A Sure Thing

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Books are a conduit, a wormhole. Open one and no longer are you where you thought you were. A chapter later you’re spending time with people you never thought you’d meet and in my case (a crime fan) you pray you never do.

I once considered where my interest in crime originated from and I’ve concluded The Famous Five. It’s not as preposterous as it sounds. At the root of each book is a mystery with a baddie and possible suspects. Once I’d read Five on A Treasure Island I was hooked. I would badger my Dad, when he was busiest, for pocket money (which he readily supplied to keep me at bay) and I’d purchase the next book in the series with the confidence I would love it.

Over the years I’ve read hundreds of books however I am a fussy reader.  A book might be a literary masterpiece or pushing new boundaries or a best seller but not necessarily my cup of tea.  Gone Girl is the perfect example; brilliant premise, interesting and clever dual perspective angle, well written but Nick and Amy were unlikeable and flat.  I felt the last few chapters rewarded me for sticking with a book purely because I was curious after the hype. I actually much preferred Gillian’s Flynn ‘ Sharp Objects’. Admittedly if I fancy a thriller or a crime novel my expectations are exceedingly high.  I’ve been spoilt by my literary heroes PD James, Val McDermid,  Minette Walters and Mark Billingham.

I am always on the look out for something different and exciting. I particularly like dark, creepy and sinister with a hint of romance. Most books in this genre tend to disappoint; they are either predictable or the characters fail to elicit strong feeling from me. Even if a character is average, I want him or her to be brilliant at being average. I have come across some gems though: Nicci French and Chelsea Cain are members of my SURE THING club.

This month I’ve read:

  • Before We Met by Lucie Whitehouse:
  • The Liar’s Chair by Rebecca Whitney
  • The Book of Murder by Guillermo Martinez
  • Sorry by Zoran Drvenkar
  • Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey

It has been a successful reading period because each of these books has ticked my boxes. I struggled most with The Liar’s Chair because like Gone Girl and Revolutionary Road the characters initially failed to engage me, so I repeatedly put it down. However in the last few chapters there is an exciting change of pace and an unexpected conclusion therefore I felt satisfied, more so than with Gone Girl.

If you are looking for a multi-perspective, shifting of time, hard hitting thriller with characters you genuinely care about then Sorry is perfect.  A month after reading the novel the characters still remain with me.

My book of the month however is not listed above, it is Sarah Hilary’s ‘Someone Else’s Skin’. Once I turned the page I was there with D.I. Marnie Rome.  This debut novel has all the ingredients to ensure I didn’t put it down: a strong, likeable  yet vulnerable protagonist, an attempted murder with twists and turns, an excellent subplot of a murder with personal ramifications, characters that add value, straightforward style of writing and a hint or romance.

I am interested to read a second novel from all the above authors but the book that I look forward to reading most and is on my wish list is Sarah Hilary’s ‘No Other Darkness‘.  I have confidence that it will deliver and that by D.I. Marnie Rome Book 3 Sarah Hilary will have joined my SURE THING club.

Thank you to all the above writers for making April a great reading month.

Be happy, T.

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