Richard and Judy bookclub

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The Thirst – Jo Nesbo

Published January 13, 2018 by bibliobeth

What’s it all about?:

The murder victim, a self-declared Tinder addict. The one solid clue—fragments of rust and paint in her wounds—leaves the investigating team baffled.
Two days later, there’s a second murder: a woman of the same age, a Tinder user, an eerily similar scene.
The chief of police knows there’s only one man for this case. But Harry Hole is no longer with the force. He promised the woman he loves, and he promised himself, that he’d never go back: not after his last case, which put the people closest to him in grave danger.
But there’s something about these murders that catches his attention, something in the details that the investigators have missed. For Harry, it’s like hearing “the voice of a man he was trying not to remember.” Now, despite his promises, despite everything he risks, Harry throws himself back into the hunt for a figure who haunts him, the monster who got away.

What did I think?:

The Thirst is the second book in the Richard and Judy Spring Reads 2018 book club and how happy am I that they’ve picked this book?! Well, very happy I’ll tell you. I do love a bit of Jo Nesbo and have previously enjoyed a number of books in the Harry Hole series in my pre blogging days including The Redbreast, The Snowman and The Leopard. However, I’ve kind of got out of sync with the series and haven’t read any for the longest time. I’m a bit of a stickler for wanting to read things like this in order, as you might know but when Richard and Judy chose Jo Nesbo’s latest book featuring the stalwart and determined detective Harry Hole, I thought I would loosen my rules and regulations slightly and give it a go. I have to admit, I was a bit dubious at the start, especially as it has a certain “vampirish” element which isn’t really my bag (I was expecting some Twilight-esque horrors!) but after a mere fifty pages – WOW. I slipped right back into the author’s characteristic and entertaining writing style, was bowled over by the characters and plot and am determined to go back and re-visit the series, including any books I’ve missed along the way.

As with most thrillers, it would be giving too much away to tell you everything but if you’ve never come across Harry Hole before, you’re in for a treat. At the time of the story, he is working as a lecturer to young, keen, up and coming police officers and is called back into the force when a case arises that he may have a personal invested interest in. The one that got away. The murderer that continues to haunt his dreams is back and has a score to settle. The perp has a very peculiar M.O. that involves Tinder users and a pair of specially made, deadly iron teeth. The investigating detectives must use all the skills and prior knowledge from Harry Hole if they are to catch a vicious predator that puts a whole new spin on the word “psychopath.”

Jo Nesbo is one of the very few authors for me who writes characters that really get under your skin. Of course, I have an especially soft spot for our main man, Harry but he seems to have also developed his female characters wonderfully, including the lead detective on the case, Katrine Bratt and can I just take a moment to applaud the construction of his villain? Sadistic, twisted, terrifying – this is one man it would be quite easy to have a nightmare about when you finish reading this novel! Even the background characters that have less of a prominent role are drawn to perfection, all have distinct personalities and all of them feel incredibly authentic.

Now I want to talk about the plot (and also tell myself off a little bit for being so SMUG). I thought I knew where this book was going. In fact, I was so sure that I knew who the villain was and their motive that I was actually going to reduce my rating of this book by half a star as I thought I had it all worked out! Shame on me because I actually didn’t and I was completely taken back and delighted to be proved wrong. I was also left reeling by all the twists and turns, which were numerous and completely unexpected but so intricate and obviously beautifully planned by the author. The sign of a good book in my mind is when you keep thinking about it when you’re not reading it and can’t wait to return to it. This is how I felt whilst reading The Thirst. It’s a bit of a beast at just over 600 pages but every single page is worth your effort, I promise. I couldn’t get the story or the characters out of my head and I cannot give it any less than the full five stars. If you’ve never read any Jo Nesbo before, this can definitely be read as a stand alone although I would always suggest starting from the beginning of the series (in this case, The Bat) to get the full flavour of Harry’s back story. However, if you’ve read and loved Jo Nesbo before, what are you waiting for?!

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

imagesCAF9JG4S

The Thirst by Jo Nesbo is the second book in my quest to conquer Mount Everest in The Mount TBR Reading Challenge 2018!

