Maud Drennan is a forty-something carer. Originally from Ireland, she now lives in London and finds herself taking care of Cathal Flood, a man it isn’t easy to like. He frightened his last carer away, and the ones before that. Somehow, though, Maud is holding on, slowly making her way through Cathal’s house and the years of dirt, grime and chaos he has accumulated.
Whether it’s her grit, or their shared Irish roots, Cathal begins to let her in – and so does his rambling, shambolic house. Because, as well as being a carer, Maud is psychic and, pretty quickly, it becomes clear that the house – or it’s former residents are trying to tell her something.
When they say don’t judge a book by it’s cover, for me and Murder in Little Shendon, the saying definitely applies. This is not a book, if I’m honest, I would have picked up if I saw it on the library shelf and even a 99p Amazon deal may not have tempted me. It’s dark, slightly bloody and doesn’t do what is inside the pages – in my humble opinion – justice.
Thankfully, a lovely publicist asked me to review a copy and after a quick look on Goodreads to see what the reviews were like (I have to do this, having being burnt before), I said “yes, please”.
Murder in Little Shendon isn’t my usual fare in that it’s a cosy mystery, set in the days when people had to ask the operator to connect them when they used the phone and in a time when murder still shocked them. I was determined this year to add more cosies to my reading life, though, and this fit the bill perfectly.
Sleepyhead is the first in the Tom Thorne series of books. Written in 2001, it has been sitting on my Kindle since 2014. When I first bought it, I picked it up quite quickly. Then put it down again because all I could picture in my head was David Morrissey, who plays Thorne in the TV show.
Four years on, I didn’t do much better with that I have to say, which says something about the TV show’s impact on me I guess. Thankfully, I couldn’t remember too much of the plot, which meant it was still a new story for me, well mostly because I remembered the basic premise.
In Sleepyhead, someone with medical training (maybe even a doctor) is attacking young women, pinching a particular nerve to cause a stroke. He doesn’t want to kill them, though, but rather cause locked-in syndrome, where the women are completely aware of what is going on but can’t move, or speak, but are rather trapped in their own bodies.
So this is it, the final countdown to Christmas is one day away – time to dig out the advent calendars and start shopping earnest! I am officially getting excited (it helps that it has snowed here today, and I love snow). I’m not sure what the season will do to my reading and blogging but I imagine for a lot of us it will start to slow down as we focus on other things. November, though was a good reading month (bar a mini-slump half way through). Here’s what I liked, loved and just weren’t for me this month…
A few days later than in the real world, I am virtually saying goodbye to September and the books I read and reviews I wrote. It’s been an odd month and I have to say I’m glad it’s over – especially as my horoscopes are promising great things to come.
From the bestselling author of All Is Not Forgotten comes a thriller about two missing sisters, a twisted family, and what happens when one girl comes back…
One night three years ago, the Tanner sisters disappeared: fifteen-year-old Cass and seventeen-year-old Emma. Three years later, Cass returns, without her sister Emma. Her story is one of kidnapping and betrayal, of a mysterious island where the two were held. But to forensic psychiatrist Dr. Abby Winter, something doesn’t add up. Looking deep within this dysfunctional family Dr. Winter uncovers a life where boundaries were violated and a narcissistic parent held sway. And where one sister’s return might just be the beginning of the crime.
When Cass Tanner appears on her mother’s doorstep three years after last being seen (which was also the same night her sister Emma disappeared), it’s an arrival no one is expecting, especially – it seems – her mother who, in the intervening years, has styled herself as a grieving parent and now seems uncertain how to act.
Missing, presumed dead (I think it’s fair to say), Cass’ return reopens a case FBI forensic psychiatrist Abby Winter has never been able to let go of. In fact, it has haunted her, harming her relationship with her colleagues and her career. Now, not only does she have the chance to see if her theories about the sisters disappearance were right, she gets to kill some of her demons and, just maybe, get a decent nights sleep.
She can forgive. They can’t forget.
After ten years in the Huntsville State Penitentiary, Jasper Curtis returns home to live with his sister and her two daughters. Lizzie does not know who she’s letting into her home: the brother she grew up loving or the monster he became.
Teenage Katie distrusts this strange man in their home but eleven-year-old Joanne is just intrigued by her new uncle.
Jasper says he’s all done with trouble, but in a forgotten prairie town that knows no forgiveness, it does not take long for trouble to arrive at their door.
I am not 100% sure what I expected when I picked up my copy of The Last Days of Summer because it’s setting isn’t one that I normally go for but the story appealed and I wanted to take a bit of a step outside of my comfort zone. What I ended up with was a beautifully written story that had me caring about the central characters, including Jasper, a man I shouldn’t have liked at all given his past.