The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell by Robert Dugoni

The extraordinary life of sam hellWhen I occasionally daydream about writing a book, The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell is the type of book I dream about writing.  A book that creates incredibly memorable characters, that paints a picture of a life lived and a person I would like to get to know.

I probably will never get round to writing such a book but, thankfully, Robert Dugoni – better known to me for his Detective Tracy Crosswhite series – has so I don’t have to worry.

I apologies if I’m waxing a little lyrical here but I just really enjoyed this book.  There wasn’t a thing about it I didn’t (meaning you can probably guess the rating if you don’t have time to read the rest of my review).

The Burgas Affair by Ellis Shuman

The Burgas Affair In 2012 a suicide bomber got on a bus in Burgas, Bulgaria, killing not only themselves but five Israeli citizens and the Bulgarian bus driver.  A further 32 people were injured in the blast.

The attack was almost immediately linked to Hezbollah, with Israeli security services (Mossad and Shin Bet) arriving in Bulgaria and working with their Bulgarian counterparts to find those responsible.

This is the background to The Burgas Affair a fictionalised account of what might have happened if two officers, one male, one female, one Bulgarian, one Israeli are thrown together to track down the terrorists. 

Deadly Secrets by Robert Bryndza

Deadly Secret Robert BryndzaThere is something so nice about picking up a new book by a favourite author featuring a favourite character.  A sense of anticipation.  And also a sense of fear.  What, you wonder, if it’s no good?  Expectations are high, and it’s much easier to be let down as a result.

All of these apply to me and Deadly Secrets by Robert Bryndza.  His Erika Foster series is one of my favourites in recent years.  Each one has been interesting and exciting and has left me wanting more.  With every book, I wonder if he’ll manage to make me happy again.

I am very pleased to say (especially given my recent mixed reading experience) that I have not been disappointed at all with this, the sixth book in the series.  

Macbeth by Jo Nesbo

Macbeth Jo NesboIn a town rife with corruption, it’s hard to know who is good and who is bad.  Or, at least that is the case in Jo Nesbo’s Macbeth, which seems to sit permanently in the grey.

The city, somewhere in Scotland in the 1970’s is grey, overhung by smoke and smog. The settings seem to be mainly grey, with a lot of the action taking place at night or in the evening.  And the characters are grey, so many walking a fine line between what is right and wrong, it’s no wonder some of them start to fall.

In a way, it’s perfect Nesbo territory and why I love his books – there is a darkness there that draws you in and, even with characters that tend to chose the moral right versus the legal one, I can’t help but want them to succeed. 

Skin Deep by Liz Nugent

Skin Deep Liz NugentSkin Deep is one of those books with a killer opening, literally.  Cordelia wakes up hungover, wondering what to do with the dead body in her flat.  To try and give herself time to think, she heads out, looking for food, company and alcohol.  As her evening spirals, she starts to realise she has nowhere to turn, nowhere to go and she is out of options.

Where Liz Nugent goes from here is back to the beginning, to the small island off the coast of Ireland that Cordelia (not that she was Cordelia then) grew up on, to a family tragedy that changed her life, and then on through mistake after mistake and bad decision after bad decision till she ends up in a room on the French Riviera and a dead body.  

The Half Sister by Catherine Chanter

The Half-Sister by Catherine ChanterCatherine Chanter’s The Well was one of those books I picked up at the library based purely on the cover and ended up really enjoying. Years later, the story and the characters have stayed with me – something that isn’t easy given the number of books I read.

Seeing Chanter’s new book on Net Galley then, it was an obvious choice to request it. I have to say, I expected great things. Maybe my expectations were too high, maybe it’s my current reading mood, but unfortunately, The Half Sister hasn’t had the same impact on me.

The Good Liar by Catherine McKenzie

The Good LiarWhere to start with this review.  It’s been over a week since I finished The Good Liar and I am still thinking about it and still feeling in awe of Catherine McKenzie and her ability to take me outside of myself when I’m reading her books.

This is now the fifth book of hers I’ve read and the fifth one I’ve fallen in love with.  Why?  Her characters mainly.  They are so well written – so messily real – that I can’t help getting completely caught up in their lives.

Here, there is Cecily, a grieving widow the world has fallen in love with; Kate, a wife and a mother who is trying to outrun her past; and Franny, Kate’s given-up-for-adoption daughter, who has found her mother only to lose her again.

Trailblazing Women of the Georgian Era by Mike Rendell

cover131858-mediumWhen I read Queens of Georgian Britain by Catherine Curzon last year, it made me realise how little I knew about the era and how I wanted to know more.  This book was my attempt to do that – or at least start too!

Trailblazing Women is a great taster book, one that has introduced me to a whole raft of women I now want to know more about.  Broken up into sections for the arts, finance, science, and education which feature a chapter on three or four strong, capable, and fascinating women (in some cases), you don’t get a lot of information on any of them.  But you do get enough to whet your appetite to find out more.  

The Fear by C. L . Taylor

The Fear

When Lou’s father dies, and after a bad break-up with her boyfriend, she decides to up sticks, leaving London and returning to her childhood home, one she hasn’t been back to for 18 years.

Given what happened when she was last there, it’s possibly not the smartest idea, but she feels she needs to to confront her demons and start living her life again.

The what happened is she ran away with her teacher, a much older man.  Or at least that’s the cliff notes version.  As The Fear unfolds, so does Lou’s story, which is much more frightening than it first appears and explains a lot about why she is who she is.

Come and Find Me by Sarah Hilary

come and find meDI Marnie Rome is back and, for me, it couldn’t come a moment too soon as I was in need of a book in my favourite genre that left me feeling completely satisfied and a lot less grumpy that I been with recent reads.

I love Marnie because, whilst she’s go baggage, she’s also normal.  Her past bothers her, colours her present, but isn’t all consuming.  She still manages to have normal relationships with her partner and her team and she doesn’t go running off on her own every two seconds to prove something to herself.