 

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Bookish Resolutions And Goals For 2018

Published January 8, 2018 by bibliobeth

Image from: http://msbookish.com/2015-goals-bookish-goals-for-the-new-year/

Hello everyone and welcome to a post that I don’t normally do but for some reason, I thought it might be nice to do for 2018. I don’t normally like to make too many rules and regulations for my blog but due to the sheer volume of the books that I own, the back-list of reviews I still have to write etc. I thought it might be time to set some things down, just to give me some sort of direction for the year ahead. I’ve written down TEN major resolutions and then I’ve slotted in another FIVE general ones (just because once I started I found it quite difficult to stop…oops!) So, here we go!

1.)  Put less pressure on myself to blog every day.

I came a little way to doing this last year when I was ill. I did get to the stage where I just thought: “Oh *%$* it!” but there was still that residual guilt when I didn’t get a post done every day. 😦

2.) Gradually reduce review back-list by continuing to do mini-pin it reviews.

I came a long way doing this last year – to date I’ve done 16 mini-pin it reviews which means sixty-four books that were originally on my review back-list are GONE! Definitely will continue this.

3.) Use notebook to make notes on titles “currently reading” so when I come to review them, things are fresher in my memory.

I recently bought a lovely notebook from Faye at Daydreaming Designs and used it to compile this list and a few other things already this year in the attempt to make me a little more organised!

4.) Be honest with myself if I’m unable to take on a review title especially those requested by authors directly that are not really my cup of tea.

When I first started blogging, I used to love that authors requested me to read their books and used to accept EVERYTHING. Then I realised how stupid this was and that I couldn’t possibly do this and read the things I WANTED to read as well. I have got better at refusing review requests but need to stop feeling bad about it too.

5.) Be better about commenting on other bloggers reviews.

Again something I have got a little better with last year but I still perhaps don’t comment as much as I should. Sometimes I think I’ve got nothing else to say except “Great review!” but even if I just say that it’s letting the blogger know I enjoyed their post.

6.) Attend more bookish events/author talks.

I love doing this and unfortunately chronic illness slows me down in this A LOT. I work in London and there is the potential to attend events after work however if I do that and get home late I’m likely to knacker myself for work the next morning. However, once in a while wouldn’t hurt!

7.) Continue with “Shelfie by Shelfie” meme and hopefully encourage others to participate.

I’ve really enjoyed developing my little meme last year, something I thought I could never do. I have a lot of shelves so there are many, many more shelfies to come and hopefully I can inspire someone else to join in too.

8.) Experiment with making reviews a little “fresher” i.e. use of images relevant to post.

I love bloggers that use images/GIF’s which highlight their content and break up the text a little bit. I’ve been thinking of doing something like this myself but we’ll see how it goes…

9.) Read some of those books I’ve been meaning to get to for years.

For example, A Song Of Fire And Ice by George R.R. Martin, Smoke Gets In Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty and Tipping The Velvet by Sarah Waters. Some of these books have been on my shelves/Kindle for FAR too long!

10.) Start doing some buddy reads/join an online bookclub.

I’ve never done a buddy read before and it looks like such fun! I already have tentative plans with the lovely Janel from Keeper Of Pages to read The Fireman by Joe Hill this year so I’m really hoping that takes off. Just saying it right here, right now, if I mention a book and you’re open to a buddy read with me – let’s do it!

OTHER CHALLENGES:

  • Increase NetGalley ratio to a more acceptable level. – you don’t want to know my ratio…it’s shameful.
  • Participate in Mount TBR challenge. – I saw this on Jo’s Book Blog and it looks like a lot of fun!
  • Continue to enjoy Banned Books and Kid-Lit with Chrissi. – this should be easy, I’ve done this every year since I started blogging.
  • Read and review Richard And Judy book club picks. – also something I’ve done every year since I started blogging.
  • Read and review Daunt Books from annual subscription each month. – my wonderful boyfriend got me a Daunt Books Annual Subscription for Christmas so I get one new paperback each month. I’m determined to read and review them each month they come in. Let’s see how I do.

So everyone….

Image from: https://www.appbrain.com/app/wish-me-luck/com.Starlab.WML

 

The Keeper Of Lost Things – Ruth Hogan

Published January 4, 2018 by bibliobeth

What’s it all about?:

A charming, clever, and quietly moving debut novel of of endless possibilities and joyful discoveries that explores the promises we make and break, losing and finding ourselves, the objects that hold magic and meaning for our lives, and the surprising connections that bind us.

Lime green plastic flower-shaped hair bobbles—Found, on the playing field, Derrywood Park, 2nd September.

