The Outsider by Stephen King

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When a hideous crime happens to 11-year-old Frank Peterson in the fictitious town of Flint City, police immediately suspects the town’s little league coach Terry Maitland. Maitland is an upstanding citizen of Flint City, and his public arrest causes a significant amount of commotion. On the surface, it seems like a straight forward case and detective Ralph Anderson is confident of his arrest and Maitland’s guilt. But when Maitland comes up with an irrefutable alibi, detective Anderson will have to expand his investigation and face horrifying answers.

I initially struggled with starting The Outsider. I don’t particularly gravitate toward books with themes of sexual violence and rape, especially regarding children. But I couldn’t pass on the opportunity of reading one of Stephen King’s latest books. I love Stephen King’s seemingly easy way he tells his stories, his dark creativity, his wild imagination, and vivid scenes. The Outsider at times reads like an episode of Law and Order, but being Stephen King, you know that is not going to last very long, and pretty soon an element of the supernatural will rear its ugly head.

Although The Outsider is a hefty 560 pages novel, the amount of suspense and horror keeps you well engaged for a good ¾ of the book. The topic of the book, although dark, does not dwell too much on sexual abuse as it does in the investigation process. I didn’t feel the end was necessarily rushed; quite the opposite–he could have shaved off a few pages as it felt like it dragged a bit.

Overall The Outsider does not disappoint one bit, and if anything it solidifies my admiration for an author I’ve been reading for nearly 25 years, and which continues to be in my humble opinion the master of horror. I highly recommend this book to both fans of this genre as well as fans of well-written fiction.


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Review: The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley

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When the remains of a young child are discovered during a winter storm on a stretch of the bleak Lancashire coastline known as the Loney, a man named Smith is forced to confront the terrifying and mysterious events that occurred forty years earlier when he visited the place as a boy. At that time, his devoutly Catholic mother was determined to find healing for Hanny, his disabled older brother. And so the family, along with members of their parish, embarked on an Easter pilgrimage to an ancient shrine.   But not all of the locals were pleased to see visitors in the area. And when the two brothers found their lives entangling with a glamorous couple staying at a nearby house, they became involved in more troubling rites. Smith feels he is the only one to know the truth, and he must bear the burden of his knowledge, no matter what the cost.

Ok, so this is a novel I admit I had huge expectations from. Not only because I had heard all the praises about it, but also because this book won the 2015 Costa First Novel Award, a popular literary prize in the UK.  I can’t see how this happened. Don’t get me wrong, the novel is very well written. I really enjoyed the character of the pious mother and the gothic, eerie, creepy suspense that the author brought to the pages. However, the reason I can’t rate this book more than 3-stars is for the simple fact that some parts were extremely slow and repetitive, the ending was disappointing, and it just didn’t live up to the suspenseful atmosphere of the beginning of the book.

I’d like to thank NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

3 star

Review: Before The Fall by Noah Hawley

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On a foggy summer night, eleven people–ten privileged, one down-on-his-luck painter–depart Martha’s Vineyard headed for New York. Sixteen minutes later, the unthinkable happens: the passengers disappear into the ocean. The only survivors are Scott Burroughs–the painter–and a four-year-old boy, who is now the last remaining member of a wealthy and powerful media mogul’s family.

The book starts with a small plane that falls in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean with 11 people on board. Scott, a struggling middle-aged artist, and a four-year-old boy are the only survivors. The crux of the book is finding out the cause of the crash and events that led to the disaster.

I really enjoyed reading this book by Noah Hawley. The first couple of chapters are suspenseful and impossible to put down. There is a great message about the ridiculous power of media covering tragedies. It does slow down a bit as it alternates between the aftermath of the crash and the lives of the passengers before the accident (the fall), but overall a great summer read.

Before The Fall by Noah Hawley is one of those great suspenseful books that you can read in one sitting. A fast-paced, page-turner that keeps you guessing until the end. I’d definitely recommend it to fans of the genre.

I’d like to thank NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. This book is scheduled to be published on May 31, 2016.

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Review: Constant Fear By Daniel Palmer

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In Daniel Palmer’s electrifying, brilliantly plotted new thriller, a private school campus becomes a battleground as a desperate father takes on a terrifying enemy….

Jake Dent lives with his diabetic teenage son Andy in the town of Winston, MA. Andy is a computer geek and part of the Shire–a group of hacker kids who steal money from rich people’s bank accounts to give to charity. It’s all nice and fun until the kids hack a drug cartel’s bank account and steal millions of dollars. When the drug dealers stage a chemical spill at the school and take the children hostage; Jake an ex-baseball player turned Rambo, goes on a race against time to save his son and the rest of the kids.

I really enjoyed Daniel Palmer’s new thriller Constant Fear. I wouldn’t call it a page-turner, but it certainly kept me interested. The story is really well-written and the book has a great premise. The characters were well developed, but I found some of the chapters with descriptions of the guns and ammo to be a little too long and boring. Overall, I definitely recommend this thriller.

I’d like to thank NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. This book is scheduled to be published on May 26, 2015.

3 star

Book Details:

Title: Constant Fear/Author: Daniel Palmer/Pages: 416/Genre: Thriller/ ISBN: 9780758293466/Publisher: Kensington/Rating: 3-Stars/Read: May, 2015.

