Book Review

Mini Reviews of Recent Reads – September 2019

I’m a little behind with my reviews, so I’ve decided to post mini reviews for some of my recent reads, most of which I read on holiday at the end of August / early September!


Lethal White by Robert Galbraith

 

lethal white

When Billy, a troubled young man, comes to private eye Cormoran Strike’s office to ask for his help investigating a crime he thinks he witnessed as a child, Strike is left deeply unsettled. While Billy is obviously mentally distressed, and cannot remember many concrete details, there is something sincere about him and his story. But before Strike can question him further, Billy bolts from his office in a panic.

Trying to get to the bottom of Billy’s story, Strike and Robin Ellacott – once his assistant, now a partner in the agency – set off on a twisting trail that leads them through the backstreets of London, into a secretive inner sanctum within Parliament, and to a beautiful but sinister manor house deep in the countryside.

And during this labyrinthine investigation, Strike’s own life is far from straightforward: his newfound fame as a private eye means he can no longer operate behind the scenes as he once did. Plus, his relationship with his former assistant is more fraught than it ever has been – Robin is now invaluable to Strike in the business, but their personal relationship is much, much more tricky than that…

I love the will they / won’t they between Robin and Strike, and going into this novel, I wasn’t sure what to expect given the ending of Career of Evil.  I held a great deal of optimism for this situation, and so I have to admit that I was really disappointed by the events of the prologue!  This isn’t a complaint about the book by any stretch – just that I was hoping for a different opening given the way the previous novel ended.  Sorry to be vague – if you’ve been reading this series then I think you’ll know what I’m referring to 😉

Lethal White presents Robin and Strike with an interesting and incredibly complex case.  It was great to see that Robin is now an official partner in the business – it’s thoroughly deserved, and it’s been a long time coming.  Given their previous case, Strike has now achieved a measure of fame – something that is both positive and negative for a private detective!  It hasn’t changed him at all, however, and I love the feeling of catching up with old friends that I get when reading this series.

I really hope that there is another instalment to come – I need to know what comes next for this intrepid duo!


The Possession by Michael Rutger

the possession

THEY CAME LOOKING FOR ANSWERS

A group of explorers arrive in the remote town of Birchlake, Northern California, to investigate the appearance of mysterious stone walls.

WHAT THEY FOUND WERE QUESTIONS

A teenage girl has disappeared without a trace.

FOR NOT EVERYONE IS AS THEY SEEM

Soon it becomes clear that the two events may be connected in the most terrifying way. Because sometimes the walls we build end up closing us in…

The Possession follows on from The Anomaly, but I don’t think that you need to have read the first novel in order to enjoy this one.  The same characters are present, and there are references to the events of the first novel, but only in passing – there’s no detail that would spoil the first novel should you decide to go back to it (and you really should read it – it’s fantastic!).  It’s worth noting that The Possession is a little different to The Anomaly – I felt that this had more of a horror vibe to it.  It’s done very well – there’s a creepy atmosphere throughout and some utterly chilling moments.

I have to admit that I didn’t enjoy The Possession quite as much as The Anomaly, which was an easy five star read for me.  I thought that there was less emphasis on the conspiracy theory element than the first novel, and I would have preferred for Nolan and the team to have discovered more of what was going on in Birchlake themselves, whereas it felt as though the events had to be explained to them.  This is just my personal preference, of course, and isn’t a major issue.  I really hope that there is another instalment in this series – I can’t wait to see what mystery the team come up against next.


The Furies by Katie Lowe

the furies

You’d kill to be one of them.

1998. A sixteen-year-old girl is found dead on school property, dressed in white and posed on a swing. No known cause of death.

Four girls know what happened.

They’ve kept their silence.

Until now.

The Furies was one of my most anticipated reads of 2019, and, perhaps because of my high expectations, I didn’t enjoy this quite as much as I’d hoped.  It’s not a bad book by any stretch, but it just wasn’t for me.

There are elements that Lowe does brilliantly.  Her characters are well defined, and I thought that she captured the essence of teenage angst perfectly.  These girls – Violet in particular – walk a fine line between neediness and rebellion at the constraints imposed upon them, and they act out as you might expect through the usual means of drink and drugs.  Violet – an introvert if ever there was one – develops significantly over the course of the novel as she falls under the influence of Robin, Alex, and Grace.  I wanted to shake her at times – Robin’s influence in particular is toxic, and while I understood her desire to make friends, to impress, and to be part of their clique, I felt that Violet was too passive at times.

I loved the inclusion of ancient rites and the references to old myths and folklore in the novel, and I’d have liked to have seen more of this.  I think that this is why the book just wasn’t for me in the end.  I expected more exploration of these rites and rituals based upon the synopses that I’ve seen, and didn’t get it.  That’s just my preference, however – this is a strong coming of age novel featuring an intriguing group of young women and I think I’d have enjoyed this more had I not expected something different from it.

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