I’ve been so busy recently with editing my manuscript, gathering promotional ideas, etc, that I have neglected my much-loved book reviewing. So, to remedy this a little I’m doing a few mini reviews:
Starting off with….
More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera
In his twisty, gritty, profoundly moving debut—called “mandatory reading” by the New York Times—Adam Silvera brings to life a charged, dangerous near-future summer in the Bronx.
In the months after his father’s suicide, it’s been tough for 16-year-old Aaron Soto to find happiness again–but he’s still gunning for it. With the support of his girlfriend Genevieve and his overworked mom, he’s slowly remembering what that might feel like. But grief and the smile-shaped scar on his wrist prevent him from forgetting completely.
When Genevieve leaves for a couple of weeks, Aaron spends all his time hanging out with this new guy, Thomas. Aaron’s crew notices, and they’re not exactly thrilled. But Aaron can’t deny the happiness Thomas brings or how Thomas makes him feel safe from himself, despite the tensions their friendship is stirring with his girlfriend and friends. Since Aaron can’t stay away from Thomas or turn off his newfound feelings for him, he considers turning to the Leteo Institute’s revolutionary memory-alteration procedure to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he truly is.
My review: 4.5 stars. This debut novel surprised me. I started off not being too sure about it and then loved it! Sometimes I’m like that, I can be a bit slow on the uptake! I need a little convincing and then kapow – it hits me full force. Great idea, fantastic characters, particularly the main protagonist Aaron Soto, thought provoking questions about his emerging sexuality, and interesting setting – the Bronx. Have added to my favourites list. Read? Yes, yes, yes.. !!!
A Boy Made of Blocks by Keith Stuart
In the tradition of Nick Hornby and David Nicholls comes a warm and tender novel in which a father and his autistic son connect over the game of Minecraft.
Alex loves his family, and yet he struggles to connect with his eight-year-old autistic son, Sam. The strain has pushed his marriage to the breaking point. So Alex moves in with his merrily irresponsible best friend on the world’s most uncomfortable blow-up bed.
As Alex navigates single life, long-buried family secrets, and part-time fatherhood, his son begins playing Minecraft. Sam’s imagination blossoms and the game opens up a whole new world for father and son to share. Together, they discover that sometimes life must fall apart before you can build a better one.
Inspired by the author’s own relationship with his autistic son, A Boy Made of Blocks is a tear-jerking, funny, and, most, of all true-to-life novel about the power of difference and one very special little boy.
My review: 4 stars. I discovered this book via my good blogging friend Annika Perry. She had written a detailed review and it piqued my interest: https://annikaperry.com/2016/07/15/a-boy-made-of-blocks-a-book-review/.
Annika enjoyed this novel but didn’t love it, and I enjoyed it too but it didn’t quite make my favourite list either. Author Keith Stuart used his own experiences with his son to write A Boy Made Of Books, and reveals the complexities of coping with day to day activities with a child on the autistic spectrum. Even going to the park can become a major worry particularly if you meet a dog who might set off your child’s anxieties. In my experience, I found it to be well written throughout but the latter part of the novel was more emotionally engaging. Read? Yes, particularly if you are interested in novels about autism, and family/son relationships.
Simon Vs. The Homosapiens Agenda
Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.
With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.
My review: 4 stars. This deserves all the hype. It is an entertaining, sweet read, a must read YA novel… grab a copy! Read? Yes, most definitely Read!!!
Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty
Yvonne Carmichael sits in the witness box. The charge is murder. Before all of this, she was happily married, a successful scientist, a mother of two. Now she’s a suspect, squirming under fluorescent lights and the penetrating gaze of the alleged accomplice who’s sitting across from her, watching: a man who’s also her lover. As Yvonne faces hostile questioning, she must piece together the story of her affair with this unnamed figure who has charmed and haunted her. This is a tale of sexual intrigue, ruthless urges, and danger, which has blindsided her from a seemingly innocuous angle. Here in the courtroom, everything hinges on one night in a dark alley called Apple Tree Yard.
My review: 4.5 stars. Really enjoyed this a lot. I grabbed it off my mum’s bookshelf in Edinburgh… I’m always pinching books… beware! A fascinating tale of how the most unlikely of women could end up having such a wild and crazy affair, (I kid you not!) leading to such dire consequences. Highly recommended. Read? Yes, Read!!!
