My review: The Devil’s Claw, by Lara Dearman

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About the book:

Following a traumatic incident in London, journalist Jennifer Dorey has returned home to Guernsey, taking a job as a local newspaper reporter. When she finds a drowned woman on a beach, Jennifer uncovers something much bigger and more sinister than she first thought.

Jennifer enlists the help of DCI Michael Gilbert, an officer on the verge of retirement, to investigate a pattern of similar deaths over the last fifty years. They follow a dark trail of island myths and folklore to the illegitimate son of a Nazi soldier, whose painstakingly executed work has so far gone undetected. But as Jennifer gets closer to the truth of the killer’s identity, she finds herself stepping deeper into his grasp.

Jennifer thinks she’s safe, but the dark hides sinister things in The Devil’s Claw, Lara Dearman’s exhilarating debut novel.

My review:

Thank you to the publisher for the opportunity to read this book through NetGalley.

This mystery thriller brings you to one of the small islands in the English Channel. The author obviously knows the place very well. Afterwards, I found out that Lara Dearman is a local of Guernsey which explains such an amazing representation of the island.

The plot is quite unusual. I found it intelligent, a mixture of mystery murder, history, a psychology of a killer, myths and storytelling. It was fascinating to read about Guernsey and life there and reminded me of life in a small town where I come from. Where everyone knows everyone and everyone knows everything, but still some things get missed which creates town legends.

The stories about Guernsey and its myths are just great. I had an urge to look them up online and read more.

I really liked the main character – journalist Jenny who had to come back to her hometown after pretty dramatic events in London. In my opinion, Jenny is extremely professional and doesn’t give up, trying to help people and find out the truth. She is driven by her profession, but also by natural curiosity. If I were a journalist, I would’ve liked to be like her.

The mystery part is good. The author keeps you guessing who the killer is and keeps throwing some twists and turns.

This is a debut novel and a first part of the series, so I look forward to reading more books by Lara Dearman.

My score is 5* out of 5*.

My review: The light we lost, by Jill Santopolo

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About the book:

He was the first person to inspire her, to move her, to truly understand her. Was he meant to be the last?

Lucy is faced with a life-altering choice. But before she can make her decision, she must start her story—their story—at the very beginning.

Lucy and Gabe meet as seniors at Columbia University on a day that changes both of their lives forever. Together, they decide they want their lives to mean something, to matter. When they meet again a year later, it seems fated—perhaps they’ll find life’s meaning in each other. But then Gabe becomes a photojournalist assigned to the Middle East and Lucy pursues a career in New York. What follows is a thirteen-year journey of dreams, desires, jealousies, betrayals, and, ultimately, of love. Was it fate that brought them together? Is it choice that has kept them away? Their journey takes Lucy and Gabe continents apart, but never out of each other’s hearts.

My review:

As much as I loved the writing and the beginning of this novel, I disliked the main characters and their ‘love’ story. I very much enjoyed the structure of the novel, the story-telling side and the language.

It was one of the fastest reads – in three days and inbetween work, home responsibilities and fitness. To be honest, I don’t know what I expected from this story. The interesting thing is that the selfish behaviour that both Lucy and Gabe had is quite realistic. So many people do exactly what they did – taking people who love them for granted, betray trust, waste other people’s time… These are the things that I absolutely despise in a relationship, in love. To me it’s not love. 

Unfortunately, the author and I have different views on what true love is. And it’s ok. For this same reason I couldn’t sympatise selfish and self-centred Lucy. I didn’t believe in her love for Darren, I didn’t believe in her poor attempts to show it was also love. To me it looked like she was doing him a favour staying in the relationship, just because she was scared she would have stayed alone if she chose Gabe at any point of those 13 years. And everything what she could give to this amazing man Darren who loved her with all his heart, was patient, caring, kind and forever understanding was that ‘half-arsed’ happiness she gave him. I honestly feel sorry for the guy.

At some stage the ending became quite predictable. On the other hand, I would love to know what will happen after all these events. That’s where the real story can actually start. 

Sometimes I think I disliked the story because it is so real and parts of it happened in every woman’s life. The scary thing what this book made me do was to check out on my ex-boyfriend who I had similar obsession with. I recognised this behavior in Lucy’s regular ‘scanning’ of Gabe’s life through social media. I think she was lying to herself saying that she didn’t care or wasn’t interested.

It all makes you think only about emotional side of the relationship, about some memories that at this current moment don’t have any value. Time that makes you forget all bad things and forgive mixes up to this dangerous cocktail. I am not saying people shouldn’t forgive, I am saying people probably shouldn’t forget. What is worth of your love and attention. What you can give and give to a person who really loves you, not out of boredom or some illusions. Sometimes you just need to make the right decision – follow your heart no matter what, but not at the expense of other people’s feelings and time.

My score is 3* out of 5*.

My review: The Night Market, by Jonathan Moore

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About the book:

From an author who consistently gives us “suspense that never stops” (James Patterson), a near-future thriller that makes your most paranoid fantasies seem like child’s play.

