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Reviews Written by
Jules "policechick" (Hertforshire, England)

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The Woods
The Woods
by Harlan Coben
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Witty, pacy and totally absorbing, 2 May 2008
This review is from: The Woods (Paperback)
If you like the Myron Bolitar character that Harlan Coben has used so successfully in previous books then you'll like Paul Copeland. He is the same witty, nosy and confident hero that we have come to love and expect from this author.

Like Myron Bolitar his one weak spot is his family and in Paul Copelands life we have a complicated family sitation that forms the backdrop and is integral to the plot of this story.

This is a great pacy thriller. I was reading this at the same time as something slightly more high brow and I have to say that my other book got put to one side as this engulfed every minute of my free time.

If you like John Connolly or Mark Billingham as thriller writers then you will love Harlan Coben. This is a great stand alone book and brilliant for long plan journeys or lying on the beach.


Losing You
Losing You
by Nicci French
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Just not as good as I would expect from this author...., 25 Mar. 2008
This review is from: Losing You (Paperback)
This is not the best Nicci French book I've read.

The story is based around the first 24 hour period after a child goes missing and centres on the mothers attempts to find her daughter. However I did find it almost unbelievable to think that a desperate mother can think so clearly and pack so much individually led action into what must be just the most awful time a parent can experience.

The recent cases of Maddie McCann and Shannon Matthews would seem to indicate that in real life things go quite differently and as such the mother's reaction here didn't quite ring true.

That said I quite like the character of Nina Landry (the mother) but what's missing for me in this book is the psychotic element of the perpetrator being woven into the story from the beginning. When I think about Brendan in Secret Smile or Adam in Killing me Softly the build up starts early and you find yourself sitting on the edge of your seat as you know what the heroine does not - you see the villain infiltrate every area of their victims life - and you get the elements of good and evil skilfully woven into a realistically frightening tale that you believe really could happen.

Didn't get that with this book - you don't find out who the villain is in this book until right near the end so what you actually get is just Nina running around looking for clues in the dark and eventually starting to piece the puzzle together. This story lacks punch without that psychotic element and is poorer in quality for that.

Am still a huge fan having read everything else by Nicci Gerard and Sean French and will certainly read Until it's Over when it comes out but this certainly didn't rate up there highly with the rest of their work.

The Intruders
The Intruders
by Michael Marshall
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Now I thought this was pretty good......, 25 Mar. 2008
This review is from: The Intruders (Paperback)
Interesting the range of reviews on this book....

Like other reviewers I'd have to say that MM does write some weird books but if you're prepared to suspend your beliefs for a few hours then he's a master story teller. If you haven't read him before then don't start here, start with The Straw Men and the subsequent books in that series.

However if you have read those then you might enjoy this.

It's the story of Jack Whalen whose wife goes missing and the parallel story of a little girl called Madion who also disappears into thin air. Attempting to unravel the mystery of his missing wife Jack encounters a series of strange people and coincidences and some disturbing information about Amy.

Meanwhile Madison finds herself being drawn to places and people as if she is posessed and her character becomes ever more sinister.

I won't spoil the plot but the stories begin to weave together to an explosive climax. It's all incredibly surreal but if you like a slightly less 'run of the mill' aspect to your mystery thrillers then this doesn't disappoint.

Am waiting with baited breath for the next book, previewed at the end of this one

The Abduction
The Abduction
by Mark Gimenez
Edition: Paperback

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great characters, great plot, great story......., 25 Mar. 2008
This review is from: The Abduction (Paperback)
I read the first book by Mark Giminez and enjoyed it enormously. So I was looking forward to this one and I was not disappointed.

It tells the story of Gracie Brice a feisty ten year old tomboy who is kidnapped. Her grandfather is Ben Brice a Vietnam war veteran who bears battle scars, enormous guilt and a haunted memory of his time as a soldier - with an alcohol problem that only highlights the bad times.

Between them exists an unbreakable bond - it's all that has kept Ben alive until now and it's all that is keeping Gracie alive as Ben begins his rescue mission.