Bone china cup and saucer-Found, on a bench in Riveria Public Gardens, 31st October.

Anthony Peardew is the keeper of lost things. Forty years ago, he carelessly lost a keepsake from his beloved fiancée, Therese. That very same day, she died unexpectedly. Brokenhearted, Anthony sought consolation in rescuing lost objects—the things others have dropped, misplaced, or accidentally left behind—and writing stories about them. Now, in the twilight of his life, Anthony worries that he has not fully discharged his duty to reconcile all the lost things with their owners. As the end nears, he bequeaths his secret life’s mission to his unsuspecting assistant, Laura, leaving her his house and and all its lost treasures, including an irritable ghost.

Recovering from a bad divorce, Laura, in some ways, is one of Anthony’s lost things. But when the lonely woman moves into his mansion, her life begins to change. She finds a new friend in the neighbor’s quirky daughter, Sunshine, and a welcome distraction in Freddy, the rugged gardener. As the dark cloud engulfing her lifts, Laura, accompanied by her new companions, sets out to realize Anthony’s last wish: reuniting his cherished lost objects with their owners.

Long ago, Eunice found a trinket on the London pavement and kept it through the years. Now, with her own end drawing near, she has lost something precious—a tragic twist of fate that forces her to break a promise she once made.

As the Keeper of Lost Objects, Laura holds the key to Anthony and Eunice’s redemption. But can she unlock the past and make the connections that will lay their spirits to rest?

Full of character, wit, and wisdom, The Keeper of Lost Things is a heartwarming tale that will enchant fans of The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, Garden Spells, Mrs. Queen Takes the Train,and The Silver Linings Playbook.

What did WE think?:

CHRISSI: What were your first impressions of this book?

BETH: Generally, I thought that it was very easy to read and almost fairy tale like in its execution, particularly with the little short stories that we are told about the lost objects. Some I enjoyed more than others but overall, it seemed to be an intriguing little read.

BETH: How would you describe this book to someone who was interested in reading it?

CHRISSI: It’s a difficult one because it fits into so many genres, so you can’t exactly market it as in a specific genre. I think if I had to pick a word to describe this book it would be whimsical. It’s a story of two parts that meet together even if you don’t expect that they will.

CHRISSI: How does the story of Eunice and Bomber relate to Laura and Anthony’s story? Did you find the two plot strands difficult to juggle, perhaps too distracting? Or do the two tales enhance one another?

BETH: There is a reason for the inclusion of Eunice and Bomber’s story and I won’t go into it too much but it relates to the lost objects that Laura is looking after/trying to find homes for. I wasn’t sure at first how the two stories were connected and to be perfectly honest, preferred the current day story of Laura and Anthony to that of Eunice and Bomber. This is quite a departure for me as usually I much prefer a timeline set in the past compared to a contemporary one and I’m not sure why. Eunice irritated me slightly as a character so perhaps this put me off.

BETH: Which character did you connect with most in this novel and why?

CHRISSI: Ooh that’s hard because I really enjoyed two of the characters. I loved Laura and really felt for her at the beginning. She seemed incredibly broken and I really wanted a fix for her. I wanted her to be happy. A character that I really connected with was Sunshine. I thought she was an extraordinary character. I loved her insight. She easily understood things that others didn’t. I loved her view of the world.

CHRISSI: Did you connect with both Eunice and Bomber/Laura and Anthony?

BETH: Haha, I’ve managed to ramble right into the next question!! I didn’t really connect with Eunice as a character I have to say and Bomber was just a bit so-so for me. I found his sister, Portia to be a much more fascinating character to read about although there were some tender moments in the narrative involving these characters and their parents which I really appreciated. Laura and Anthony I liked more but the character who I enjoyed exploring the most was probably Sunshine who be-friends Laura quite near the beginning and becomes a very important part of the novel.

BETH: Did any of the stories about the objects stay with you and if so, which one and why?

CHRISSI: I wish I did have a story that stood out for me, but I really don’t. I thought all of the stories were intriguing in different ways. However,  there were so many of the stories that I couldn’t really focus in on one. There wasn’t one that immediately stuck with me. That’s not to say they weren’t well written. They were! Some were incredibly charming.

CHRISSI: How does this book compare with others in its genre?

