The Death of Mrs Westaway by Ruth Ware

 

The Death of Mrs Westaway Ruth Ware

When Harriet, or Hal as she’s known, receives a letter from a solicitor to let her know that her grandmother has died and left her an inheritance she doesn’t know what to think – mainly because her mother’s parents, the only grandparents she knew, died years before, leaving her and her mother with nothing.

On any other day, Hal would have called the solicitor and told him he was mistaken.  But this isn’t any other day.  It’s the day the loan shark she borrowed money from to pay the bills breaks into her flat and threatens her.  It’s the day she feels broken and beaten down by life. So, it becomes the day she decides to pretend to be someone else.  

This is What Happened by Mick Herron

 

This is what happened mick herron

When twenty-something Maggie Barnes moved to London, it was for a fresh start, to get away from a bad relationship and make something of herself – just like her oh-so-perfect sister.

Unfortunately, things didn’t go quite as she planned.  Instead, she found herself in a small, grotty, flat with a minimum-wage job and no friends (bar seven twitter followers she doesn’t even know).

It’s no wonder then, that she jumps at the chance of doing something just a bit different – working with the security services to spy on her employer.  She has, they say, the perfect cover – no one will look at her twice.

If it all sounds a bit far-fetched, it just might be.  It’s hard for me to say more, however, without spoilers – making it a hard review to write too.  What I can say is what’s in the blurb – after what is described as a life-or-death mission, Maggie goes missing…and no one seems to notice.

The problem with the blurb is it doesn’t really describe the book, and I have a feeling from some of the reviews on Goodreads, that people haven’t – therefore – gotten what they expected, especially his fans.  Which is a shame.  Because this is a highly enjoyable novel.  You don’t have to waste much brain power on it, I will admit, but that’s not always the type of book I want to read.

I’ve never read any books by Herron before and I think he has a good writing style and, in This is What Happened, he’s created three interesting and somewhat baffling characters, all of whom are just a little bit lost – which explains how what seems like a simple situation at the beginning, can get so messy so quickly. Apparently it’s based on a true situation and is an apology of sorts to the real Maggie.  I hope she has forgiven him.

Emma x

About the book…

Twenty-six-year-old Maggie Barnes is someone you would never look at twice. Living alone in a month-to-month sublet in the huge city of London, with no family but an estranged sister, no boyfriend or partner, and not much in the way of friends, Maggie is just the kind of person who could vanish from the face of the earth without anyone taking notice

Or just the kind of person MI5 needs to infiltrate the establishment and thwart an international plot that puts all of Britain at risk

Now one young woman has the chance to be a hero—if she can think quickly enough to stay alive.

Publisher: John Murray Press
Publication Date: 7th June, 2018
Genre: Crime fiction, suspense, thriller
Number of pages: 256
Rating: 4 out of 5

Find on: Goodreads / Amazon UK / Amazon US

Note: I received a copy of this book in return for a fair and honest review.  All thoughts, feelings and opinions are my own.

 BIRCHBOX UK

Willnot by James Sallis

WillnotAfter my last unsuccessful experience with James Sallis (The Killer is Dying), I was slightly nervous picking up Willnot, especially as it was my choice for my first ever buddy read with Sarah over at Brainfluff. Thankfully, it looks like The Killer is Dying was a bit of a blip and, here, I got all the Sallis I could have hoped for – yay!

In his typical style, Sallis using words sparingly to paint a picture I found incredibly vivid.  I could picture the small town of Willnot and the people that lived there and I fell a little bit in love with the central character, Hale, a doctor come town ‘wise man’.  It’s his story that’s been told, but also the story of other people who live in Hale.  It’s all seems very simple on the surface, as life often is, but underneath there is plenty going on.

Cross Her Heart by Sarah Pinborough

cross her heart sarah pinboroughWhen Lisa finds a children’s stuffed toy outside her house, she knows something is wrong.  Very wrong.  Only one person could have left it, and they aren’t supposed to know where she is.  Panic rises – and builds even more when things that mean nothing to anyone but her keep happening.

It’s no wonder she is paranoid.  And no wonder she is driving her daughter – 16 year old Ava – crazy with her constant need to know where she is and what she is doing.  It’s also no wonder that Ava rebels, doing almost the opposite of what her mum asks her to do.

With this type of set-up, you know things aren’t going to go well for either Lisa or Ava.  The question is how is it all going to go pear-shaped and why.  Does it have something to do with Lisa’s secrets, or the ones her best friend Marilyn is hiding? Whose past is about to rear its ugly head?

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. 

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.  

The Guilty Ones by Joy Ellis

The Guilty Ones Joy EllisWhen DI Jackman’s sister-in-law commits suicide, his family finds it hard to believe.  She was a loving wife and mother and didn’t seem to have any real cares in the world.

His partner, DI Marie Evans, finds it so hard to believe she becomes convinced not all is as it first appears.  It’s a belief that becomes a reality as first one then two more suicide victims are found, neither of which are quite what they seem.

It looks like someone has come up with a very clever way of committing murder – by getting his or her victims to do it themselves. It’s also a very clever idea of a book, one I enjoyed as I watched the police scramble to figure out just who was behind some rather vicious attacks on seemingly innocent people.

A Kill for the Poet by Simon Maltman

A Kill for a Poet

Brian Caskey is a bit of a mess.  A former cop, he drinks too much, smokes too much, has mental health problems, and has got himself involved in something he probably shouldn’t have gotten himself involved in.

He is also a writer of 1940’s crime fiction, with a main character who drinks too much, smokes too much and has got himself involved in something he probably shouldn’t have.

Both Brian and his detective live in Northern Ireland, a place where people seem to have a bit of an edge to them but also don’t take life too seriously unless they have to.  Neither seem to have had much luck in life, living alone and on the edge of the “real world”

The Dark Lake by Sarah Bailey

The Dark Lake

When the body of a young and popular teacher turns up in the waters of Sonny Lake, the first detective called to the scene is Sergeant Gemma Woodstock, a local who not only knows the area but also the victim – Rosalind Ryan, at least in passing (they went to school together).

The connection, Gem insists, is slight.  The relationship between the two women non-existent.  So she stays on the case, along with her partner Felix. Unfortunately, Gem isn’t quite telling the truth; she has a history with Rosalind (Rose), holding a secret that might put the case in jeopardy.