Mistletoe and Murder by Robin Stevens
Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong are spending the Christmas hols in snowy Cambridge. Hazel has high hopes of its beautiful spires, cosy libraries and inviting tea-rooms – but there is danger lurking in the dark stairwells of ancient Maudlin College.
Two days before Christmas, there is a terrible accident. At least, it appears to be an accident – until the Detective Society look a little closer, and realise a murder has taken place. Faced with several irritating grown-ups and fierce competition from a rival agency, they must use all their cunning and courage to find the killer (in time for Christmas Day, of course).
The fabulously festive fifth mystery from the bestselling, award-winning author of Murder Most Unladylike.
My review: 4 stars. A very fun murder mystery set at Christmas in the colleges of Cambridge. Particularly enjoyed reading this as I live in Cambridge and it was nice to recognise some of the familiar settings. Read: Yes, particularly if you like an easy, entertaining, enjoyable read.
Following on from this I am currently reading Lucy Brazier’s Porter Girl so more about soon…
And after that I have various beauties on my TBR pile including The Words In My Hand by Guinevere Glasfurd, (Costa book awards shortlisted author,) who I met in person at a recent inspiring event held by Cambridge Writers.
Bye for now,
My New Facebook club: Authors/Bloggers Rainbow Support Club
A collection of pulse-pounding tales featuring forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan—including the untold story of her first case!
The #1 New York Times bestselling author behind the hit Fox series Bones, Kathy Reichs is renowned for chilling suspense and fascinating forensic detail. The Bone Collection presents her trademark artistry in this collection of thrilling short fiction.
In First Bones, a prequel to Reichs’s first novel, Déjà Dead, she at last reveals the tale of how Tempe became a forensic anthropologist. In this never-before-published story, Tempe recalls the case that lured her from a promising career in academia into the grim but addictive world of criminal investigation. (It all began with a visit from a pair of detectives—and a John Doe recovered from an arson scene in a trailer.) The collection is rounded out with three more stories that take Tempe from the low country of the Florida Everglades, where she makes a grisly discovery in the stomach of an eighteen-foot Burmese python, to the heights of Mount Everest, where a frozen corpse is unearthed. No matter where she goes, Tempe’s cases make for the most gripping reading.
I won a copy of The Sunday Times No. 1 Bestseller Kathy Reich’s The Bone Collection via Linda Hill who blogs at: Linda’s Book Bag
So a big thank you for my winning copy! Of course, my opinions are my own and are not influenced in anyway by me receiving a free copy.
This isn’t my usual kind of read and at first, I was a little bit skeptical whether or not it would appeal to me. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The excellence of Kathy Reich’s writing and her detailed and knowledgeable observations about forensic anthropology kept me entertained throughout all four of these novellas, based on her successful Temperance Brennan series. This is a special treat for Kathy Reich enthusiasts as all four pieces: Bones In her Pocket, Swamp Bones, Bones on Ice, and First Bones are presented in a single collection in this novel. Bones both animal, and human do figure a lot in this novel, it’s to be expected! So be prepared for some gruesome moments. If I were, to sum up this novel I’d say: punchy, gripping, wincing, chilling, compelling, detailed, gut turning sleuthing mysteries to be solved, sliced with unexpected twists and turns, and served with a fulsome dollop of humour.
Highly recommended. My rating 4.5 stars.
Have you read Kathy Reich? Do comment and let me know.
Bye for now, happy reading!
After publishing some of his short stories on his blog, Hugh W. Roberts, who suffers from dyslexia, received numerous requests to publish his short stories in a book.
Here, at last, are 28 short stories that will take your mind on a rollercoaster of a ride into worlds that conceal unexpected twists and turns.
‘Glimpses’ allows the reader a peek into the lives of everyday people who are about to have life lead them on an unpredicted path. From a mysterious deadly iPad app, to a hole in the fence that is not all it seems, to a strange lipstick that appears to have a life of its own, you will encounter terror, laughter, sadness, shock and many other emotions on journeys which promise a thrilling and gripping climax.
If you are a lover of shows such as ‘The Twilight Zone’ and ‘Tales Of The Unexpected’, then you’re in for a real treat with this first collection of short stories from Hugh.
Dare you take a glimpse into the lives of these unsuspecting characters?