Review: Broken Promise by Linwood Barclay

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Title: Broken Promise: A Thriller

Author: Linwood Barclay

Pages: 488

Genre: Crime/Thriller

ISBN: 9780451472670

Publisher: NAL

Rating: 4-Stars

Read: May 2015

After his wife’s death and the collapse of his newspaper, David Harwood has no choice but to uproot his nine-year-old son and move back into his childhood home in Promise Falls, New York. David believes his life is in free fall, and he can’t find a way to stop his descent…

David Harwood is a widowed father who moves back to his hometown of Promise Falls, NY with his young son Ethan. Life is at its low for David, he loses his job at a local newspaper shortly after moving back and has to move in back with his parents. When David’s mother asks him to take some food to a nearby cousin, he finds out that his cousin Marla is raising a baby. The problem is that Marla does not have a child. David starts to snoop around to try to get to the bottom of the story, and hopefully find the actual mother of the baby. When he learns that the mother of the baby has been murdered, he starts his own investigations, leaning on his experience as a reporter, to find out what happened and what role–if any, his cousin played in the crime.

Linwood Barclay is indeed a master of suspense. Broken Promise was a delight to read. A real page turner. I love the way Barclay developed his characters! The plot was very well written, full of twists and unexpected events. A fantastic thriller! My only complaint was the fact that although the ending was really good, there were a few loose ends that were not explained. I’m hoping there will be a sequel. Overall, it is a great read for fans of this genre.

I received an early copy of this book for free from Penguin Random House in exchange for my honest review. This book is scheduled to be published on July 28, 2015.

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5_Star_Rating_System_4_stars

Review: Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

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Title: Big Little Lies

Author: Liane Moriarty

Pages: 480

Genre: Fiction/Mystery

ISBN-13: 9780399167065

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Rating: 4-stars

Read: April, 2015 – I own a copy.

Sometimes it’s the little lies that turn out to be the most lethal. . .  A murder… . . . a tragic accident… . . . or just parents behaving badly? What’s indisputable is that someone is dead. But who did what?”

Set in suburban Australia, Big Little Lies is the fifth book of bestseller author Liane Moriarty. It follows the lives of three women, their struggles, and events that lead to a death at Pirriwee Public School trivia night.

The book follows these three different women as they meet at a kindergarten orientation at school. Madeline, who’s just turned forty, and her daughter Chloe. The young and single mother Jane, who had recently moved to Pirriwee beach with her son Ziggy; and the beautiful Celeste with her twins Max and Josh.

When Jane’s five-year-old son Ziggy is accused of choking and bullying another child, some of the parents immediately take a stand against the boy triggering hysteria and a series of playground politics and drama.

What I absolutely loved about this book was how easily Moriarty weaved the lives of these complex characters and tackled hard topics such as murder, bullying, infidelity, domestic abuse, and violence against women in a humorous and fun way, but without ever losing the severity of these social issues. She managed to write an extremely well plotted and engrossing story. I simply could not put this book down. It kept me up till late hours of the night dying to get to the end of the book, not so much to find out who did it, but who dies?

I laughed; I cried; and now I’m very sad that it ended. Oh calamity…

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5_Star_Rating_System_4_stars

Review: The Daughter by Jane Shemilt

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Title: The Daughter

Author: Jane Shemilt

Pages: 352

Genre: Fiction, Mystery/Thriller

Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks

Rating: 3-Stars

Read: March 3, 2015-March 10, 2015 – I own a copy.

Jenny is a successful family doctor in England, who seems to have everything, a perfect job, perfect marriage, and the perfect family. When Jenny’s fifteen-year-old doesn’t return home after a school play, Jenny’s life starts to crumble. Naomi seems to have vanished, and the authorities have no clue how to find her. As the weeks and months after Naomi’s disappearance go by, Jenny starts to discover information that shows a very different Naomi from the girl she thought she’d raised.

My thoughts: 

The Daughter is Jane Shemilt’s debut novel, and for a first novel it did not disappoint. While the book was a suspenseful page-turner that kept me up until late hours of the night, there were a few problems for me. The flow of the narrative was not continuous. Shemilt switched back and forth between the days/weeks leading up to the daughter’s disappearance to a year after her disappearance. My problem with that type of narrative structure was the fact that all the leads and suspects that you learned about in the days and weeks coming up to the disappearance, if they were still present in the novel a year later, then you knew they probably weren’t involved in the disappearance, so that broke the flow of suspense to me. Although I enjoyed the book, I did not really like any of the characters and could not truly sympathize with any of them. I couldn’t stand the mother’s naiveté about her children’s lives to the point of denial. The father’s cold and detached personality, and the twin brothers’ rich and spoiled behavior. As for Naomi, we only get to know her initially by Jenny’s eyes, and obviously the mother was oblivious to Naomi’s lifestyle and affairs. Naomi being such a central character was never truly developed, and her actions at the end of the book seemed random, leaving the reader begging for more explanations. The daughter is a novel that ponders on topics of betrayal, guilt, truth and family, and asks the question: “Can we have extremely busy careers and still be truly involved in our families’ lives?

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3 star