns out to be troubled, and wants to make Neil an eternal guest. Is there more than one room 219? There must be, since Neil’s key card works sometimes but not other times. And when he gets lost in the hotel, he sees sunshine in the middle of the night. There is something odd going on and Neil expects the woman who ran away from him can help.

This is a fun story in which the Way Inn hotel is one of the characters. The story is based around the fact that all hotels from a chain are all very similar and easy to get lost in.

It’s a little long-winded but I loved the fun ideas in this novel. There is a great scene outside the hotel, when Neil tries to get to the other side of the highway, and wonders if it’s still suicide if you get killed by a car on your way to the bridge that you’re planning to jump off. The man has some fun insights!

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (good)

Number of pages: 352

First published: 2014

I got this: for review from Harper Perennial (uncorrected proof)

Genre: contemporary fiction


Book Review: Barracuda by Christos Tsiolkas

Barracuda by Christos TsiolkasBarracuda: What it is about

From the publishers: “His whole life, Danny Kelly’s only wanted one thing: to win Olympic gold. Everything he’s ever done-every thought, every dream, every action-takes him closer to that moment of glory, of vindication, when the world will see him for what he is: the fastest, the strongest and the best. His life has been a preparation for that moment.

His parents struggle to send him to the most prestigious private school with the finest swimming program; Danny loathes it there and is bullied and shunned as an outsider, but his coach is the best and knows Danny is, too, better than all those rich boys, those pretenders. Danny’s win-at-all-cost ferocity gradually wins favour with the coolest boys-he’s Barracuda, he’s the psycho, he’s everything they want to be but don’t have the guts to get there. He’s going to show them all.

Barracuda: What I thought

My reading experience with Barracuda was very mixed. I loved the beginning, about Danny, from a poor family, going to a private school where he’d be coached in swimming. He was the best swimmer of them all. Although they initially don’t want much to do with him, the other boys are impressed by his swimming capabilities and he becomes reluctant friends with some of them.

The story about young Danny is intermixed with that of an older Dan. It seems things didn’t work out in the end. After a while, the story became too negative and I didn’t enjoy it anymore. I even put it aside, forgot that I was reading it, and read most of another book before I realized I was supposed to read Barracuda. I’m glad I did get back to it, because it did get better. When he gets to know his cousin, he finally finds a person he can relate to. I loved it how he connected with him.

The mix of past and present was sometimes confusing. The story in the past was written in the third person (Danny, he) while the rest was written in the first person (I), presumably to indicate how older -Dan didn’t relate to his younger version. That was made very clear in the story, so the change in point of view seemed a little redundant. Also, it didn’t help me while reading in deciding whether I was reading  the past or the present (I just forgot which was which until it became clear that Dan had distanced himself from Danny).

The story is about a boy, later a man, looking for recognition and belonging. Definitely well-written but a bit too bleak at places.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars (okay to good)

Number of pages: 528

First published: 2014

I got this: for review from Blogging for Books (ebook)

Genre: Contemporary Fiction



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