These are the two incredibly strong central characters around whom the plot is woven but Mark Giminez weaves together a colourful and challenging supporting cast.

There is Elizabeth, Gracie's mother whom it's hard to initially like and who closes herself off from the rest of the family in order to survive this ordeal.

John, Gracies father is an internet geek who is most at home with sotfware programmes and who is almost childlike in his outlook. He has tried to befriend rather than parent his children and is almost helpless to react and support his family at such an awful time.

And then there are the kidnappers who have masterminded the whole affair.

This is a great thriller that keeps you just burning the midnight oil to get through the pages. It's fast paced, well written and has an oh so clever twist at the end.

This book is just begging to be made into a film. So read it first to enjoy it most!

The Expected One (Magdalene Line Trilogy 1)
The Expected One (Magdalene Line Trilogy 1)
by Kathleen McGowan
Edition: Paperback

10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The ultimate in vanity publishing!, 25 Mar. 2008
It seems as though the author can't make her mind up whether this is autobiographical or a work of fiction.

She says she has taken poetic licence with source materials to make them more easily understandable by the reader but it seems as though she's weaving a story entirely of her own making that places herself (as the fictional Maureen) at the very centre as Mary Magdalene's champion.

Kind of reminded me of Dan Brown's style of writing which is pure lightweight entertainment. So I'm not sure that if the author was looking to educate and inform an entirely new audience about the significance of Mary Magadele that she's done what she set out to do with this book. Its more fantasy than research and more lightweight entertainment than thought provoking.

It's a shame because I think Katheen McGowan feels passionately about her subject and could do a great book about Mary Magdalene - but this isn't it

Adept (Adept Series)
Adept (Adept Series)
by Robert Finn
Edition: Paperback

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A twist in the tale........ and nicely done!, 28 Oct. 2007
This review is from: Adept (Adept Series) (Paperback)
I thought this was a very readable rainy day book.

I did find the first couple of chapters a little uninspiring and was almost put off. But by about chapter 3/4 it begins to pick up pace. I think the author has delivered a well written and imaginative thriller with two great lead characters. I thought the ending was very clever, a real twist in the tale that isn't actually delivered on the page but implictly hinted at to the reader.

If you liked Dan Brown's books then definitely give this a go. Robert Finn doesn't send his characters off on a whistle stop tour around the world like Dan Brown. He relies on the content of the story to deliver the pace and most of the action is centred in Britain. But this doesn't mean the book isn't as addictive or exciting. It's every bit as good.

I will read the follow-up novel. I think Robert Finn shows real promise.

Blood Ties
Blood Ties
by Sam Hayes
Edition: Paperback

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Takes your breath away...., 19 Oct. 2007
This review is from: Blood Ties (Paperback)
Robert Knight meets and marries Erin very quickly after a traumatic divorce. Feelings of betrayal and mistrust are the legacies he brings with him although he remains optimistic that he'll find the happiness he's searching for second time around.

Erin meets Robert having survived a traumatic childhood and an early adult life blighted by unhappiness and misfortune. She is delighted to meet Robert who offers her and her daughter Ruby a life of unconditional love and security.

The scene should be set for a happy ending. Or so they both think.

But secrets have a way of outing themselves and the offer of a place at a new school for her daughter threatens everything Erin has fought to keep hidden and finds her battling with Robert to keep her new happiness in tact. Robert in turn begins to feel that once again he is being betrayed by the woman he loves and doubts about Erin just won't go away.

And so the secret eats away at both of them. Robert is trying to get at the truth and Erin is trying to keep it hidden. The plot is set against the backdrop of child who went missing from her mother 12 years earlier and who hasn't been seen since. It's further complicated by the appearance of Louisa, a close friend of Robert's who wants what's best for him and who just happens to be a private investigator. Which is when it all begins to unravel.......

This is a brilliantly paced thriller which is almost all the more disturbing set as it is against the backdrop of normal surburban life. Sam Hayes has done a great job creating characters that you find yourself liking and empathising with.

