Run To Me

Title: Run to Mecover22416-medium
Author: Diane Hester
ISBN: 9781742756424
Source: Advance copy from publisher via NetGalley
Release Date: March 1, 2013
Rating: 4 out of 5

Synopsis:

It’’s been two years since Shyler O’Neil’’s beloved son Jesse was killed –but his final moments are as vivid to her now as they were that dreadful day. Suffering from post-traumatic stress and convinced she did not do enough to protect him, she retreats to an isolated cabin in the woods of northern Maine. Meanwhile, Zack Ballinger –a ten-year-old boy who has never known a mother’’s love – finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time. He’’s seen too much and is now running for his life. Fleeing into the woods, Zack soon finds himself at Shyler’’s cabin. He’’ll take whatever help she can give –even though, for some reason, she keeps calling him Jesse . . . With the pursuers hot on their heels, ‘mother’ and ‘son’ go on the run. Protecting Zack may well be Shyler’’s one chance at redemption. Either that, or she is the child’’s greatest threat . . .

My Review:

This is a very well written novel. There is no mystery here but it is suspenseful. The characters are brilliant, especially Shyler. Shyler has been through a lot, the death of her son has scarred her and she has withdrawn from people and reality. Shyler’s character is very well nuanced and Hester does a superb job articulating Shyler’s thoughts and what all goes on in her mind.

Zack is another damaged character due the circumstances he has faced in his short life. Zack has grown up in foster homes and is mature beyond his age, yet there is a small child within him who yearns for a home and mother’s love. So he holds on to Shyler even after knowing that she is a bit unhinged and damaged.

The novel is written from the perspectives of Shyler, Zack and Dr. Chase Hadley. I couldn’t help but smile at that name! While Zack and Shyler are dealing with their own hells, Dr. Hadley is stuck in between them and offers to help. I loved the dialogues between Dr. Hadley and his father. There are parellel stories going on in this novel and yet it all comes together in a suspenseful climax. Do read this one! Highly recommended.

The Thirteenth Tale – Book Review

Author: Diane Setterfield

The Angelfield family is weird. First there were siblings Charlie and Isabelle and then Isabelle’s strange twins Emmeline and Adeline. The twins love violence. Pain is like candy for them. And they speak in a language no one else can understand. Their ignored, run down house is told to be haunted and no one likes approaching it. People die, things are vandalized and no one knows who does them. One of the twins? Or the ghost? Eventually, the mansion is burnt down to ashes and takes with it its secrets and the real story.

Fast forward to another part of the world at another time, Margaret Lea is a quiet book lover who helps her father run a book store. She receives a sudden letter from mysterious author Ms. Vida Winter to write her biography. Ms. Winter has hidden her past from the world and many journalists have failed to get her story. But one man in brown suit tempts Ms. Winter to tell the world her story with his statement – Tell me the truth.

Margaret travels to Ms. Winter’s secluded, secretive house and finally gets to meet the author face to face. The spine tingling story telling sessions happen in the grand library while Margaret spends rest of her time locked in her room. She is advised not to venture out in the rest of the house. But she does. When she hears humming from the maze of the garden. When she hears scraping sounds in the rain.

What is Ms. Winter’s story? How is she related to the Angelfield house? Who was the man in the brown suit? What happened to the twins? Is Ms. Winter’s story really the truth or is it another misleading yarn? How does Margaret come to terms with her own pain?

Diane Setterfield has woven a mildly gothic tale. The book is written in a very poetic manner, sometimes overly dramatic. All characters have an element of mystery, vagueness and anonymity. Even normal things seem peculiar.

This book is not just about thrill, it is also about love of books. Most of the narration happens in the book store or library. Margaret lovingly describes the book store that seems to be every book lover’s delight. Several analogies have been made for books, stories, authors and dead people who become biographies and stay alive. Every time there is a threat to books, the protagonist burns with regret and frustration. Those who love books and treat them like their most prized possessions will relate to this.

While I was reading the book, I visualized pale, white, cold faces of characters who stared at everyone with blank eyes. The mansion was grey and always wet. There was always a dark, depressing humming music in the background. This was the movie in my mind. For a person like me who cannot withstand horror, this much degree of suspense was just right.