BETH: I’m not quite sure where to place this book genre wise. Some parts of it are historical, others contemporary, others kind of magical and fantastical. As a fantasy novel I think there’s a place for it but it’s much more gentle and not as complex as other books in the genre. For me, this was a decent read that I enjoyed but I wasn’t completely blown away.

BETH: Would you read another book by this author?

CHRISSI: I would. I thought this was an impressive debut. It read like it was from a very established author.

Would WE recommend it?:

BETH: Probably!

CHRISSI: Yes!

BETH’s Star rating (out of 5):

3-5-stars

CHRISSI’s Star rating (out of 5):

3 Star Rating Clip Art

Under A Pole Star – Stef Penney

Published November 22, 2017 by bibliobeth

What’s it all about?:

Flora Mackie was twelve when she first crossed the Arctic Circle on her father’s whaling ship. Now she is returning to the frozen seas as the head of her own exploration expedition. Jakob de Beyn was raised in Manhattan, but his yearning for new horizons leads him to the Arctic as part of a rival expedition. When he and Flora meet, all thoughts of science and exploration give way before a sudden, all-consuming love.

The affair survives the growing tensions between the two groups, but then, after one more glorious summer on the Greenland coast, Jakob joins his leader on an extended trip into the interior, with devastating results.

The stark beauty of the Arctic ocean, where pack ice can crush a ship like an eggshell, and the empty sweep of the tundra, alternately a snow-muffled wasteland and an unexpectedly gentle meadow, are vividly evoked. Against this backdrop Penney weaves an irresistible love story, a compelling look at the dark side of the golden age of exploration, and a mystery that Flora, returning one last time to the North Pole as an old woman, will finally lay to rest.

What did I think?:

Under A Pole Star is the penultimate pick for the Richard and Judy Book Club here in the UK and is something I like to follow whenever they bring out a new list. If you’re interested in the rest of the books they have picked for the Autumn Book Club, check out the main page on my blog where there is a tab that includes all the reads for this season and some of the past choices, most of which I review in a “Talking About” feature with my sister and fellow blogger, Chrissi Reads. This is the first novel I’ve read by Stef Penney although I am familiar with her debut, The Tenderness Of Wolves which I know was very popular when it came out in 2006 and won a prize for best debut at The Costa Book Awards. If you missed the announcement last night, Under A Pole Star has made the short-list for the best novel category in the Costa Book Awards this year so I wish the author the very best of luck.

As soon as I read the synopsis for this novel, I have to say I was very excited. The idea of two rival Arctic expeditions in the late 1940’s and a blossoming love affair between the two camps was quite intriguing but I’m also not a big fan of romance – it has to be done as delicately as possible for me otherwise I just feel slightly nauseous so I did approach this book with slight trepidation as well. Romance aside for the moment, generally this is a fantastic novel. We have two main characters – the British Flora Mackie and the American Jakob de Beyn who has Dutch roots but is raised in America with his brother after a tragedy befalls his parents. Flora herself has been practically raised on the ice having lost her mother also at a young age and her father, a whaling captain takes her along on his expeditions.

The novel opens with Flora as an old woman, returning to the Arctic for one more expedition and there is a young male journalist eager to meet with the woman known as The Snow Queen to revel in the juicy tidbits of her life. Then the story goes back in time to when Flora was a teenager and first developed her love of exploring and then finally to *that* expedition of 1948 where she meets Jakob for the first time and they fall in love. We also hear parts of Jakob’s adolescence, his struggles with his family, his love for his brother and his friend Frank who ends up accompanying him on the expedition, and his triumphs when he becomes a geologist and gets to realise his dream – an Arctic expedition with explorer, Lester Armitage and a whole crew of people determined to discover new lands.

There is so much going on in this novel, it’s almost epic in proportions and I don’t want to go into too much detail about plot for fear of giving anything away (and also I don’t want to tell you the full story of course, what fun would that be?). Let’s just say there’s tragedy in both of our protagonists lives, heart-break, difficult situations that they come across where they succeed or fail but the main crux of the tale is that by falling in love with each other, it makes both their lives better despite what has happened in their pasts and what happens to them afterwards. I can almost see it as a feature length film, it felt like a screenplay would be a piece of cake for any talented writer and there is a lot to play with regarding characters and setting. I can’t pretend that there weren’t issues for me with the romance though unfortunately.

