Zoe Walker is an “everyone”, as in the same as everyone else. She gets up, goes to a job that isn’t particularly fulfilling but pays the bills, takes care of her kids (now teens / young adults) and tries to find time to cook tea after long days commuting back and forth on the tube to work.
It’s whilst she’s commuting that she picks up a copy of the Gazette and, flicking to the classifieds, sees a photo of herself with nothing more than a phone number and a web address. To say it unnerves her is an understatement.
When I finished the previous book in the DI Helen Grace series, Little Boy Blue, I was left so blown away that the only word I could use to describe it was “wow!”. I really wasn’t sure if it could be topped because the ending was so unforeseen and so big a twist for this genre.
I’m not sure Little Boy Blue has been topped by Hide and Seek but M. J. Arlidge does a good job trying with what is still an amazing book. You’ll have to excuse all the hyperbole but this really is a brilliant book in a brilliant series, one I can’t wait to catch up.
For those reading the series and who haven’t gotten to the end of Little Boy Blue yet, there are spoilers here for the series so you might not want to read on. They can’t be helped though if I am going to try at all to describe the story. So apologies in advance.
The full title for Healthyish is “A Cookbook with Seriously Satisfying, Truly Simple, Good-For-You (but not too Good-For-You) Recipes for Real Life”. It’s a mouthful but it does sum up quite nicely what this recipe book is about. It’s full of food that looks delicious, tastes delicious (from the recipes I’ve tried) and sounds delicious (from those that I haven’t).
The idea behind Healthyish is that you can eat a good, healthy, balanced diet without living on lettuce leaves and by making some simple changes. So you swap whole grains for refined, add ingredients like olives for natural flavour, and swap processed foods for homemade alternatives (think salad dressing).
Fast-talking, foul-mouthed, Jimmy runs a record shop in Belfast, selling weed on the side to help bring in the cash. He’s the type of character that could be hard and dark but, written by Simon Maltman, he comes across as someone I think I might actually want to meet.
I don’t know as much about him as I should as I haven’t read the first book in this series of novellas (book two is only 47 pages long), but what I do know, I like because he’s sharp and funny, even when the police are breathing down his neck as they are in Bongo Fury 2.
DI Nikki Galena is back and I couldn’t be happier as she is one of my favourite female detectives and the “on the Fens” series, one of my favourites too.
There are some many things to love, including that they all start with a bang, something to make you want to keep reading on. Here, it’s a call to Nikki from a mysterious man speaking in thieves’ cant, an old fashioned secret code (think cockney rhyming slang). People, he says are going to die – and he is going to be the one doing the killing.
It all seems linked to a series of burglaries that the team are already working on, though it’s not clear how or what this mysterious man’ (who they nickname Mad Tom) ultimate aim is, other than teach Nikki a lesson.
I had one word to say after finishing Little Boy Blue – “Wow!” I’m a huge fan of the series staring Detective Helen Grace anyway but this, for me, has been the best book yet.
Why? It started off with the murder of a recurring character in a pretty horrific way (not graphic in the blood and guts way but just in a way which must have been terrifying).
He’s someone Helen knows, though the rest of the team aren’t aware, and she does her best to keep it secret. With a dogged reporter on her case, it’s not that easy though, and it sets her on edge – effecting her relationship with her team (a relationship that tends to be tense anyway as Helen is not the easiest person to work with).
The Goodreads summary for The Relive Box by T. C. Boyle starts by describing it as a collection of “raucous” short stories. To me, raucous means rowdy, which didn’t quite fit. So, out came the dictionary, which says that – in fact – raucous means “making or constituting a disturbingly harsh and loud noise”, and this makes a lot more sense because one of the words I had written down after finishing the book and was preparing for my review was disturbing.
I also wrote down dark, cold and depressing; there is little in these stories that could be described as hopeful – maybe the end of Are We Not Men?, which left me feeling somewhat optimistic . The rest, if I’m honest, left me feeling depressed. The world they present, which is probably our not to distant future if we don’t play our cards right, isn’t one I want to live in.