Tag Archives: E. O. Chirovici

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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The Book of Mirrors by E. O. Chirovici

the-book-of-mirrors

Rating: ★★★★★

Literary agent Peter Katz receives a lot of manuscripts, but one of the latest – an excerpt from The Book of Mirrors by Richard Flynn – captures his attention.  Within its pages, Flynn has written about his time at Princeton in the 80s, and his relationship with Professor Joseph Wieder.

Wieder was murdered 25 years ago, and whilst the police identified multiple suspects, no one was ever charged and the case was left unsolved.  Is the truth of what happened that evening about to be revealed?

The first part of the novel allows the reader to see the partial manuscript received by Peter Katz, whilst the latter parts follow two separate investigations into what happened that night – investigations initiated by Katz following his reading of the partial manuscript.  The Book of Mirrors isn’t a police procedural, however, and the work is done by down-on-his-luck journalist John Keller and retired police officer Roy Freeman.  Freeman was involved in Wieder’s case at the time, and sees this as an opportunity to make one last attempt at solving the puzzle.

What follows is an incredibly intriguing murder mystery, in which multiple characters give their version of events and, as the novel progresses, it becomes increasingly less clear as to who murdered Wieder (and why) as each statement contradicts the last.  And the structure works brilliantly.  By getting to read the manuscript first, the reader is given a version of events from a single perspective, and then has to adjust their view as more information is provided during the subsequent sections.

There are a lot of characters in this novel, some more prominent than others, but it does mean that I didn’t really feel attached to any of them.  Even the two investigators – Keller and Freeman – act more as facilitators rather than two characters that the reader really gets to know.  Whilst this can sometimes make a novel difficult to get into, I found that in The Book of Mirrors it worked really well, as it allowed me make an impartial judgement as to who was telling the truth and who the murderer could be.  I love playing detective, and so I really enjoyed trying to solve this puzzle.  And I didn’t work it out.  This is a very clever novel with so many twists and turns that will keep you guessing right up to the big reveal.

I read The Book of Mirrors in a single sitting.  It’s a brilliant novel that is utterly compelling, and as I was reading, I was reminded of Joël Dicker’s absolutely outstanding The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair, and I think that if you enjoy that kind of novel then you’ll enjoy this.

The Book of Mirrors will be published on 26 January 2017 – many thanks to Francesca Russell for the ARC.