Flora comes across as quite a cold character at first, which is absolutely fine, she has had a lot to deal with in her life and has had to fend off multiple misogynist points of view regarding what she “should” be doing as a female in the 1940’s i.e. staying at home, cleaning the house, cooking dinner, bearing children and I really appreciated how the author made her so strong, fiesty and independent. Jakob was a little more of an enigma for me and I never felt like I got to know the real him which was a bit of a shame. However, my main problem was that I really didn’t believe in their relationship. They fell in love entirely too easily for my liking (ah, the dreaded insta-love!) and I’m so sorry but the sex scenes? Multiple cringe-worthy moments that really didn’t do it for me and were far too frequent. I’m no prude but I would much rather have heard more about the Arctic way of life with maybe a little sliver of romance and it felt very “sex-heavy,” if that’s a term. That’s just a personal preference though, truly some people might love it! She just lost me a little bit when she had Flora sniffing his penis.

Aside from this niggle, this is a fascinating book with some wonderful characters to get to grips with, poignant and devastating moments that I simply cannot share with you but I think you’ll know what I’m talking about if you’ve read this book already? Stef Penney has taken the people and the world of the Arctic and written a compelling piece of historical fiction that still keeps playing on my mind weeks after finishing it. I would definitely be interested in reading anything else she writes in the future.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0

A Dangerous Crossing – Rachel Rhys

Published November 10, 2017 by bibliobeth

What’s it all about?:

England, September 1939
Lily Shepherd boards a cruise liner for a new life in Australia and is plunged into a world of cocktails, jazz and glamorous friends. But as the sun beats down, poisonous secrets begin to surface. Suddenly Lily finds herself trapped with nowhere to go …

Australia, six-weeks later
The world is at war, the cruise liner docks, and a beautiful young woman is escorted onto dry land in handcuffs.

What has she done?

What did I think?:

I was first made aware of A Dangerous Crossing through a good blogger friend, the wonderful Cleopatra from Cleopatra Loves Books and you can read her fantastic review HERE. She gave it five stars and called it “a story not to be missed.” Cleo also won the opportunity to have her name appear as a character in this novel by means of a charity auction on behalf on CLIC Sargent so look out for her fabulous cameo near the end! Cleo is one of a special group of people to me that when she makes a recommendation I really listen and I’m so glad I did because I cannot stress enough how wonderful this book was. Rachel Rhys (the pen-name of a successful psychological suspense author) writes such a vivid historical fiction novel that I was completely swept up with the time period, the characters and the evocative, mysterious nature of the narrative.

Our main female protagonist is Lily Shepherd and she has recently boarded a massive cruise ship en route to Australia in search of adventure, to see the world and escape certain events from her past. She gratefully seizes an opportunity to pursue domestic work in Australia in the late 1930’s when they were crying out for British workers for a fixed period of time. On the voyage, she instantly connects with a brother and sister, Edward and Helena Fletcher and a Jewish refugee called Maria but also comes into contact with the glamorous and rich couple Eliza and Max Campbell, strange and interfering Ida and fascist bully George. Interestingly, all the characters she comes into contact with appear to be running away from something and as the voyage continues, Lily slowly discovers what this is. At the very beginning of the novel, the prologue describes a woman being led off the ship in handcuffs but just what the woman has done and what precipitated her crime is all left for the reader to discover, piece by delicious piece.

A Dangerous Crossing was picked for the Richard and Judy Autumn Book Club here in the UK and it’s easily one of my favourites in terms of writing style, characters and plot. How can I describe the characters? There’s only one word really – just GORGEOUS. There’s such a variety of individuals to enjoy, each drawn beautifully with their own distinct personality, motives and morals that it’s almost like watching a blockbuster movie in your head. I was taken directly into the author’s world (a very willing and excited participant) from that show-stopper of a prologue right until the sensational finale which shocked and delighted me in equal measure. England is on the brink of war but on this cruise liner, in the middle of the ocean, it’s a completely different world entirely with its very own heroes and villains, morals and obligations, drama and danger. Basically, this book is perfection and I have not got a bad word to say about it – please read it and discover its brilliance for yourself!

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

imagesCAF9JG4S

 

Talking About The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel with Chrissi Reads

Published November 2, 2017 by bibliobeth

What’s it all about?:

Roanoke girls never last long around here. In the end, we either run or we die.