“If you’re looking for a thoroughly entertaining read, Glimpses is the book for you. Each story has been cleverly crafted; through Hugh’s wonderful imagination, he has the ability to whisk you away to many different worlds, past, present and future. Every story makes a compelling read and just when you think you know what’s going to happen next, Hugh masterfully reveals a brilliant twist. With bite-size and longer stories, Glimpses is a must-read. I loved it.” – Esther Newton, Writer, and Author.
Welcome, this is my first review of 2017. Happy New Year!!! Happy Reading!!!
This is undoubtedly an excellent collection of short stories from Hugh W. Roberts.
In my opinion, short stories are so difficult to write as the author has to encapsulate so much into such a rigid format and end on an engaging twist too. Hugh effortlessly manages to introduce us to such a wide range of well-crafted stories, encompassing several genres, ranging from Science Fiction, Supernatural, Thriller, Drama, Humour, LGBT, to Horror, with something for everyone in this entertaining compilation.
When Hugh jokingly remarked that his horror stories might give me nightmares I really didn’t believe that this kind-hearted chap could write that scary a horror story, but I was so wrong!!!! The particular one that stays in my mind the most is undoubtedly Needles, which definitely made me wince a lot and with a title like that it’s no wonder! Other favourites of mine in the horror category are The Easter Bunny, The Gingerbread House, and Lipstick. You can see I do like to read horror! I also have a soft spot for The Cake Decorator, (Thriller) and The Last Train to Aldwych (Ghost). Every single story in the compilation is a little nugget of imagination. Hugh may be dyslexic but he certainly has no difficulty on the imagination score! His powers of imagination and creativity are first class. Often dyslexic people are amazingly talented, and Hugh certainly is.
Glimpses is highly recommended for all short story enthusiasts. Go get a copy!!
To celebrate the launch of Glimpses Hugh is offering six wonderful Amazon gift prizes. Follow the link here to find out more: Hughs Views and News Competition
Do check out his most recent post about this as Hugh has kindly given us a clue!
Please do support Hugh and buy a copy of his book, and if you could share a review even better…
Universal buying link for Glimpses: http://hyperurl.co/42ou22
I recently interviewed Hugh on Kyrosmagica. Here’s the link:
Have you read Glimpses? Do leave a comment below and let me know…
Soon I will be reviewing Ruth Hatfield’s The Colour of Darkness, the second book in the Book of Storms Trilogy, so keep a look out for that.
Bye for now, back to my books…
Ignatius Perrish spent the night drunk and doing terrible things. He woke up the next morning with a thunderous hangover, a raging headache . . . and a pair of horns growing from his temples.
At first Ig thought the horns were a hallucination, the product of a mind damaged by rage and grief. He had spent the last year in a lonely, private purgatory, following the death of his beloved, Merrin Williams, who was raped and murdered under inexplicable circumstances. A mental breakdown would have been the most natural thing in the world. But there was nothing natural about the horns, which were all too real.
Once the righteous Ig had enjoyed the life of the blessed: born into privilege, the second son of a renowned musician and younger brother of a rising late-night TV star, he had security, wealth, and a place in his community. Ig had it all, and more—he had Merrin and a love founded on shared daydreams, mutual daring, and unlikely midsummer magic.
But Merrin’s death damned all that. The only suspect in the crime, Ig was never charged or tried. And he was never cleared. In the court of public opinion in Gideon, New Hampshire, Ig is and always will be guilty because his rich and connected parents pulled strings to make the investigation go away. Nothing Ig can do, nothing he can say, matters. Everyone, it seems, including God, has abandoned him. Everyone, that is, but the devil inside.
Horns is one of those books that captures your attention right from the start in a spectacular way. The main protagonist Ig, wakes up after a night of drunken debauchery with more than a mighty hangover. He finds a set of horns attached to his head, and these act like antennae giving him the ability to coerce people to tell him their darkest, most deeply hidden secrets. Time and time again the result is unequivocally shocking, making the reader reel at the depths to which people will have a hidden dark side. It makes us question just how much we really know our dear neighbours, friends, and family, who we love so much. Undoubtedly, we are all flawed human beings even the ones amongst us who we look up to are wretched sinners.
Horns is in part a love story, a tragic one, as Ig’s girlfriend, Merrin has been raped and murdered, and Ig is the prime suspect. Through the antennae effect, we get to learn the true reaction of his family, friends and the community to his possible culpability.
