Read: Daisy in Chains by Sharon Bolton

daisyI got an e-copy of this book from the publishers for review (via Netgalley).

I was reading Sharon Bolton (S.J. Bolton, as she was then known) when ‘no one’ had even heard of her. She was a great find! I’ve not read all her books, but quite a few.

The publisher says:Famous killers have fan clubs. Hamish Wolfe is no different. Locked up for the rest of his life for the abduction and murder of three young women, he gets countless adoring letters every day. He’s handsome, charismatic and very persuasive. His admirers are convinced he’s innocent, and that he’s the man of their dreams.

Who would join such a club? Maggie Rose is different. Reclusive and enigmatic; a successful lawyer and bestselling true-crime writer, she only takes on cases that she can win. Hamish wants her as his lawyer, he wants her to change his fate. She thinks she’s immune to the charms of a man like this. But maybe not this time . . . Would you?

My view

Lawyer Maggie Rose is more or less stalked by the mother of Hamish Wolfe, a man who is in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, according to the mother. Maggie has no intention to do what the mother wants, which is to represent him and get him out of prison, until she gets a letter from Hamish that piques her curiosity. She goes and visits him but still refuses to be his lawyer. That’s the start of the story.

Before we get to know Maggie Rose well, we hear others gossip about her. And it’s not good. She meddles with everything and is a difficult person to work with. It’s odd, because when we learn more about her, she seems quite a reasonable person, with friends happy to support her all the way.

Hamish is a little odd, too. Although he claims to be innocent, he doesn’t really do much to push this point. He seems OK in prison, and just likes Maggie’s visits as an interruption of the daily grind. So, could he really be innocent? He doesn’t seem to behave that way.

Maggie Rose, whether she wants it or not, gets more and more involved in the Wolfe case. So much so, that her house is broken into, the beginning of a gripping story.

Overall, the book is a good mystery. We learn a few things on the way, and a suspicion slowly creeps in, but until close to the end, it’s hard to grasp it. Then, when the mystery is finally resolved, it suddenly becomes rather unbelievable. At that point, the magic of the book goes, the lights come on and that’s it. I found it hard to accept and I really didn’t like this ending. At all.

So, that was a pity, because the earlier parts of the book were great! I ended this book with mixed feelings.

Books I read before by Sharon BoltonNow You See Me, Sacrifice, Awakening, Dead Scared and probably one or two more.


Book Read: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan BradleyThis is my sixth book of the year (2016). It was on my to-read shelves for several years, but as I was (and still am) reading books of which the title starts with an S, this book finally landed on my to-imminently-read pile!

The book is a detective story, set in the 1950s in a village in England. Imagine a village in England where crimes take place, well, that kind of village. The sleuth is an eleven-year-old girl, Flavia, who lives in a manor house with her two older sisters and her father, her mother having died when Flavia was a baby.

Flavia is very precocious, if one can say so of an eleven-year-old. She doesn’t seem to go to school (or is it the holidays? I wasn’t sure), and has a laboratory in the attic, set up by an ancestor. In the lab, she makes up chemical concoctions to tease her sisters, and uses it to help solve a crime.

The crime? She finds a body in the garden of the manor house, early one morning. Her father is arrested, and Flavia is left to her own devices (her sisters not being very useful). With her knowledge of the village and its people, she knows where to enquire and investigate and soon knows a lot more about the dead man and his recent activities than the police do.

This is such a quirky, fun read! It’s easy enough for an adult to engage with Flavia and wish her all the best in finding the murderer (and so, getting her father out of prison). It’s all olde English, funny characters, gentlemen and a librarian. I’m looking forward to another Flavia de Luce read. There are seven in the series; however, I can’t imagine the quirkiness will work past the second or third book. We’ll see!

Book read: Slade House by David Mitchell

Slade House by David MitchellMy first book of the year 2016. And a great read!

Slade House can only be reached through a gate in Slade Alley that is only visible some of the time. The house takes more space up than there is in the area, and people have been known to disappear ‘near Slade Alley’. Mysterious!

Every nine years, someone disappears. The person who investigates such an appearance will find nothing, unless he’s in the right place at the right time. And then he may disappear too.

A real page turner. With, as we are used to with Mitchell, references to other books by this author. Some are rather subtle, and I am bound to have missed a few. But a Dr. Marinus? Ah, yes! The ending was surprising, in a good way.

The publisher says:

“Born out of the short story David Mitchell published on Twitter in 2014 and inhabiting the same universe as his latest bestselling novel The Bone Clocks, this is the perfect book to curl up with on a dark and stormy night.

Turn down Slade Alley – narrow, dank and easy to miss, even when you’re looking for it. Find the small black iron door set into the right-hand wall. No handle, no keyhole, but at your touch it swings open. Enter the sunlit garden of an old house that doesn’t quite make sense; too grand for the shabby neighbourhood, too large for the space it occupies.

A stranger greets you by name and invites you inside. At first, you won’t want to leave. Later, you’ll find that you can’t.

This unnerving, taut and intricately woven tale by one of our most original and bewitching writers begins in 1979 and reaches its turbulent conclusion around Hallowe’en, 2015. Because every nine years, on the last Saturday of October, a ‘guest’ is summoned to Slade House. But why has that person been chosen, by whom and for what purpose? The answers lie waiting in the long attic, at the top of the stairs…”

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Number of pages: 234

First published: 2015

I got this: bought at local bookshop

Genre: Supernatural thriller


Book Review: The Cry by Helen Fitzgerald

The Cry by Helen FitzgeraldThe Cry: What it is about

The publisher says: “When a baby goes missing on a lonely roadside in Australia, it sets off a police investigation that will become a media sensation and dinner-table talk across the world.
Lies, rumours and guilt snowball, causing the parents, Joanna and Alistair, to slowly turn against each other. Finally Joanna starts thinking the unthinkable: could the truth be even more terrible than she suspected? And what will it take to make things right?
Perfect for fans of Julia Crouch, Sophie Hannah and Laura Lippman, The Cry was widely acclaimed as one of the best psychological thrillers of the year. There’s a gripping moral dilemma at its heart and characters who will keep you guessing on every page.”

The Cry: What I thought

In this novel, you know more or less what happened from the start. And that’s fine. What we don’t know is, what will happen to Joanna and Alistair, the parents of the missing baby.

They made a bad decision (I believe), the kind that, once you’ve done it, you can’t go back without making things ten times worse. So they stick with it.

After the first chapters are narrated by Joanna, the story moves to Alexandra, the ex-wife of Alastair. She’s worried because, as his ex-wife, she is one of the suspects of the baby’s disappearance. Since we already have a good idea of what happened, it’s interesting to see the continuation of the story through someone else’s eyes, who does not know the truth.

Later, we discover that Joanna is on the brink of collapsing, while Alastair tries to keep it together. Their relationship starts to crumble as their reactions to what happened differ so much, and Alastair tries to force Joanna to follow his example.

An interesting tale, with a few unexpected twists. Fun to read, and a quick read, too!

Rating: 4 (out of 5)

Number of pages: 280 (my Dutch edition: De overdosis)

First published: 2013

I got this book: because a thriller festival that I had bought tickets for had been cancelled. They refunded the ticket and sent me a thriller book of my choice, as a consolation prize.

Genre: thriller

Also read by Helen Fitzgerald:  The Duplicate, Bloody Women, My Last ConfessionThe Donor


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