After her mother’s suicide, fifteen year-old Lane Roanoke came to live with her grandparents and fireball cousin, Allegra, on their vast estate in rural Kansas. Lane knew little of her mother’s mysterious family, but she quickly embraced life as one of the rich and beautiful Roanoke girls. But when she discovered the dark truth at the heart of the family, she ran fast and far away.

Eleven years later, Lane is adrift in Los Angeles when her grandfather calls to tell her Allegra has gone missing. Did she run too? Or something worse? Unable to resist his pleas, Lane returns to help search, and to ease her guilt at having left Allegra behind. Her homecoming may mean a second chance with the boyfriend whose heart she broke that long ago summer. But it also means facing the devastating secret that made her flee, one she may not be strong enough to run from again.

As it weaves between Lane’s first Roanoke summer and her return, The Roanoke Girls shocks and tantalizes, twisting its way through revelation after mesmerizing revelation, exploring the secrets families keep and the fierce and terrible love that both binds them together and rips them apart.

What did WE think?:

CHRISSI: What did you make of Amy Engel’s first step into adult fiction?
BETH: I haven’t actually read any of her young adult fiction so I wasn’t sure what to expect from her writing. I’m really glad now that I went into this book not knowing what to expect as I think that’s definitely the way it should be read. I had heard so much buzz about it on Twitter and read some really great reviews from bloggers I love and trust so I was really excited to get stuck in. I also managed to avoid any spoilers which is fantastic as this is definitely a book that could be spoiled if a reviewer isn’t careful.
BETH: You had some quite conflicting feelings about this novel. Can you try and explain them?
CHRISSI: I can’t really articulate my feelings around this book because they’re so complex! At some points I thought it was brilliantly dark and deeply disturbing which I don’t mind in a book. I didn’t like any of the characters…again, not something that bothers me, so it can’t exactly be that. It’s incredibly hard to explain my feelings about this book in a way that doesn’t spoil it for future readers. Let’s just say, I didn’t like the way some aspects of the book weren’t challenged by the characters. I couldn’t feel empathy with them because of that. No one seemed to care or challenge issues. That frustrated me.
CHRISSI: Discuss the complex relationship between Lane and Allegra.
BETH: Lane and Allegra are cousins and when Lane’s mother dies, she comes to live at the Roanoke house with her grandfather, grandmother and cousin Allegra who has been raised there from a baby. At first, the two girls are delighted to be reunited and desperate to get to know each other, especially as they are of a similar age. It isn’t long though before tensions mount and their relationship becomes a lot more fragile which is one of the many factors that leads to Lane leaving and Allegra disappearing.
BETH: Without spoilers, did the main shock of the novel come as a big surprise to you?
CHRISSI: It didn’t. I started to guess what was going on as the story progressed. I was hoping it wasn’t going to be that way, but it was! This book is disturbing and I do feel that it should be approached with caution if you’re sensitive about some subjects that could trigger you.
CHRISSI: Discuss the small town setting of the novel and what this adds to the story.
BETH: Amy Engel captures all the quirks of a small town perfectly. Everybody knows who everybody else is and this means they also think that they’re entitled to know all their business too. There isn’t much to do in the town, purely because of the size of it and its distance from neighbouring towns so this gives some of the inhabitants, particularly our female protagonist Lane, the feeling of being too tightly enclosed and trapped. We also see when Lane returns as an adult how many things have stayed exactly the same (including people that she has left behind) and how frustrating this is for her as she fights to be free.
BETH: How do you think this book sits in the genre?
CHRISSI: I think it stands out as a book that is quite polarising. I can imagine some people will love its deep and dark subject matter. Others like me, would hope for some more sensitivity given the subject matter. It’s certainly a dark and gritty read. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t mind reading this book and it didn’t take long to read…it’s just not something I’d personally re-read.
CHRISSI: I had a love/hate relationship with this book. How did you feel about it?
BETH: I know you had quite an interesting reading experience with The Roanoke Girls where you couldn’t quite make up your mind whether you liked it or hated it but for me I think it was a bit more black and white. I did really enjoy this novel, purely because it was so dark and twisty which was a welcome bonus – I certainly wasn’t expecting it to be as disturbing as it was! I didn’t particularly like any of the characters at all but I don’t think you have to like a character to appreciate a good story either, sometimes I feel the best novels are where you have such strong feelings of DISLIKE for a character! It also had a great little twist at the end which I kind of guessed just before the final scene but was still a fantastic end to the novel.
BETH: Would you read another book by this author?
CHRISSI: I think I would. I didn’t hate the writing style, I found it particularly engaging! I would be interested to read the YA fiction that the author has had published!
Would WE recommend it?:
BETH: But of course!
CHRISSI: Yes! (With caution)
BETH’s Star rating (out of 5):
 four-stars_0
CHRISSI’s Star rating (out of 5):
 3 Star Rating Clip Art

