Friday, 28 March 2014

Keep your friends close - Paula Daly

Following a quiet success with What kind of a mother are you? is Paula Daly's latest outing into the world of thrillers.
This one's better.
Natty has been married forever it seems and has got to the stage of marriage where everything is work and she's the one keeping all the balls in the air.
So her husband is ripe for the picking.
When her long standing best friend, Eve, arrives she's only pleased to see her and catch up on her news. Since Natty owns a hotel her friend is able to simply stay over when Natty's youngest daughter is taken ill on a school trip to France.
Sean, Natty's  husband is beside himself being left behind when Natty takes the last place on a flight to France so Natty is relieved to leave her family in Eve's capable hands. Quite literally in Sean's case.
When she gets home it's to an unrecognisable Sean who claims to be in love with Eve despite having only been in a relationship with her for a matter of days.
So far, so relatively simple.
But is Eve everything she appears to be to everyone?
The book raises the question of just how much do you know about people supposedly close to you?
If you don't see them for years and they say they've passed high level exams do you have any reason to disbelieve them?
Been married and divorced?
Their mother has died?
How would you react if maybe some of it wasn't true? And if you were the only one that knew? Would you be paranoid or enlightened?
So much in life we take for granted and Paula Daly flips all this on it's head.
And then slam dunks the finale home.
Brilliant ending. If you're one of those people who reads the last page to see if you'll like the book, don't. Just don't.

Publisher - Bantam Press

Freda's Voice Friday 56
"Eve's not being a bossy-wife substitute is she?" I say, laughing"

Friday, 21 March 2014

The Accident - C L Taylor

The Accident - C L Taylor

This is what domestic abuse is. This is how it plays on your mind. This is how it spoils years afterwards even if you manage to get away.
This is extreme.
How powerful is emotional abuse and can it even change the shape of your body?
This is a psychological thriller with a vengeance.
A daughter lies in a coma and a mother is convinced there's a reason behind here accident. She sets out to confirm her suspicions but she's generally regarded as unstable by those around her who have no comprehension of the long lasting effects of the ordeal she suffered much earlier on in life.
Surely her abuser would have given up and it's therefore all in her mind?
Past and present run parallel.
This is one for fans of Elizabeth Haynes' Into the darkest corner.

The book of you - Claire Kendal

My pick for this year's surprise crime thriller.
A young girl is stalked but at the same time she's a jury member. She's keeping a diary of everything her stalker does and trying to get enough evidence together to go to the police.
What constitutes enough?
Would you know?
What's a paranoid reaction and what's a real event? Whose perspective would you use to decide?
There's a nice guy on the jury with her but current events cloud her judgement completely.
Running through the book are the day to day events alongside her diary entries and the trial taking place.
It's a good book but I'm not sure about the ending, it seemed weirdly contrived and let down the rest of the story.
That said it's a great new writer and I would happily read the next book.

Page 56
"at least I know she's safe.........You've got what you wanted. You've got as much of me as she can give you"

Freda's Voice Friday 56

Friday, 14 March 2014

Before we met - Lucie Whitehouse

Cover blurb on a pre publication book reads "the most gripping marriage thriller since Gone Girl"
Is it just me? This is not the most promising blurb. How much narrower could it get? "the most intriguing  Indonesian marriage thriller since...." "the most exciting Chinese marriage thriller set in outer space since....."
Ok, so it's likened to Gone Girl. I think they mean the original one before the film changed the ending.

Having said all of that it's actually quite a speedy thrillery read. 
Hannah decided that she was going to have a life. Not be a wifey drudge with children. So she finished with a great boyfriend and after that continued her life with a string of boyfriends on a part time basis. When her brother tells her she's running scared it doesn't take too long before she finds the man to marry.
With a relationship that's relatively new it's understandable that she doesn't know everything there is to know about her new husband but finding he's not even in the country he said he would be in is pushing trust a little bit far.
So she decides to do a bit of investigating and it turns out she's someone the Met Police would want on their force.
She asks people questions and they give her truthful answers-immediately. She gets into buildings she isn't supposed to be in and hacks into computers with amazing ease.
Having all of the clues doesn't make this particular heroine accept the truth staring her in the face. Maybe she's married a liar but she suffers from the same illness a lot of us suffer from sometimes-pride.
It's a fast  paced thriller that's not the cleverest one around but works as entertainment for the bus or flight. If you like a twisty turny red herring kind of book, this is not the one.

From page 56 for Freda's Voice
"one side of the run was fairly smooth............the other half, basically it was a rock-face with a bit of snow here and there where there was actually enough of an angle for it to stick on. Bear in mind this was the first week your husband had ever used a snowboard- we watched him come down that thing and I reckon the board must have made contact with it six times."

Freda's Voice

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

The Bear - Claire Cameron

Publisher Harvill Secker February 2014
A while ago there was an isolated incident of a bear killing two campers. It wasn't necessarily hungry or in danger and no distinct explanation could be found for it's actions.
Claire Cameron has taken this story and added a 'what if'.
What if there had been children with the two adults?
Taking this premise the reader is encouraged to live alongside the oldest child as the attack is underway and subsequently.
Although the tale could be told gruesomely Cameron has utilised the naivity of the child's brain to create an alternative, bearable (excuse the pun) reality, in doing so she has created a more heartbreaking story than the blood and gore actuality.
A truly remarkable read from an author to watch.

Page 56 for Freda's Voice

Stick is pretty funny and also still like a baby a lot of the time so you can't ask him to do hard things and then get mad because he forgets or wanders off or doesn't. Stick is like having an extra bag. Except a bag sits still and holds clothes. This bag is wet and eating all the cookies and showing me he has some when I have none.