For Christmas my husband gave me The Lily Bard Mysteries Omnibus (along with a whole stack of other books). This bumper bind-up includes five books by Charlaine Harris. For those of you who don’t know, Charlaine wrote the Sookie Stackhouse series of thirteen books which the TV series True Blood was based on. She’s also written a few more series.
The five Lily Bard books in this 935 page brick of a book include:
These five stories revolve around Lily Bard, who is a plain speaking, tough woman in her thirties who runs a cleaning business. She lives in a sleepy little town named Shakespeare which is located in Arkansas. Lily always seems to get involved in the murders and mysteries that crop up in this small town. She is also the survivor of a brutal attack that left her scarred and in the news a few years ago and she came to Shakespeare for a fresh start. Continue reading →
The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle* by Stuart Turton is a book which defies classification. It’s uniqueness will have you puzzling out an unpredictable mystery and at the mercy of an unconventional plot. It’s a hybrid of a book which mixes a classic whodunnit with Groundhog Day, Downton Abbey and The Good Place.
This complicated mystery is set in a once great, but now moldering, manor named Blackheath House. Every night Evelyn Hardcastle is murdered at a party thrown by her parents. This happens every night at the same time. Each day Aiden Bishop, inhabiting the body of a different guest (host), has to try to figure out who the murderer is. He will finally be allowed to escape this ongoing time loop and leave Blackheath once he identifies the murderer. But he is not the only one tasked with solving the murder and other people are bent on stopping him by any means necessary. Continue reading →
The Lost Man is Jane Harper’s third novel and it’s her best book yet. I read this in 24 hours because I was hooked on trying to solve the mystery. I thought that The Dry was good, Force of Nature was even better, but The Lost Man is now my favourite.
This books tells the story of three brothers living on adjacent vast cattle properties in the middle of outback Queensland. It’s a place so remote that it takes three hours to drive to the nearest town and groceries are delivered every six weeks by a refrigerated truck. People drive around in cars packed with water, food, spare tires, fuel and radios because if you breakdown out here then help is a long way away and wandering anywhere in the harsh sun can lead to death in hours. One policeman looks after a territory the size of the state of Victoria. It’s an extreme environment full of heat and dust. Continue reading →
Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James is a continuation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, but with a difference–it’s all about a murder. The action takes place six years after Elizabeth and Mr Darcy’s marriage. They are now the parents of two boys and set to host an annual ball. Jane and Mr Bingley arrive at Pemberley and join Colonel Fitzwilliam and Darcy’s sister, Georgiana. On the eve of the ball the peace at Pemberley is disturbed when a hysterical Lydia Wickham arrives unannounced, screaming that her husband George Wickham is dead.
Something sinister has happened in the woods near Pemberley which will drag Wickham back into Darcy and Elizabeth’s lives.
The Ruin by Dervla McTiernan is a debut novel set in Galway, Ireland. I was sent a copy of this book for review by HarperCollins Australia and it sat in my to be read pile for a while. When I finally picked it up, I was instantly hooked by the writing and expert plotting. The Ruin very much reads like it should be book ten from a well-established author instead of a debut. I read mostly crime thrillers rather than police procedural novels, but I’ve read enough of this genre to know that this is a high quality example.
The Ruin has been compared to the bestselling The Dry (probably because Dervla and Jane Harper both live in Australia) but I think it’s very different from The Dry.
The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen is clever and very twisty. Coming off the back of reading The Woman in the Windowby A.J Finn, another psychological suspense thriller with an unreliable narrator, I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy this as much. But I did.
It’s hard to go into too much detail about this book as I don’t want to give anything away so I will quote the book’s blurb:
When you read this book, you will make many assumptions. It’s about a jealous wife, obsessed with her replacement. It’s about a younger woman set to marry the man she loves.
The first wife seems like a disaster; her replacement is the perfect woman.
You will assume you know the motives, the history, the anatomy of the relationships.
The Woman in the Windowby A.J. Finn is a compelling page turner which I pretty much inhaled in one day, thanks to the short, punchy chapters. I just kept reading ‘one more chapter’ and before I knew it I had finished the book. It’s another book with an unreliable narrator — these books are so popular these days — and was like a cross between Girl on the Train and Hitchcock’s Rear Window. I also thought there was a smattering of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine in there in terms of the main character struggling with depression and trauma alongside other things.
Without giving too much away, The Woman in the Window is narrated by Dr Anna Fox, a former children’s psychologist who suffered some trauma months ago and now has developed agoraphobia. She hasn’t been able to leave her New York house in ten months and exists on lots of prescription medication chased down with copious glasses of wine. Hence the whole unreliable narrator angle.
Watching her neighbours from her window is something of a past time. That and watching old black and white movies like Rear Window, Strangers on the Train and Vertigo. Continue reading →
Force of Nature is the just released second novel from Jane Harper, author of the hugely popular bestseller The Dry. The two books are linked by the same main character, Federal Police Agent Aaron Falk, but this book takes place six months later and in a completely new setting.
I previously wrote a review about The Dry which I enjoyed but thought was a bit over hyped. I came to reading Force of Nature without big expectations as sometimes second books from an author suffer the dreaded second book syndrome (i.e. are a bit disappointing). Well, I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by Force of Nature. It had an interesting premise that kept me intrigued and guessing all the way to the end. In some ways I liked it even better than The Dry.
Force of Nature is set in the rugged bushland of the fictional Giralang Ranges east of Melbourne. A group of five women go on a team building hike through the bush. But on the last day of the hike, only four women walk out. One of their group, Alice Russell, is missing. Continue reading →