The story picks up in the second half. Many may find the climax a bit let down but I was just relieved when the suspense was out!

Definitely a onetime read. I would rate it a 3 on 5.

Book Review: The Hog Murders

Title: The Hog Murders
Author: William L. DeAndrea
ASIN: B00AEGIGEC
Source: Advance copy from publisher via NetGalley
Release Date: December 18, 2012
Rating: 3 out of 5cover23532-medium

Synopsis: World-renowned criminologist Professor Nicolo Benedetti is called to the small, unassuming town of Sparta, New York, to solve a series of brutal murders. The only lead is a succession of notes delivered to the local newspaper, taunting the police, and enigmatically signed “HOG.” Originally published in 1979, The HOG Murders received an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America.

My Review:

The Hog Murders, the first in the Niccolo Benedetti series, was first published in 1979 and won an Edgar. It featres the brilliant and eccentric Italian professor, Benedetti and his protegee Ron who is a private detective. Thanks to Mysterious Press for publishing digital copies of many of the old books, I could get my hands on this one through Netgalley.

Professor Benedetti is called into the small town of Sparta, New York to solve a series of brutal murders that take place in a span of three weeks. The only clues are the notes that taunt the police and are delivered to a local newspaper reporter and signed ‘HOG’.

This is a classic whodunit filled with twists and turns and interesting plot. The mystery is satisffying enough but I expected to be blown away by it but ended up with an ‘Oh’. I liked the characters of the detectives, though they are completely different from Poirot and Marple, they are charming in their own way and I woud definitely like to read more of their adventures.

Before I Go To Sleep

Title: Before I Go To Sleep
Author: S J Watson
ISBN: 0062065238
Source: Library Copy
Rating: 3 out of 5

Synopsis: Christine wakes up every morning with a blank mind. The bed is unfamiliar and the man sleeping next to her is a stranger. When she looks into the mirror she finds herself a lot older than what she remembers. The man tells her that he is her husband Ben and they have been married for many years. He tells her about an accident two decades ago that is the cause of her amnesia. With the help of a doctor, Christine maintains a journal about her daily activities as an attempt to piece her life together. The first line in her journal reads ‘Don’t trust Ben..’

My Review:

Another interesting book with an interesting concept. The start of this book is captivating. I haven’t read very many books on amnesia so this was interesting. Christine, our narrator and protagonist suffers from various types of amnesia and every day when she wakes up she has to start her life from scratch. From her unreliable memory she has build the missing pieces of her life together and live each day as it comes.

I couldn’t help but think of 50 First Dates with a sinister twist. The mystery is very puzzling indeed at the start and I was quite drawn in. Somewhere even before the middle, I could make out what the twist or mystery would be and so the ending was a let down. I thought the climax should have been more detailed and well put out but it was handled as an afterthought or sorts.

Having said that, it still made me turn the page and keep reading on. I was sucked into it at the start but then the plot just frizzled out and I knew the ending even before I was halfway through the book. Still, a new concept for me and interesting plot at least at the beginning. So give it a read if you like mystery with a psychological thrill put into it.

Afterwards

Title: Afterwards
Author: Rosamund Lupton
ISBN13: 9780307716545
Source: Library Copy
Rating: 3 out of 5

Synopsis: When Grace sees the private school engulfed in smoke, where her daughter works, she runs inside to save her daughter, Jenny. Later, she wakes up in a hospital and finds herself staring down at her body. Both she and Jenny are in coma but their spirits freely roam the inside the hospital. The spirits of mother and daughter follow the people they know to find out the person who started the fire to hurt them.

My Review:

I had thoroughly enjoyed Sister and was excited to read Lupton’s second novel, Afterwards. This is a twisted kind of thriller that keeps you interested from the first page. You know from the start that the fire wasn’t an accident and you try to keep guessing who could have possibly done it and what was the motive. What I found most interesting was the concept of this novel – two trapped spirits trying to deduce the mystery behind the fire and possibly an attempted murder.

The hospital building, its halls and gardens offer solace to these spirits and although they can leave the hospital it is very difficult for them to be outside. Grace who narrates all the incidences following the fire gains a whole new perspective about the people in her life when she follows them around the hospital.

