Hastings District Libraries

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

July Reads from Book Chat

Treacherous Strand by Andrea Carter

Benedicte O’Keefe is a solicitor in the town of Glendara on the Inishowen Peninsula, Ireland. She feels terrible when a client, Marguerite Etienne, apparently drowns herself. Has Ben failed someone who needed her? The police evidently think it a sad case of a disturbed woman taking drastic action, but Ben cannot leave it at that. This is the second book by this author featuring her feisty, inquisitive, heroine. A great setting and an engaging storyline make this book well worth a look.

According to Yes by Dawn French
The Wilder-Bingham family live on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, that is, the land of the very wealthy, with its own rigid code of behaviour. When they need a nanny, in bounces Rosie Kitto, a 38-year-old primary school teacher from England who hasn’t read the rule book. For the Wilder-Bingham family, things are about to change. A very funny, cleverly written new novel from TV comedienne, Dawn French.

Wrongful Death by Lynda la Plante

DCI Anna Travis is asked to review the six-month-old case of the death of a nightclub owner. Was his apparent suicide in fact murder? When an FBI crime scene expert helps out on the case, the competence of the original investigating team is called into question. A complex plot that keeps you guessing, with plenty of threads. An engaging sleuth with personal issues gives the story extra depth. This is the ninth and latest title in the series.

Revenge in a Cold River by Anne Perry

It is 1869 and William Monk is Commander with London's River Police when a body is found near the dockside. It turns out to be that of a master forger who had just escaped from prison. The investigation will take Monk into the world of smuggling and forgery and he will also be forced to confront events from his own forgotten past when an enemy returns bent on revenge. Another masterly tale in this well-researched and atmospheric Victorian mystery series.

The Watcher by Charlotte Link

You might find this a bit creepy if you are reading it at night on your own! A woman on the eighth floor repeatedly hears the lift open and close, but nothing else. Days later she is found brutally murdered. And she’s not the only one. Unemployed Samson Segal has never had any luck with women and the police are soon suspicious while a disgraced ex-policeman thinks otherwise. Link weaves a tangled web of characters, each with their own hang-ups amid an atmosphere of paranoia to make this a gripping read.

Posted by Flaxmere Book Chat

Saturday, 23 July 2016

The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead

While most of my recommendations have been contemporary fiction, I will admit that fantasy (especially period fantasy) is my first love when it comes to reading. Vampire Academy author Richelle Meads' latest book is everything that I love about that particular genre.

The Glittering Court follows Adelaide, who may belong to the upper-class and spends her time at fabulous parties being waited on hand and foot, but she finds the uptight rules of her life, and of her expected marriage, to be too much to handle. Instead she runs away to the Glittering Court, and a chance to re-invent her life in the wild, newly conquered country of Adoria.

I will admit that this is very much a romance story, set in a world similar to the upper classes of England, with Adoria being their version of the newly colonized America. But it is a very enjoyable romance, with a strong female lead who knows her mind and what she wants, and refuses to let people stand in her way. She finds love, and makes close friends, and even meets a couple of pirates along the way. The only thing about the book that I didn’t like was that it is the first in a series, so now I have to wait who knows how long to find out what happens next.

Posted by Sas

Catalogue link: The Glittering Court

Thursday, 21 July 2016

The Caveman by Jorn Lier Horst

William Wisting is a Chief Inspector at Larvik police department in Norway during the discovery of two bodies which have lain unnoticed for months. It is December, so winter has well set in when a body is found at a Christmas tree farm. Clothes on this body indicate a foreigner, and a finger print found on a brochure in the victim’s jacket links it to American serial killer, Robert Godwin, who hasn’t been seen since the late 1980s.

The FBI soon appears on Wisting’s patch whether he likes it or not, and the question has to be asked: has Godwin been actively killing in Norway in the last twenty odd years? If so, is he a 'caveman', police jargon for a criminal who steals the identity of someone who lives below the radar?

The other body is found closer to home, Wisting’s home no less – a recluse, Viggo Hansen, who lived in Wisting’s street. Wisting’s daughter, Line, an investigative journalist, sees the pathos in his death and returns home to write about loneliness in an uncaring society. She begins to interview people who knew Hansen and of course, this throws up more questions than answers.

Ultimately, Line’s story will cross over into Wisting’s investigation, but only the reader knows this, creating some brilliant tension. The drama picks up with the killer trying to cover his tracks and no one knows until the very end just who he really is. Which is just as it should be.

Jorn Lier Horst is a former police detective, like William Wisting, so he knows how to give his story that ring of truth. As a police procedural, however, the reader isn’t bogged down with too much in the way of technicalities, Horst creating believable characters and a page-turning plot. The setting of Norway in winter makes you shiver along with the story of a serial killer closing in.

This is a terrific read and I for one will be hunting out more by this author - several have been translated into English so far. The Caveman is this year’s winner of the Petrona Award, which is given to Scandinavian crime fiction translated into English.

