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Jane Baker "jan-bookcase" (Somerset)
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The Sea Sisters
The Sea Sisters
by Lucy Clarke
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two sisters, one journey, 17 May 2013
This review is from: The Sea Sisters (Paperback)
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Lucy Clarke brings all her skills to bear in her debut novel - the traveller, the diarist, the skilled purveyor of the English language. More than a searching analysis of a sibling relationship this story is a journey both physically and psychologically as Katie desperately tries to unlock the answers to her endless questions about Mia and her fate. Haunting in its story, elegant in its prose.


The Envy of the Stranger
The Envy of the Stranger
by Caroline Graham
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

3.0 out of 5 stars An easy read, 14 May 2013
Neat in style, light in plot. Satisfying as a comfort read, demands little of the reader. Not in the same league as the Barnaby Midsommer Murders but it contains some social comment about early "celebs" which is still applicable today.


Watching the Dark: The 20th DCI Banks Mystery (Dci Banks 20)
Watching the Dark: The 20th DCI Banks Mystery (Dci Banks 20)
by Peter Robinson
Edition: Hardcover

3.0 out of 5 stars Banks goes to Estonia, 13 May 2013
Had I looked carefully at the plot for this novel I may not have chosen it despite being an enormous fan of this series. Illegal immigrants, abuse of workers and trafficking doesn't appeal. However the rather labyrinthine plot was cleverly crafted. That said it was not as engaging as the previous nineteen Banks' novels. Too long, at times ponderous, and my patience was tested. I was pleased to finish it. The introduction of Joanna Passero was a mixed blessing. She seemed to bring out the worst in Banks and she wasn't full of charm herself. Annie was as gripping as ever and I hope she and Banks return as a team in future. Not Robinson's best for me.


The Lost Years
The Lost Years
by Mary Higgins Clark
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Vintage MHC, 30 April 2013
This review is from: The Lost Years (Paperback)
This is my first MHC for some years. Very enjoyable in a crime fiction chick lit way. Formulaic as usual with a plot line reminiscent of Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code. A plethora of characters as is the norm with MHC, sometimes a little wearisome, but easy to keep track of. This is not great literature but it is fun and relaxing when in the mood for that type of novel. The portrayal of Kathleen's dilemma with dementia might have been a little superficial. Strangely Dr Lyons who is murdered at the opening of the story was the meatiest of the characters and remained a very forceful presence throughout the book. The denouement was neat if predictable. Read it when you want a light read and you will enjoy it. Don't go to MHC if you require a roller-coaster, action packed thriller.


The Janus Stone: The Dr Ruth Galloway Mysteries 2
The Janus Stone: The Dr Ruth Galloway Mysteries 2
by Elly Griffiths
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars God with two faces, 21 April 2013
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It was the sense of place which impressed me and retained my interest in Elly Griffith's first novel "The Crossing Places". Whilst the storyline in this second novel is interesting, the characters boldly credible, it seemed to lack the atmospheric factor. It could have been plotted anywhere. That said it was original and Nelson and Ruth probably have a long life. The exploration of family ties and intrigue, and the dangers which such secrets necessarily hide provided the tension which kept this story so pacey.The style of these novels puts me in mind of Kate Ellis's Wesley Peterson novels where the slip-scene element is so powerful and fascinating. Reserach has been done diligently and provides an excellent backdrop for the wealth of Roman history in the east of England.


The Flesh Tailor: Number 14 in series (Wesley Peterson)
The Flesh Tailor: Number 14 in series (Wesley Peterson)
by Kate Ellis
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars More gruesome than usual?, 12 April 2013
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Kate Ellis pushes the boundaries of gruesome and macabre with this novel. After weaving a complicated plot, ancient, modern and current, the denouement is so simple yet I had not guessed, despite clues strewn along the way. Her story lines are so original and her characters life-like figures. Pam has a lower profile here but Wesley Peterson's guilt with his late nights abounds. He and Rachel have a cooler relationship and I'm wondering in which novel this wound down. I remember some flirtation between them but that's now gone. The pre - chapter transcripts of the experiences of evacuee Mabel are haunting in themselves and a credible link between the background to Dr Dalcott's obsession with his Mother's murder and the role of his father and to Neil Watson's work with which WP sometimes has short patience, despite his own training. There's something of Colin Dexter in this which again I didn't fathom until the later stages of the book.


Fault Line
Fault Line
by Robert Goddard
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Back on track............., 3 April 2013
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This review is from: Fault Line (Paperback)
I have been a follower of Robert Goddard since his first novel with which he set himself a very high standard. His three most recent novels have failed to grip and have left his fans disappointed. With Fault Line his panache and style are fully restored and he weaves a hugely complicated plot spanning three generations and moving from Cornwall to Rome and Capri. I am recently returned from Rome so this novel spoke to me as his earlier ones did. Location is a vital ingredient of RG's novels and his prose takes the reader to these spots and keeps her/him there. The Wren and Lashley families are no different to most families - it is the extent and destructive power of their flaws which give this novel its plot. There are no loose ends left by the last page as Goddard crafts all the pieces together seamlessly. He deserves to regain his massive fan base.


Found Wanting
Found Wanting
by Robert Goddard
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

2.0 out of 5 stars I expect better than this............., 28 Mar. 2013
This review is from: Found Wanting (Paperback)
Oh dear. Robert Goddard has been for many years top of my best authors' list but I am becoming increasingly worried that he's losing his very great talents in this genre. This novel began in gripping fashion and I was immediately hooked. Unfortunately it didn't last and I soon grew bewildered. Whereas previously there had been very many twists and turns which had become the hallmark of RG novels I found myself unable to keep the strands of this plot together and it all fell in disarray. Crafting and weaving a complex plot has been the strength of Goddard's novels but it hasn't worked for me in this one.


A Perfect Death
A Perfect Death
by Kate Ellis
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect story, 25 Mar. 2013
This review is from: A Perfect Death (Hardcover)
Kate Ellis is a past master at morphing an historical "incident" with a contemporary crime. Such a slip-scene never fails when she plots so skilfully and crafts the two happenings together. Another masterpiece from this prominent author.


Playing With Bones: Number 2 in series (Joe Plantagenet)
Playing With Bones: Number 2 in series (Joe Plantagenet)
by Kate Ellis
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Sinister, creepy and Excellent, 24 Mar. 2013
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Kate Ellis never fails, be it a Joe Plantagenet novel or Wesley Peterson murder mystery. This is the second in the Joe Plantagenet series, building well on the first to reveal more about JP and DCI Emily Thwaite supported by the enthusiastic Jamilla and the rather bored Sunny. The plot centres around murders of teenage girls in Eborby where a doll is placed near the body. The question is could the Doll Strangler of the 1950s still be alive and carrying out further murders after a long gap or is this a copycat crime? Very atmospheric reconstruction of the crime scenes make for harrowing reading. JP and ET become very rounded characters with detailed descriptions of what is happening in their private lives. ET has a very sympathic and supportive husband in Jeff but Joe is still troubled by the death of his young wife and his life outside of his work is lonely and the reader feels his pain. Tiny detail such as Joe crossing himself by every body make him a fully alive character whom the reader must admire. I would hate to have to decide which I prefer - this series or Wesley Peterson. Both are gripping page-turners.


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