Horns isn’t easy reading and at times I definitely flinched. But it’s one of those books that draws you in and keeps you reading even though you want to look away. The villain is well crafted and engagingly horrible. If you have a phobia of snakes I don’t recommend you read this novel! It will give you nightmares!
The faster pacing of the earlier chapters gives way to a slower mid section that explores Ig’s relationship with his long-term girlfriend Merrin, who by all accounts is his soul mate, the love of his life. Given her importance to the narrative, this weightier middle section is understandable but does slow down the pace of the novel somewhat.
There is a reveal with regard to Merrin which ties some of the loose threads together in a very interesting way. But I am still a bit unsure about the ending…. perhaps this is a novel that would benefit from a second reading. I did feel that the ‘happier’ ending didn’t quite fit with the rest of the book, but I wonder if it was added as a device to make it less grim and more marketable – particularly with regard to a potential film contract – the film was released in 2014.
I’d definitely read more from Joe Hill, and it’s not just because he’s Stephen King’s son! This is ‘my first,’ Joe Hill novel. With this introduction, I can see that he weaves a wonderfully enthralling tale that explores the darker side of humanity, which continues to fascinate me.
Would I recommend Horns? Yes, most definitely but only if you like novels that explore the darker, murkier side of life.
My rating: 4.5 stars.
Bye for now,
As she let her gaze drift around her, she saw that there were more birds. Perhaps a dozen or so, perched among the trees that stood on the edge of the clearing. And yet more were arriving, swooping down through the gap overhead and landing on branches that overlooked them. The birds weren’t threatening, yet the sight of them all coming together in this dark and isolated spot was unnerving. Tanya reached a hand out towards Martin, and was relieved to feel him take it. She felt him move in behind her. After the uncertainty she’d experienced with him in a similar position only a few moments ago, she recognised the irony of her reaction. His closeness offered security.
“You know what they are, don’t you?”
A stranger’s arrival in a small village coincides with a tragic accident. For the Gates family in particular it’s more than a coincidence, but their unease increases following a brutal attack. As tensions rise, a dark past returns to haunt them and others, while newcomers to the village are drawn into a mystery with terrifying consequences. And no one can explain why the ravens are gathering.
Ravens Gathering twists and turns as the truth is gradually exposed in a gripping thriller with a supernatural edge to it.
This is a very ambitious first novel, and on the whole Graeme Cumming does a fantastic job, creating a novel which is both highly imaginative, and unusual in many respects. The dialogue is believable, as is the detail in the various innocuous, homely settings: the pub, the farms, and this close knit English village.
Ravens Gathering does a shape shift through several different genres, embracing fantasy, mystery, sci-fi, police procedural, thriller, and horror.
The main character Martin Gates returns to this community, his home after a long time abroad. Martin’s reappearance is not welcomed with open arms by his family, in fact they appear to view his reappearance as something to avoid rather than embrace. To begin with Martin is a difficult character to engage with. His character is somewhat obtuse, but there are reasons for this, which become apparent as we read the book and realise why he is the way he is. We do get a sense of his outrage about being so unloved and uncared for by his family, and yet to begin with we have no idea why this the case. We can only speculate, but there’s no way that our speculations will be correct.
Equally, Tanya, and Ian aren’t particularly appealing either, and neither are Martin’s family. The further we get into the book it seems more and more likely that everyone in Ravens Gathering are flawed in some unique and individual way. The key words that initially come to mind are: selfish, shady, desperate for sexual diversions, or damaged in some way.
The story unfolds slowly with a considerable amount of detail, making events more real. Shocking and disturbing revelations in the latter part of the novel don’t come as a complete surprise given the underlying sense of a community where something is terribly amiss. Nevertheless I had no idea of what was coming, and the shock factor of what did surprised, and appalled me in equal measure. This is a novel where you can’t help but go WTF!!!!!
The characters for the most part are not particularly lovable which initially distances the reader from them but that’s not meant as a criticism, in fact under the circumstances having read the story one realises why this is the case.
The bad guy is about as horrible, wicked, and debauched a villain as you can get.
This is a very complicated story that remains in your psyche for some time afterwards. It winds its way stretching the believability of the fantastical elements to the max, edging the story to its conclusion.
My recommendation: Definitely an author to watch out for, a well written, confident debut. Read if you like mysterious thrillers with a fantastical, but deeply shocking element.
Do connect with Graeme via his link below:
Have you read Ravens Gathering? Do comment below.