Sharp Objects
Sharp Objects
by Gillian Flynn
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unnervingly good....., 2 Oct. 2007
This review is from: Sharp Objects (Paperback)
This is book focuses on the implications of a mother-daughter relationship that is seriously flawed. Camille Preaker returns to her home town to report the unsolved murders of two schoolgirls.

In her thirties, with low self-esteem, a drinking problem and a serious habit of cutting her body, she returns to the family home - scene of the death of a much-loved little sister years before.

Her mother greets her with disinterest bordering on dislike. Her step-father is remote and her half-sister is a precocious thirteen year old who leaves a trail of mischief, upset and violence in her wake.

The story unfolds with Camille joining forces with a Detective sent from the city to help the local police solve the case of two little girls who have been murdered and, as a macarbre killer's signature, had their teeth extracted.

The author has done a brilliant job focusing on the strange dynamic that exists between the three female members of the famile - Camille, her sister Amma and their mother Adora. Camille having always been second best to her dead sister now finds her mother entranced with Amma.

Adora's love however comes at a price. As the story builds you realise that perhaps the death of her first daughter, the psychological scars that Camille still bears and Adora's need to be the sole focus of her daughters love are linked, in a very unnatural way.

I won't spoil the plot for readers but this is a clever and very brave novel by Gillian Flynn. Chick lit it certainly isn't. I would be hugely suprised if this wasn't made into a film very soon's crying out to be on the big screen.

Bush Falls
Bush Falls
by Jonathan Tropper
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A triumph..., 26 Sept. 2007
This review is from: Bush Falls (Paperback)
This is a unique and simply brilliant book.

Joe Goffman returns to Bush Falls after 17 years away to see his dying father. He doesn't receive a warm welcome. He is a successful author with one problem - his acclaimed novel is not so loosely based on the story of his youth - and he's used his writing to throw a few literal punches to some of the town folk he clearly holds responsible for the cataclysmic events that shaped his teenage years and ultimately his life.

Back then Joe wasn't the most popular teenager. Never a star on the basketball field, not the most popular with girls and with just two best friends, his book remembers a summer that was filled with the promise of love but that ended in a series of tragic events that changed the lives of all those closest to him.

When he returns to the Falls, Joe is keen to get in and out in the shortest possible time. But old friendships, love affairs and family get in the way and he soon finds himself absorbed back into life in Bush Falls.

He encounters his oldest friend Wayne now back in the Falls with his family and dying from AIDS, his brother and family who are virtual strangers to Joe, his first love Carly and of course the townsfolk who all want revenge.

In his book 'How to talk to a widower' and now in this one Jonathan Tropper vividly describes the emotions that we can all relate to - love, shame, friendship, regret and courage - with such a light touch, with humour and in such simple language that it simply takes your breath away.

It's a book that will make you laugh I promise. It will also bring a tear to your eye. So buy'll be the best book you've bought all year

And if you haven't read How to talk to a widower, then put that on your Amazon Wish List too. Jonathan Tropper is writing superb books at the moment.

Beach Road
Beach Road
by James Patterson
Edition: Paperback

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars An OK holiday book, 22 Sept. 2007
This review is from: Beach Road (Paperback)
I applaud James Patterson and Peter de Jonge for trying a different sytle of writing with this book where they tells the story in the first person using different characters per chapter to build the plot.

However like other reviewers Tom Dunleavy does feel like a poor man's Myron Bolitar (see Harlan Coben books) without the wit. Surely JP and PdeJ recognised this - as all three write are thriller writers - and saw that any comparisons wouldn't be in their favour.

My own reading style is that I like to have several books on the go at once and to be able to pick them up and put them down according to my mood. So I'd have to say the narration by different characters sometimes meant that I lost the plot a little and had to retrace my steps a bit which was slightly irritating. If you only read one book at a time then this is probably easier to follow.

Unlike other reviewers I quite enjoyed the twist at the end - OK it may be a little far fetched but at least I had a little bit of a wow moment so I didn't regret reading this book.

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