When Imogen and Dan decide to move back to her childhood home after the death of her mother, it is with the idea of starting a new life after a difficult year, one where Imogen found herself unemployed and suffering from a breakdown.
Unable to find work in London and maintain their lifestyle, a chance to move to a home already paid for seems like a good idea, as does taking a job at a local child protection agency (Imogen is a child psychologist). If only Imogen could stop feeling full of dread.
I’m not normally one for Christmas stories I have to admit but a short story by P. J. Tracy (who writes the Monkeewrench series, which I love) was too good to pass by.
Unlike her other books, this one isn’t set in Minnesota but in Las Vegas, where Emil – a not very good thief – is given the choice of returning to jail for two years after breaking the conditions of his probation, or, work for a year on a community programme.
He chooses the latter, only to find himself in what seems worse than prison – a psychiatric hospital, where he finds himself mopping the floors and helping the patients; he starts to look for a way to escape almost as soon as he arrives.
Tonight You’re Dead is the fourth in the Sandhamn series of books – a place I love the sound of (multiple murders aside). It sounds beautiful, set of the coast of Sweden and home to a mix of fascinating character – not least of which (and central to all the books) is Nora, a single mom to two boys and best friend of Thomas, a local detective (and another central character in the book).
The last three books have been set on the island itself. This one isn’t. It is set on the mainland and, also unlike other books, has a lot less interaction between Nora and Thomas. Previously, they have spoken and met often and Nora has been involved in all Thomas’ investigations. Here, they have little interaction and Thomas works closely instead with another detective, Margit.
The Birthday Girl is one of those books that is hard to review because, once you get past the initial idea, there are too many secrets and too many twists and turns – making the risk of spoilers just too great.
So, what can I tell you about it? It starts with an invite, three friends (Carys, Zoe, and Andrea) being invited by a fourth (Joanne) to go away from the weekend to celebrate Joanne’s 40th birthday; as it’s Carys’ too, they can celebrate that as well.
What could sound better? Well, for Carys, pretty much anything as she and Joanne aren’t on the best of terms – though it isn’t clear why at first – and neither, it turns out are Joanne and Andrea. In fact, Zoe, is the only one who seems to be getting along with everyone and excited for the weekend.
Stepping into the pages of The Vanishing Box is like stepping back in time. Perhaps this doesn’t sound that surprising, given the book is set in Brighton in 1953 but I have read plenty of books set in other eras that don’t feel as close to what I imagine life was really like at the time as this. The language, the behaviours, the people and the atmosphere – everything felt just right and I was completely drawn into the world they created.
This world involves a dogged Detective Inspector (Edgar) and his officers (Bob and Emma, a woman determined to make her way in a man’s world and – for the most part – succeeding) as well as Edgar’s best friend, magician Max Mephisto and his daughter (Edgar’s fiancé) Ruby. They all know each other well, having worked together on other cases and the interaction between them helped make the book for me. Given this is their fourth case, it’s probably worth saying here that this could be read as a standalone.
Once again I’m linking up again with Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea who hosts a post every Tuesday for people to share the first chapter / paragraph of the book they are reading, or thinking of reading soon.
I’m also joining in with Teaser Tuesday, hosted by The Purple Booker, where you share teasers from your current read. I read a lot of these posts over the course of an average Tuesday so thought it would be fun to join in here too.
As you’ll know if you spend any time on my blog, I have a thing for covers and am often guilty of picking books for what they look like before I even know what they are about. There is a bit of that here, with my latest pick, but more than that it was the title. I just couldn’t resist as soon as I saw it on the library shelf….
In a time when superstition ruled the way people behaved, a brown-skinned, black-eyed, girl falls in love with the beautiful son of the local laird.
She is not the type of girl people fall in love with, not the type the local folk trust. She is not like them, she is a traveller. She moves on the wind, with the animals, lives with nature. She is completely free, or at least she is until she falls in love.
Then she becomes bound, changing her name, her ways, her future. She trusts in the love she feels and, already in love with her myself, I prayed that that love wouldn’t be betrayed.
The course of true love never runs smooth though and this story is no exception. The question is whether there will be a happy ending or if it will all end in tears?