Tag Archives: Belinda Bauer

Mini Reviews of Recent Reads

Bad Blood by E. O. Chirovici

bad blood

You can’t trust your own memories.

You can’t trust other people’s.

So how do you know what really happened that night?

One rainy night in New York, psychologist James Cobb gives a talk on the art of recovering lost memories.  Afterwards, he’s approached by a stranger: a dying man who, forty years ago, woke up in a hotel room with a murdered woman, and no memory at all of what happened.  Now, he needs to know whether he was an innocent bystander – or a killer.

Intrigued, James begins to unpick the tangled threads of this decades-old mystery. But everyone involved has a different story to tell, and every fact he uncovers has another interpretation. As his interest becomes an obsession, and secrets from his own past start to surface, he begins to suspect that someone has buried the truth deep enough to hide it forever.

I’m a huge fan of Joel Dicker’s The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair, and Bad Blood has a similar vibe, with an unsolved mystery that doesn’t involve the protagonist directly.  James takes on the case – seemingly out of something to do rather than any real interest – yet quickly becomes obsessed with working out what had happened all those years ago.  It’s not an easy task, however, as his investigation brings to light conflicting information and the unreliability of human memory.

I really enjoyed Bad Blood, but the ending left me confused.  James does ultimately solve it, and yet it seemed to me – and I say this fully acknowledging that I may have missed the big reveal – that he does so based upon information that has not been shared with either him or the reader up to that point.  I happily admit that I’m terrible at working out what’s going on in a novel before the big reveal, but I like to think that I’ve been given a fair chance, which doesn’t seem to be the case here.

Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

I’d really like to discuss this with someone, so please do let me know if you’ve read it – it’s driving me nuts several days after finishing it!


The Anomaly by Michael Rutger

 

the anomaly

THEY SOUGHT THE TRUTH. THEY FOUND A NIGHTMARE

A team of explorers seek ancient treasures, hidden in a secret cave.

At first it seems they will return empty handed. Then their luck turns.

But the team’s elation is short-lived as they become trapped there in the dark, with little possibility of escape.

Then events take an even more terrifying turn.

For not all secrets are meant to be found…

I really enjoyed The Anomaly – it’s a fast-paced read, and reminiscent of Dan Brown by way of Indiana Jones.  Nolan Moore is the front man for YouTube show The Anomaly Files in which he and his team seek to uncover the truth behind various conspiracy theories, with varying degrees of success.  Widely dismissed by archaeological experts, The Anomaly Files still has a loyal fanbase and their latest show may just see them make it big.

Their latest mission takes them into the Grand Canyon in the hunt for a cave discovered in the early twentieth century but that has remained hidden since, and things take a turn for the worse when they become trapped in the cave system with limited supplies.  This is such a creepy, fast paced read with great characters.  I particularly loved Nolan’s sense of humour, and whilst he is the main character, I thought that the supporting cast were brilliant too – I particularly enjoyed his interactions with Ken.

The Anomaly is a fantastic adventure story with a little dash of horror thrown in.  Recommended.

Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐


Snap by Belinda Bauer

snap

SNAP DECISIONS CAN BE DANGEROUS…

On a stifling summer’s day, eleven-year-old Jack and his two sisters sit in their broken-down car, waiting for their mother to come back and rescue them.  Jack’s in charge, she’d said.  I won’t be long.

But she doesn’t come back.  She never comes back.  And life as the children know it is changed for ever.

Three years later, Jack is still in charge – of his sisters, of supporting them all, of making sure nobody knows they’re alone in the house, and – quite suddenly – of finding out the truth about what happened to his mother…

I’ve seen good reviews for Snap and for Belinda Bauer’s other novels, and when I saw that it was part of the Kindle Daily Deal recently, I just had to snap (😉) it up.  And I’m so glad I did, because I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Whilst the main mystery seems to be the missing mother of Jack and his sisters, there’s a lot more going on here, and I was thoroughly hooked by the plot and I thought that the characters were brilliant.  If you’re looking for a crime novel that plays out exactly as it would in real life then this may not be for you, but despite the rather unconventional police procedures, I thought that this was a brilliant and original read.

I am a little surprised at its inclusion in the Man Booker Prize longlist, although it’s great to see a crime novel make the cut, and I expect that the themes of familial loyalty and survival in the face of adversity have helped it here.

Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

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