Posted by JAM

Catalogue link: The Caveman

More about Jorn Lier Horst

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

The Vanishing Futurist by Charlotte Hobson

Any story set around the Russian Revolution is of interest to me. The courage and hope of people caught up in these events was astounding. Add the term 'futurist' to it and you have me hooked.

The cover with its touch of realism and geometric shapes is also a big pointer to futurism. The main character is an English governess who elects to remain in Russia during and after the revolution, staying on in a commune set up in the house of her ex-employer. Unfortunately she becomes romantically involved with Slavkin, the vanishing futurist of the title. Slavkin is an avant-garde revolutionary whose ideas soon pull them apart. Slavkin’s ideas find some notoriety with the party, but what happens next?

This is a personal story of struggle with life, and living in a country after a war and a revolution. Historically interesting and filled with lots of detail. A good read.

Posted by The Library Cat

Catalogue link: The Vanishing Futurist

Sunday, 17 July 2016

This Side of Home by Renee Watson

This Side of Home is about twins Maya and Nikki whose suburb in Portland has gone from rough and tumble to up and coming, and their differing views on the situation. Raised in their predominantly black, lower class neighbourhood, they watch as gentrification means that their best friend can no longer afford to live in the house she grew up in, and the houses and businesses of other low-income families are turned in to shopping malls and coffee shops.

Nikki, who was often teased for acting like too much of a white girl, is pleased that she can now go shopping nearby and walk the streets at night without worrying for her safety, while Maya feels like her home is slipping away as she watches people she grew up with get displaced. Can the neighbourhood and the High School still celebrate the black population and history of the area? Or will it all be whitewashed in an attempt to raise the profile of the neighbourhood?

Maya seems to be constantly struggling to have people understand her point of view, which is that in order to overcome the negative culture of the neighbourhood and the school you don’t have to wipe out all of what she feels is ‘black culture’. Can she make herself be heard? And will she still achieve everything she wants to when she is being told that who she is is wrong?

A thought-provoking read which will make you take a new look at the neighbourhood you live in.

Posted by JAM

Catalogue link: This Side of Home

Friday, 15 July 2016

The Third Wife by Lisa Jewell

This novel was recommended to me, which is just as well as I had always thought Lisa Jewell was a bit too ‘chick lit’ for me. I was wrong. The Third Wife is a thoughtful look at a family, Adrian’s family, who are a strangely cobbled together mix across three marriages, who still manage to all be friends and enjoy holidaying together. Or so they say.

Adrian is a successful architect, with that slightly scruffy longish hair that is so appealing, and makes women just want to look after him. His first marriage was to Susie, and produced his son, Luke, and daughter, Cat, now grown up. Adrian left Susie when he fell in love with Caroline who is coolly beautiful, and produced three more children, Otis, Pearl and Beau, before falling for much younger, Maya, a temp at work.

The book begins with Maya’s tragic death, supposedly an accident, leaving Adrian grief stricken and alone with Maya’s cat. Secrets and strange occurrences are deftly woven into the story of Maya’s last days and the family’s regrouping. When Luke comes to stay with his father and finds some worrying emails on the couple’s laptop there are sinister implications. A woman who leaves her cell-phone in Adrian’s flat when she offers to rehome the cat creates more mystery.

As secrets are slowly revealed, it seems not everyone is as they appear to be, which makes Jewell’s characters dynamic and interesting. The English settings of London during the summer of hosting the Olympic Games, country holidays, the lovingly decorated homes of Susie and Caroline make the book vivid and appealing. Meanwhile the tension of reined in emotions bubbling under the surface, and the slow unravelling of what really happened keep you hooked to the end. A top read which should appeal to fans of Joanna Trollope and David Nicholls.

Posted by JAM

Catalogue link: The Third Wife

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Young@Heart Bookclub reviews

Storyteller: The life of Roald Dahl by Donald Sturrock

Roald Dahl was one of the greatest storytellers of all time. He pushed children's literature into uncharted territory, and almost twenty years after his death his popularity continues to grow. The man behind the mesmerising stories, however, has remained an enigma and his public persona was often controversial.

An intimate portrait of an intensely private man.

In a world prone to violent flooding, Britain, ravaged 20 years earlier by a deadly virus, has been largely cut off from the rest of the world. Survivors are few and far between, most of them infertile.

"Couldn't put it down"

The Vanished by Lotte and Soren Hammer

Lying at the bottom of his apartment stairs, a postman is found dead. 

At first glance, his death appears to be a tragic accident. However, when Detective Superintendent Konrad Simonsen is called to investigate, he notices that something doesn't add up. Did he fall?

At 2 a.m. on the morning of her 40th birthday, Sophie wakes to find an intruder in her bedroom. The intruder hands Sophie a letter and issues a threat: open the letter at her party that evening, in front of family and friends, at exactly 8 p.m., or those she loves will be in grave danger.

“Keeps you interested to the last page”.

Whipping Boy: the forty-year search for my twelve-year-old bully by Allen Kurzweil

Equal parts investigative memoir, crime procedural, and revenge thriller, Whipping Boy chronicles the author’s real-life search for the childhood nemesis who has haunted his life for over forty years