It’s late Thursday night, and Inspector Ross Carver is at a crime scene in one of the city’s last luxury homes. The dead man on the floor is covered by an unknown substance that’s eating through his skin. Before Carver can identify it, six FBI agents burst in and remove him from the premises. He’s pushed into a disinfectant trailer, forced to drink a liquid that sends him into seizures, and is shocked unconscious. On Sunday he wakes in his bed to find his neighbor, Mia—who he’s barely ever spoken to—reading aloud to him. He can’t remember the crime scene or how he got home; he has no idea two days have passed. Mia says she saw him being carried into their building by plainclothes police officers, who told her he’d been poisoned. Carver doesn’t really know this woman and has no way of disproving her, but his gut says to keep her close.

A mind-bending, masterfully plotted thriller—written in Moore’s “lush, intoxicating style” (Justin Cronin)—that will captivate fans of Blake Crouch, China Miéville, and Lauren Beukes, The Night Market follows Carver as he works to find out what happened to him, soon realizing he’s entangled in a web of conspiracy that spans the nation. And that Mia may know a lot more than she lets on.

My review:

This book provided so much promise at the start that I felt a bit disappointed in the end. The storyline, its science fiction/dystopian part, is absolutely fascinating. This area had so much potential that I got my hopes up. The mystery part was exciting as well but the ending wasn’t quite there for me.

Ross Carver is a great character and I felt strongly connected to him. He is a great detective, great friend you can always trust. Mia, on a contrary, made me dislike her from the start. Maybe it’s just me but I found everything she was saying or doing absolutely hideous. Not that I didn’t believe her but how she did it (or the author did for her). If Jonathan had an intention of creating a love story, then for me personally it failed.

The other thing I didn’t quite like is a title. I don’t really get why it’s called ‘The Night Market’….If you get, can you please help?

Despite the stated dislikes, I quite enjoyed the story and how it was going. I’m an absolute sucker for dystopias. The more the better. This one also about really interesting society created on consumerism and advertising technologies which are great topics to explore. As I said it can be so much more in that. This was my favourite aspect of ‘The Night Market’.

I was also disappointed to find out in the end that it’s the third book in a series. It can be read as a standalone novel but now I keep guessing how much connection it had to other books.

This book is one of those to enjoy the process but not the ending. I score it 4* out of 5*.

Books on the Train: First Person, by Richard Flanagan

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About the book:

Six weeks to write for your life… In this blistering story of a ghostwriter haunted by his demonic subject, the Man Booker Prize winner turns to lies, crime and literature with devastating effect

A young and penniless writer, Kif Kehlmann, is rung in the middle of the night by the notorious con man and corporate criminal, Siegfried Heidl. About to go to trial for defrauding the banks of $700 million, Heidl proposes a deal: $10,000 for Kehlmann to ghost write his memoir in six weeks.

But as the writing gets under way, Kehlmann begins to fear that he is being corrupted by Heidl. As the deadline draws closer, he becomes ever more unsure if he is ghost writing a memoir, or if Heidl is rewriting him—his life, his future. Everything that was certain grows uncertain as he begins to wonder: who is Seigfried Heidl—and who is Kif Kehlmann?

By turns compelling, comic, and chilling, First Person is a haunting journey into the heart of our age.

My review: Don’t let go, by Harlan Coben

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About the book:

With unmatched suspense and emotional insight, Harlan Coben explores the big secrets and little lies that can destroy a relationship, a family, and even a town in this powerful new thriller.

Suburban New Jersey Detective Napoleon “Nap” Dumas hasn’t been the same since senior year of high school, when his twin brother Leo and Leo’s girlfriend Diana were found dead on the railroad tracks—and Maura, the girl Nap considered the love of his life, broke up with him and disappeared without explanation. For fifteen years, Nap has been searching, both for Maura and for the real reason behind his brother’s death. And now, it looks as though he may finally find what he’s been looking for.

When Maura’s fingerprints turn up in the rental car of a suspected murderer, Nap embarks on a quest for answers that only leads to more questions—about the woman he loved, about the childhood friends he thought he knew, about the abandoned military base near where he grew up, and mostly about Leo and Diana—whose deaths are darker and far more sinister than Nap ever dared imagine.

My review:

Harlan Coben never dissappoints, that’s for sure. ‘Don’t let go’ is a quality thriller with a great storyline, interesting characters and a big secret.

I must say I found a character of Nap quite likable and relatable. I liked his natural toughness and ‘don’t give a shit’ attitude alongside with high morals and common sense. His character ‘doesn’t let go’ until he knows the truth. He is not scared of authorities or danger. At the same time he is not that ‘sickly perfect’ character and still has some flaws and can be wrong in some situations which I like very much. Nothing worse than ‘too perfect’ characters that make you cringe on every page, because they are too unreal.

I absolutely enjoyed all TV series and movies based on Coben’s novels, so would like to see if ‘Don’t let go’ to come on a TV screen. I won’t say more not to spoil the plot for you.

The story is quite tragic. It often comes to the decisions you make when you are young. At the time they seem silly and harmless, but the results can be devastating. This book is also about families and relationships. How well we know our siblings, our parents, our friends. Do we notice something is wrong at the right time? At the time when it’s not too late?

I think this book is also about the choice. The choice we make to question things. The choice to want to know and try to find out. The choice to get involved and stop some things. The choice to never let go.

My score is 5* out of 5*.