Kill The Father – Sandrone Dazieri

Published October 29, 2017 by bibliobeth

What’s it all about?:

‘The rock cast a sharp, dark shadow over a shape huddled on the ground. Please don’t let it be the boy, Colomba thought. Her silent prayer didn’t go unanswered. The corpse belonged to the mother.’

THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN STOP HIM IS THE ONE WHO GOT AWAY…

Dante Torre spent eleven young years in captivity – held by a man known only as The Father – before outwitting his abductor. Now working for the police force, Torre’s methods are unorthodox but his brilliance is clear. When a young child goes missing in similar circumstances in Rome, Torre must confront the demons of his past to attempt to solve the case.

Paired with Deputy Captain Colomba Caselli, a fierce, warrior-like detective still reeling from having survived a bloody catastrophe, all evidence suggests The Father is active after being dormant for decades, and that he’s looking forward to a reunion with Dante…

What did I think?:

Kill The Father was translated from the original Italian by Antony Shugaar and is the first in a crime series involving a female detective called Colomba Caselli. It was chosen by TV personalities Richard and Judy as part of their Autumn book club here in the UK and is quite a hefty tome compared to other pieces of crime fiction, weighing in at just over 500 pages. I love that Richard and Judy are including a lot more thrillers on their recommended reads recently and usually, I highly enjoy all their choices in this genre. Kill The Father has had some terrific reviews on GoodReads with an average rating of 4.12 which, as I’m sure you know is high praise indeed. So, here comes unpopular opinion time – I really didn’t enjoy it as much as other people seem to have done. There’s so much to appreciate about it (which I’ll go into later) but for some reason, everything just felt a bit too frantic and overly convoluted for me which didn’t make it a particularly enjoyable reading experience.

Our female protagonist is Deputy Captain Colomba Caselli, officially on leave from her work with the police after an incident where she barely escaped with her life. She is vulnerable, damaged but determined and is soon pulled (unofficially) into a new case where a mother has been decapitated and her son has disappeared. The husband is charged for his wife’s murder and questioned over his little boy’s whereabouts but it is not until Colomba starts to investigate further and finds strange parallels with an abduction case twenty-five years previously. The victim in this case, Dante Torre is also psychologically scarred from the years he spent in captivity but as soon as he learns that The Father may once again be active and abducting children, he works tirelessly alongside Colomba, both using their individual specialist knowledge and personal experiences to bring the perpetrator to justice.

There are so many positive things to take away from this book and that’s why I’m wondering if it’s simply a case of wrong person reading it, not necessarily bad book. The characters are magnificent, especially our female lead who is just the right mixture of flawed and fragile but beautifully committed and hell-bent on getting the right result. However, I may have had to suspend my disbelief slightly too much on whether Dante as a civilian would be allowed that much access to a case such as this, especially as he was directly involved with the perp and considering how psychologically damaged he was from both his past traumatic experience and his daily struggles as he works on the case in the present time. I mean, would you really put someone through hell with the constant risk of coming face to face once more with a person who stole eleven years of your life? I mean, really?

If you can get over this however, the thrills don’t stop coming. This is an incredibly fast-paced book where the action doesn’t seem to let up, not even for a second and I have to admit at points I did find myself gripped, wanting to know what would happen next. Then there’s the other points where it all just seems a bit too crazy and chaotic, too much of a whirlwind of information and plot twists and endless questions to the point where it left me feeling quite exhausted just trying to keep up with it all. I have to say again with the suspension of disbelief, I couldn’t quite bring myself to believe the reasons behind why The Father was doing what he was doing. Don’t get me wrong, I love a bit of mystery and a juicy motive to get my teeth into but it has to be credible and I have to think: “Yes, that could happen.” Unfortunately, there was too much to try and understand and the validity of the story just didn’t ring true for me personally speaking. However, I can’t fault the brilliance of the characterisation and the general pacing of the novel which was excellent.

Would I recommend it?:

Maybe!

Star rating (out of 5):

3 Star Rating Clip Art