After a point though the book became a bit predictable and while it was still interesting, you could make out what the end was going to be. Despite this, I enjoyed Lupton’s writing. The lyrical and mesmerizing ways in which she depicts emotions, situations and people is very captivating. If not for the mystery, then for the narration and plot premise I would suggest read this book.

Murder in Devon

…by Maggi Andersen.

Casey Rowan is an expat American and a magazine reporter living in England. She wakes up one morning to find one of her best friends, Don Broughton murdered and her other best friend, Tessa Broughton severely injured. And Casey didn’t hear a thing despite being in the same house that night. While Casey is determined to bring justice to Don, she is still considered a suspect. Not only does she have to deal with the lead detective on the case, Rod Carlisle, she may also be developing feelings for him. At the same time, the closer she gets to the truth, the more in danger she is. Set in the English backdrop, with connections to art and history, this mystery takes you on a ride.

Who killed Don Broughton?
Was he going to incriminate someone in his autobiography — the manuscript of which has gone missing on his death?
Is Casey going to get hurt in her quest for the truth?
And what else is she going to learn about herself? 

To know all this and more, you have to read the book.

This is my first book by the author and while a mystery-romance genre is not one I usually read, the mystery was good enough to keep me interested. It kept me guessing and while I had suspects, the motives were next to nothing. Personally, I could do without the romance aspect of things. I liked Casey’s character but wasn’t too fond of Rod’s character. Plus there was something about the romance that seemed a bit unbelieveable. The one other small thing I had a gripe with was possibly the location of the book. Given that the author is Australian, I expected the setting to be Australia but instead had to deal with an English setting. Again, it’s probably just a personal thing and not one that spoilt the story in any way. I thought the mystery was well thought of and quite intricate with historical aspects in it.

All in all, it’s a decent read if you like the romantic-mystery with a bit of history genre.

My rating: 3.

***This was initially reviewed on Over Cups of Coffee as part of a virtual author book tour based on a copy of the book provided by the author. Click on the link to read other reviews and giveaways by other bloggers.

Faceless Killers

Title: Faceless Killers
Author: Henning Mankell
ISBN13: 9781400031573
Source: Library Copy
Rating: 1 out of 5

Cover of

Synopsis from Goodreads: It was a senselessly violent crime: on a cold night in a remote Swedish farmhouse an elderly farmer is bludgeoned to death, and his wife is left to die with a noose around her neck. And as if this didn’t present enough problems for the Ystad police Inspector Kurt Wallander, the dying woman’s last word is foreign, leaving the police the one tangible clue they have–and in the process, the match that could inflame Sweden’s already smoldering anti-immigrant sentiments.

Unlike the situation with his ex-wife, his estranged daughter, or the beautiful but married young prosecutor who has piqued his interest, in this case, Wallander finds a problem he can handle. He quickly becomes obsessed with solving the crime before the already tense situation explodes, but soon comes to realize that it will require all his reserves of energy and dedication to solve.

My Review:

I already wrote about how uninteresting  I found this book to be. Now that I have finished reading it, I feel it was a total waste of time.

Maybe it was the translation? I don’t know. It lacked suspense and urgency, the characters were dull and the plot was boring and poorly written. I don’t know why it was put in the thriller genre. It is neither psychological nor political.

When I read a mystery book, I expect the murderer to be a complex character with enough motive to execute a cold-blooded murder. The murderer’s character should at least be discussed, outlined, debated and focused on to solve the crime. It was surprisingly missing in this book.

The police officers were predictable. Kurt Wallander himself is a bit of a complex character but is not developed enough. I think with more description and emotion the book could have been better. I mean why is he so popular? His colleagues detective Rydberg and Boman were more interesting comparatively. They were at least doing things and were on the right track.

I also expected to read about Ystad’s landscape, scenery, surrounding, which makes the setting of this novel. Unfortunately, there is none, except the repetitive “the wind was blowing”.

Do the next books in the series get better? I don’t know. I might give Wallander another chance but not anytime soon.

I had no motivation to go on reading this book but I thought it might grown on me and there would eventually be something startling or maybe there was something I am missing but really the book was quite forgettable.