Book Reviews

All posts in the Book Reviews category

Book Review – Garage Sale Stalker – Suzi Weinert

Published 07/09/2013 by julierkendrick

garage

I started this book expecting a cosy crime however this story was far from it. The main character Jennifer turned out to be a gritty determined older woman who is kidnapped by a serial killer and has to try to escape before his uses for her run out.

The author tells the story from Jennifer’s perspective but also of Ruger the killer as the book is as much about how be became that way as about the crime itself.
Although I was rooting for Jennifer and her family, I also felt sorry for Ruger (and his dog) which made for a nice confliction in my reading experience here.
This book was going to have a 5 star review but for two small things. Firstly, the sappy ending had me rolling my eyes a little but mainly it’s the title of the book. It doesn’t do it any justice and completely detracts from the actual style of the book.
However the writing was great and pulled me in, exciting me and keeping me reading late into the night. I look forward to reading more from this author.
4/5 Stars

Book Review – Three Wishes – Juli Alexander

Published 10/08/2013 by julierkendrick

3 wishesFor 2/3 of this book I was planning on giving it 4 stars, however when we hit the last third all of the things that had bothered me in the first part now became worse and by the time I had finished it had lost 2 stars.

So what was wrong?
Well the genie concept was interesting but strangely enough this was never really explored. Alexander didn’t ever explain how the genies grant wishes or how they managed to get from one place to another without arousing suspicion when they teleported. It was never explained what would happen if people were told that genies exist; it wasn’t detailed how much time passes in the real world when genies are called to do their duty and how do they explain their absences to the real world.
It felt to me that whenever Alexander needed to move the plot forward, details would get overlooked. Like, how did the suspect actually find out they were on to him/her (I don’t want to give it away so I won’t go into details). It came to the point where the penny was just dropping for some of the characters and then boom it was all over bar the shouting. The reason for the set up was also never explained in full so I ended up pretty confused by it all.
Another thing that did really irritate me was the relationships between the main family members. The protagonist, Jen is 17 in the book but her parents spoke to her and treated her like she was about 10, telling her she had to be in by 7.30pm and getting involved in brother/sister squabbles like they were life or death arguments. The mother was unnecessarily cagey about her work but again it seemed that the author used that caginess to gloss over plot points that hadn’t been fully planned out before the actual writing commenced.
I can imagine that you are wondering if I actually liked anything in the book.. yes i did. I like the easy style of writing that Ms Alexander has. The story gets going straight away and pulls you along with it. I do think that the genie aspect was such a promising avenue to explore and with a little more planning the story could have really taken off.
Juli Alexander is by no means a bad writer and I certainly wouldn’t judge her by this piece of work alone.
~This work has also been known under the title Karma Beat~
2/5

Book review – Joyland – Stephen King

Published 07/08/2013 by julierkendrick

joylandI was pretty excited when this book turned up in a tote at work and quickly grabbed a copy.  It went on my huge ‘to read’ pile but was destined to be read sooner rather than later.  So, when its turn came I snuggled down in my bed and started the first Stephen King book I’ve read in years.

Unfortunately I was quickly disappointed as I really wasn’t particularly enamoured by this book. Knowing that Stephen king has moved on from horror I was quite excited to read this new book. It was billed as a crime/ghost story and I suppose it was but I found it more of a coming of age tale, the crime and ghost bits just being second to the main story about the primary character, Dev and his relationship with a sick boy and his mother.

Having says that, Stephen King always writes well and I quite enjoyed the tale.

Is it up to his previous standard? No
Would I read future books of his? Of course, it is Stephen king after all.

3/5

Book Review – Unseen – Karin Slaughter

Published 30/07/2013 by julierkendrick

unseenThis is not the first book in the series and it was evident right from the start. The book presumes that you already know the characters, which you would do if you had read what goes before, but if not then it is a difficult book to follow.

When I have read series before and inadvertently started on the second or third book I have found that I can quite easily pick it up as the author will gently recap some of the salient issues. However Slaughter didn’t do that so I was making up my own back-story as I read. The trouble with this was that I didn’t really get to know the characters and therefore didn’t care what happened to them.
I never really got into the book so after about 70 pages I gave up and didn’t finish.
1/5

Book Review – Murder by the Book – Eric Brown

Published 04/07/2013 by julierkendrick

Murder by the bookI enjoyed every minute of reading this book. I loved the authenticity of the 1950’s as written by Brown. I am not old enough to have lived at that time but I really felt I was there with Langham et al. The story was a true old fashioned whodunit which kept me guessing until the end.

Brown’s style of writing is very easy to read, his characters are well rounded as are the locations he describes. Once again I praise him for transporting back to a time before mobile phones, internet and women’s lib.

The chaste relationship between Langham and Dupre is beautiful and a welcome change from the modern descriptions of love and sex (especially in the wave of the erotica movement sweeping the world at the moment).

