Title: What You Left Behind
Author: Samantha Hayes
Publisher: Crown Publishers
Read: May 2015
Two years after a terrifying spate of teenage suicides, the remote village of Radcote has just begun to heal. Then a young man is killed in a freak motorcycle accident and a suicide note is found among his belongings. When a second boy is found dead shortly thereafter, the nightmare of repeat suicides once again threatens the community.
This is the second installment of the Detective Inspector Lorraine Fischer’s series. I haven’t read the first book, but I was able to read this story as a standalone. The book begins with D.I. Lorraine Fischer’s visit to her sister Jo in the remote village of Radcote, where a series of apparent teenage suicides are happening. Lorraine soon learns that there is more to this vacation than it meets the eyes. She arrives in town with her daughter Stella to find her sister Jo having an extra-marital affair, and her nephew Freddie acting moody and withdrawn. When another teen suicide happens shortly after Lorraine’s arrival, the detective can’t help but start her investigation into what is happening in Radcote.
What You Left Behind is one of those books with a fantastic premise, but gets lost somehow half-way into the story. There were too many subplots and red herrings. The characters were a bit dull, the dialogue was boring and clunky, and although towards the end the novel perks back up leading to a surprising finale–overall this book didn’t do it for me.
I received this book for free from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.
Title: The Farm
Author: Tom Rob Smith
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Read: April 16, 2015- May 2,2015 – I own a copy.
Daniel believed that his parents were enjoying a peaceful retirement on a remote farm in Sweden. But with a single phone call, everything changes.
“Your mother…she’s not well, his father tells him. She’s been imagining things – terrible, terrible things. She’s had a psychotic breakdown, and been committed to a mental hospital.”
Before Daniel can board a plane to Sweden, his mother calls: “Everything that man has told you is a lie. I’m not mad… I need the police… Meet me at Heathrow.”
When Daniel gets off the phone after talking to his mother, we embark in this amazing journey of lies, secrets and misconceptions through rural Sweden. Daniel is caught between his parents allegations against each other, and at times it is simply impossible to distinguish who’s telling the truth. There is so much more to this novel than meets the eye.
I read this book in a few days not because of lack of interest, but purely for lack of time. Smith does a fantastic job at building the suspense in this novel and weaving a compelling plot that is really a plot within a plot, full of twists and turns.
What I simply adored about this book was the fact that I had it all wrong. I never saw that ending coming.
I definitely recommend this book! This was my first novel by author Tom Rob Smith, and I simply LOVED it! I’m really looking forward to reading more books from him.
Title: Don’t Turn Around
Author: Caroline Mitchell
Genre: Paranormal Thriller/Crime
Read: April 21, 2015-April 24, 2015
As D.C. Jennifer Knight investigates a routine stabbing in the quiet town of Haven, she is shocked at what seems like a personal message from beyond the grave. When more bodies are found, Jennifer is convinced the killings are somehow linked.
What she discovers is more chilling than she could possibly imagine. The murders mirror those of the notorious Grim Reaper – from over twenty years ago. A killer her mother helped convict. Jennifer can no longer ignore the personal connection. Is there a copycat killer at work? Was the wrong man convicted? Or is there something more sinister at play?
In this book, Caroline Mitchell introduces us to D.C. Jennifer Knight a well-written and complex character. She is more than just a cop; she hears voices inside her head. Her paranormal abilities have helped her solve cases in the past, and she will have to rely on them one more time in order to solve a string of crimes and stop a killer.
This is book number one in the Detective Jennifer Knight crime thriller series, and it was also my very first book in the paranormal/crime/thriller genre. I truly enjoyed the plot and storyline.
This novel had some extremely creepy and scary moments that worked really well together, and still kept me very interested. I particularly liked the narrative from the serial killer’s perspective–chilling and well-written. A great glimpse into a murderer’s mind.
I definitely recommend this book, and my only wish was that there was a bit more romance weaved into this great story. I’m hopeful that the next books will explore the relationship between detective Jennifer and Will.
I’d also like to thank Bookouture and NetGalley for allowing me to read an early copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Unabridged (10 hours and 59 minutes)
Author: Paula Hawkins
Narration: Clare Corbett, Louise Brealey, India Fisher
Release Date: 1-13-15
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Listened: April, 2015
From Audible:Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost. And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?
The Girl on The Train is Paula Hawkins’ debut novel, and it is told from the perspective of three different women. The book starts with the main character, Rachel, a lonely alcoholic divorcee who takes the train to London everyday in order to conceal from her roommate the fact she was fired months prior.
The book is also narrated by three actresses, which allowed for differentiation between the characters. This novel was the third audiobook that I felt compelled to write a review. I knew about the buzz surrounding the book, and purposefully avoided reading other reviews.
I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by the narrative. I thought the story was suspenseful and interesting. None of the women in the book are particularly likable, but in this book, I took that to be a plus. None of the three characters were reliable witnesses, and you get the sense after a few chapters that their lives will intertwine somehow.
The narration of the book was a bit dull and monotone, but it worked! It captured the vibe of the story. The only reason I’m giving this book a 3-Star review is the fact that I had the plot figured out several chapters before the end of the book. I felt that Hawkins perhaps gave too many clues that easily led to the conclusion of the book. I definitely recommend this audiobook and I look forward to her next novels.
Title: The Daughter
Author: Jane Shemilt
Genre: Fiction, Mystery/Thriller
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
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.
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?