Bye for now,
Marje @ Kyrosmagica xx
This Monday I thought I’d do a review of Frozen Charlotte for #MondayBlogs. Why not start the week with a bit of scary bookish fun…..
We’re waiting for you to come and play. Dunvegan School for Girls has been closed for many years. Converted into a family home, the teachers and students are long gone. But they left something behind…Sophie arrives at the old schoolhouse to spend the summer with her cousins. Brooding Cameron with his scarred hand, strange Lilias with a fear of bones and Piper, who seems just a bit too good to be true. And then there’s her other cousin. The girl with a room full of antique dolls. The girl that shouldn’t be there. The girl that died.
This month I joined the Stripes publishing #redeyereadalong and I’m so glad I did! Just finished reading Frozen Charlotte. This novel is very good, definitely one to devour, that’s the right word. A fast paced, exciting, and at times gruesome read.
Warning: if you have a fear of needles, dolls, knives, ghosts, freezing, drowning, burning to death, or falling of cliffs, I wouldn’t pick this up!
I don’t normally read horror, but this month I’m doing a Halloween type theme on my blog, with spooky books, poems, short stories, etc.
Sometimes it’s good to try new things!! I snatched whatever time I could find to read Frozen Charlotte during the day, this wasn’t bedtime reading for me…. That way I kept the nightmares at bay.
What did I like about it?
Lots and lots of things.
The little creepy poems in italics at the beginning of each chapter are awesome.
Such a clever idea to have a Ouija-board app, and to introduce the ghost of Rebecca that way.
The prologue sets the tone for sinister goings on engaging the reader right from the very start.
Then you have the Frozen Charlotte dolls themselves, there is nothing nice about these dolls and it makes me wonder why anyone in their right mind would have them in their house! Or wear them as a necklace! That’s asking for trouble! That’s the Scots for you, I’m not slating the Scots, I’m half Scottish, we may be a bit dour at times but we like to live dangerously!!
The characters all so well crafted.
The main protagonist, Sophie, I definitely have a soft spot for her. She’s so brave, it is almost suicidal! With one scary thing happening after another, she turns out to be quite the heroine. Respect! If it was me I’d be out of there lightning quick! But Sophie thinks of others before herself. Sophie feels particularly protective towards her youngest cousin Lilias, who has a horrendous fear of bones, knives have to be hidden, so she doesn’t cut herself, and when I say cut I really mean cut.
Jay sounds such a cute guy, a best friend who could possibly have been a love interest if his young life hadn’t been cut down right at the start.
Piper’s another favourite of mine! She starts off all sweetness, preparing food and seeming to be the perfect hostess welcoming her cousin to Scotland. But is Piper as sweet as she seems or is this all an act? You’ll have to read Frozen Charlotte to find out!
And Cameron appears to be a bit distant, and unwelcoming to Sophie when she arrives, intriguing the reader some more.
In my opinion Frozen Charlotte starts of well but becomes even more and more engaging, spooky and gruesome with each passing page…
The book ends with an epilogue, a final tease. This is one of the main strengths of this novel it teases and plays with the reader’s emotions offering apparent sweetness on one hand, and dire creepiness on the other.
My recommendation: Go read this!!! Highly recommended for readers of Horror, YA, Paranormal, Dark, Thriller, Mystery.
Have you read Frozen Charlotte? Do leave a comment I’d love to hear from you.
Bye for now,
Marje @ Kyrosmagica xx
I’ve been following her for the past few days. I know where she buys her groceries, where she has her dry cleaning done, where she works. I don’t know the color of her eyes or what they look like when she’s scared. But I will.”
Born to a prominent Chicago judge and his stifled socialite wife, Mia Dennett moves against the grain as a young inner-city art teacher. One night, Mia enters a bar to meet her on-again, off-again boyfriend. But when he doesn’t show, she unwisely leaves with an enigmatic stranger. With his smooth moves and modest wit, at first Colin Thatcher seems like a safe one-night stand. But following Colin home will turn out to be the worst mistake of Mia’s life.
Colin’s job was to abduct Mia as part of a wild extortion plot and deliver her to his employers. But the plan takes an unexpected turn when Colin suddenly decides to hide Mia in a secluded cabin in rural Minnesota, evading the police and his deadly superiors. Mia’s mother, Eve, and detective Gabe Hoffman will stop at nothing to find them, but no one could have predicted the emotional entanglements that eventually cause this family’s world to shatter.