I absolutely loved this book. I hope there will be more Langham/Dupre books to come because I for one will definitely be buying them.

5/5 stars

Book Spotlight – Cold Killing by Luke Delaney

Published 22/06/2013 by julierkendrick

ColdKilling_CoverSynopsis: 

After a young man is found brutally murdered in his own flat, DI Sean Corrigan, responsible for one of South London’s Murder Investigation Units, takes on the case. At first it appears to be a straightforward domestic murder, but immediately Corrigan suspects it is much more and it soon becomes clear he is hunting a particularly clever and ruthless serial killer who changes his modus operandi each time he kills, leaving no useable forensic evidence behind…

Excerpt

ONE OF THE STRANGEST THINGS ABOUT THE CITY was the sudden way it disappeared around the edges. One minute you were down on Sunset Boulevard surrounded by glass and concrete, and the next thing you knew you were up on Mulholland Drive, alone in the rough country. From a high window or a rooftop almost anywhere in Los Angeles you could see the mountains, and there was always something ravenous up there looking down.

I was up among the hungry creatures, standing at the edge of a cliff, with Hollywood and Santa Monica far below me in the distance. One step forward and I would be in midair. I was looking down and wondering if Haley had considered how suddenly you could go from city to wilderness. Then I wondered if it was a distinction without a difference, if the city might be the wilderness and the wilderness the city, and maybe Los Angeles’s edges seemed to disappear so suddenly because there really was no separation between sidewalks and mountain paths, buildings and boulders. Up in the mountains or down in the city, either way the carnivores were in control.

I imagined Haley, out of her mind, running full speed off the cliff. I wondered what it had been like, that final second or two before she hit. Had she realized what was happening? Did she recognize the city lights below for what they were, or did she really think she was flying toward the stars? And did she think of me?

Stepping closer to the edge, I slid the toes of my shoes into the air. I looked down two hundred feet, toward the spot where she had broken on the rocks. I stood one inch from eternity and tried to imagine life without her. I could not summon up a single reason why I shouldn’t take that final step, except for one. I thought about the kind of animal who would drive someone to do what my wife had done. Predators like that were everywhere. I should know. I had trained for half my life to be one of them. I was hungry, looking down on the city. If I was going to live, the hunger would have to be enough, for now. But I would sink my teeth into him, sooner or later. I would do that for Haley, and for myself, and then maybe it would be my turn to see if I could fly.

I stepped back from the edge.

Buy Cold Killing here.

 

The Cemetery Girl – Book Review

Published 27/01/2013 by julierkendrick

I have just finished reading The Cemetery Girl by David Bell and while it is fresh in my mind thought I’d write a quick review of it.

cemetery girl

Briefly the story is about a 12 year old girl who goes missing, believed kidnapped and how the family cope with that over the four years that she is gone and then how they cope when she finally returns, not saying anything about where she has been.

When I read the synopsis I thought that sounded like a promising story, and indeed it was. For the first half of the book. Bell tells the story from the father’s point of view in the first person and initially manages to capture his bewilderment and the constant questioning of himself that we would all do if, God forbid, this happened to any of us. However, once Caitlin, the daughter, returns the pace slows down so much that I found myself willing the characters into conflict. There was quite a bit of pointless dialogue where nothing further was gained and conversations were also repeated, albeit in a slightly different way.

My main problem with this book however was the development, or lack thereof, of the relationships throughout the book.  The whole novel is based around Tom’s relationship with his family and those who try to help during the transition from Caitlin’s disappearance to her subsequent return and integration back into the family.  It is obvious that he doesn’t agree with his wife or her way of coping but that is never fully explored. Abby, the wife, displays some fairly odd behaviour but we never really find out why. Tom’s relationship with his brother, Buster also leaves a lot to be desired descriptively speaking. Tom accuses him of being the kidnapper on more than one occasion and even asks if he slept with Caitlin. Buster, however doesn’t appear to react to these accusations in any way that I believe a reasonable person would.  He still comes round to chat to Caitlin, and Tom and Abby seem quite happy for this to happen. Then in the next chapter Tom and Buster, are together again discussing possible scenarios for what may have happened, before Tom accuses him again of some nefarious act.

Lastly, although I am trying not to give any plot spoilers, we never actually find out completely what happened to Caitlin, or why she behaves the way she does. It was as if Bell got bored of the story and decided to leave us in suspense. The majority of the text was leading up to getting Caitlin to talk and building the tension but the climax never materialised and left me very disappointed as a reader.

What started out as a great story with a very promising plot, fell flat and did not deliver what Bell set out to do, give us a great story about relationships under extreme circumstances. Maybe this was because the characters themselves were underdeveloped. I don’t know but I won’t be in any hurry to buy his next book.

5/10.