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Currently Reading

I am a voracious reader but I haven’t done a great deal of book reviewing of late. Back when I did my Masters, we had to critique each other’s work on a regular basis, so it’s a discipline I am comfortable with. But it’s only since my own books have been published and put out for review, that I have fully appreciated what it’s like to be on both sides of the author / reviewer net. Reviews are a double-edged sword. We need them, because we want endorsement, and like to know what other people like. But when they’re bad reviews, we hate them. They cut to the quick. They make you question what you’re doing. And the self-doubt creeps in. There’s nothing that’s going to impede creativity more than self-doubt. On the other hand, it’s great to learn what readers like and don’t like. But books, like anything else, are subjective. And we have to hang onto that.

Currently reading: The Shadow Writer by Eliza Maxwell


MY REVIEWS OF RECENTLY READ BOOKS


Last of the Magpies – by Mark Edwards

Mark Edwards is acclaimed as one of the best writers of psychological thrillers, and it’s easy to see why. This novella takes the reader on a roller coaster ride for the conclusion of this series. I have to admit that I haven’t read the earlier books, but even so, I was gripped. Lucy Newton, a psychopath murderer, is missing despite being identified as such in previous books. Jamie Knight survived an early attack and now he’s on a mission to find her, once and for all.

I’ll be going back to read the earlier books!


Deadly Secrets: A gripping crime thriller – by OMJ Ryan

Marty Michaels is a radio host who wakes up in a hotel room to find a dead woman in the bathroom. I read this novel in less than two days. It’s a well-written, gripping read that takes you on a journey through Manchester and Cheshire, in a quest to find out who has set up Marty and to uncover the truth before he ends up convicted of a crime he hasn’t committed. Yes, Marty is a prat, but he does transform and learn from his mistakes, so he endears himself to the reader as the story progresses. I’m looking forward to Owen’s next book!


Never Speak: A Mystery Thriller (The Murderous Arts Series) – by John Manchester

This book is both a thriller and a work of literary fiction. John Manchester certainly knows how to write! Although it’s easy to race through the book, due to the fast pace, snappy dialogue and unusual settings, because it is so well written, it is almost a shame to do so. It’s rare to read a book that has such a unique voice and evocative descriptions. I wouldn’t normally choose to read a book about a cult, but I really enjoyed this (and learned loads!) and I look forward to future novels by this author.



My Lovely Wife – by Samantha Downing

This is an extraordinary book. It is fast-paced, and makes your typical domestic noire seem utterly tame. I raced through it, immersed in the dark, macabre horror that binds together this otherwise ordinary, suburban family.

Did I like the characters? Absolutely not! I enjoyed that it was narrated from the husband’s perspective, which lends another layer of freshness to this compelling thriller. Do I think it’s believable? I sincerely hope not! But for me, that’s the point of fiction. It is fiction. So long as the story hangs together, immersing you into another world, then it’s job done. And wow! Samantha Downing has certainly written one heck of a novel that will stay in the reader’s mind.


On My Life – by Angela Clarke

This is another great read about a woman accused of the murder of her fiancĂ©e’s stepdaughter. Most of the book is set in a women’s prison and it certainly educated me on the hierarchical, regimented life on the inside. There were many twists and moments that made me gasp. I didn’t love the main characters, but it didn’t matter, because this is a clever story that swept me into a world that I hope I’ll never experience for real!