Saturday, 26 April 2014

Taunting the Dead

Taunting the Dead by Mel Sherratt 

Although I'd been aware of Mel's name as a successful self-published author I hadn't read any of her books - thrillers are not my cup of tea. But when she was snapped up by a top agent, and her books republished, and the Kindle price was (briefly) set very low, I thought it time I gave her a go.

This book is set in Stoke on Trent, on a rough estate. Steph Ryder, wife of local hard-man turned successful businessman, gets her head bashed in after a night in the pub with her friend. Detective Allie Shenton investigates, starting with people closest to Steph. There are some pretty nasty characters in this book - in fact there wasn't a single one I liked much. Allie herself is mostly likable but even she made some choices and did some things which put me off her.

It's definitely a page-turner of a book, with lots happening, and the body count rises near the end as things come to a climax. It wasn't 100% satisfying as you knew (more or less) who'd killed Steph or at least who'd dealt the first blow, pretty early on. And as I said, the characters aren't likable so it's hard to care about them.

Having said that, I would think if you like gritty police procedurals, you'd enjoy this one too. Not sure it's for me but it kept my interest, I liked the twist at the very end, and I would try another from the same author (in fact there's another on my Kindle right now.)

Saturday, 19 April 2014

One Day

One Day by David Nicholls

Another book rescued from Mum's chucking-out, and which has had such a lot of press I felt I ought to read it. I enjoyed this one a lot.

Emma and Dexter have just graduated in 1988. They spent a night together, but then went their separate ways. The novel covers what happens to them over the next 20 years, but always as a snapshot of what they are doing on the same day each year. What a clever structure - the kind of thing you wish you'd thought of yourself, but now it's been done.

They're clearly made for each other but it takes them a long time to finally get together, although you know they must do eventually. In the meantime, they try and fail at different careers before finding their feet, have other relationships, make wrong choices. I found Dexter an unlikable character although he improves over time, but I could relate to Emma very much.

Not sure about the ending - it'd be a difficult novel to end well whatever the author decided to do, and I'm not 100% convinced this was the best ending for it.  But overall, and perhaps especially as the characters are my contemporaries (I graduated in 1987) I found the book very enjoyable.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

The Cuckoo's Calling

The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith aka JK Rowling

Really enjoyed this book. It's a proper old fashioned detective novel. Cormoran Strike's a bit of a cliche - embittered private detective, down on his luck, sleeping in his office, gruff, scruffy, but good at his job if only he had some clients. The temping agency send him a young woman who's only supposed to be there a week but turns out to show proper initiative as well as tact. Strike's asked to reinvestigate the apparent suicide of a top model - her brother thinks it was murder. 

It's a long book, there's not a big pile up of bodies but lots of interviews with witnesses and gradually Strike pieces together what the police had missed. I really enjoyed it, couldn't put it down, and am very much hoping there'll be more books about this character.