An addictively suspenseful and tautly written thriller, The Good Girl is a compulsive debut that reveals how even in the perfect family, nothing is as it seems….
I was given a kindle copy of A Good Girl by Net Galley in return for an honest review. I had some difficulties with the ARC copy I received as there were no chapter headings or even pauses to suggest where one chapter started and the next finished. Unfortunately this made reading this particular novel very difficult especially as it has been written in multiple points of views, and in shifting time sequences alternating between the present and the past. Having said that I persevered and I’m glad that I did as I quickly found the story gripping, and I wanted to read on and find out what happened next.
A Good Girl is written through the eyes of Mia, the captive, Mia’s mother, and Gabe the detective running the cause. All three points of view work well and add a depth to the narrative. We feel Mia’s confusion and fear when she is kidnapped. Her mother’s distress at the unknown fate of her daughter, her sense of failure at being an inadequate mother and Gabe’s determination to set things right and solve the case. We also see a rich girl who has a depth to her that at first glance we may have overlooked. Her captive finds that Mia is much more than a spoilt little rich kid. He finds that she isn’t that different from him. They both share troubles, that have made them the way that they are, in her case, her father’s expectations that she will behave in a certain way and, in his case, his mother’s illness.
I had some problems with the initial propositions of the storyline, and with some of the developments within the novel. Why would someone abduct someone with the intention of handing them over and then change their mind? Why would the detective develop feelings for a member of the family? Was this really necessary, or did it distract from the storyline?
The ending was a bit of a surprise I just didn’t see it coming.
Overall I thought that Mary Kubica’s portrayal of Mia’s abduction, and the developing attraction between Mia and her captive was skillfully written but I didn’t really buy into the detective investigating the case following down the love route too. It seemed a bit too much! I won’t say any more on that one for fear of spoiling the novel for you but for me it just wasn’t necessary.
Overall I enjoyed The Good Girl. I thought it was a well crafted debut novel, that I would recommend to readers of mystery, thrillers, suspense, contemporary, and psychological thrillers.
My star rating:
Have you read A Good Girl? Do leave a comment below I’d love to hear from you.
Marje @ Kyrosmagica xx
When several young girls are abducted from various locations in Edinburgh, Detective John Granger and his brother Alan, a reporter, investigate the cases from different directions. The abductor is cunning, always one step ahead, and the only clue he leaves behind at each scene are the brutalized corpses of black swans.
When the brothers’ investigations finally converge at a farmhouse in Central Scotland, they catch a glimpse of where the girls have been taken, a place both far away yet close enough to touch. A land known throughout Scottish history with many names: Faerie, Elfheim, and the Astral Plane. It is a place of legend and horror, a myth. But the brothers soon discover it’s real, and, to catch the abductor, they will have to cross over themselves.
To catch a killer, John and Alan Granger will have to battle the Cobbe, a strange and enigmatic creature that guards the realm, a creature of horrific power that demands a heavy price for entry into its world. The fate of both realms hangs in the balance…and time is running out…
My review of The Exiled, by William Meikle. This is an advanced readers copy that the author has kindly supplied to me via NetGalley. Publication date 1 July 2014.
The Exiles does much to recommend it. It combines a well crafted detective story, a serial killer thriller, and dark supernatural fantasy, in a work that is gripping and about as original as it gets. The story landscape is Edinburgh, what more could I ask for?The majority of my young adult life was spent in Edinburgh, and the way that William Meikle describes the city, and some of its less salubrious inhabitants and aspects, certainly brought the narrative to life. A large proportion of the detective, and investigative journalistic time was spent in watering holes, persuading half drunk Scotsmen to tell all! The two main characters are brothers, John is a detective inspector, and Alan a journalist with an uncanny ability to research leads. To begin with Meikle paints them as brothers who have grown apart, almost like separate entities, on two sides of the divide. The Macabre nature of the crime draws the two brothers together, in a quest to find and bring to justice the abductor of the missing girls. Meikle manages to interweave a tale that is at times, so dark, that a smattering of black humour, and drunken, humorous elements, are needed to lighten the heavy load. The book is most definitely a page-turner. The characters are realistically depicted. The stress and pressure put on detectives investigating terrible crimes such as these, is realistically portrayed. In fact, John can only seem to cope with the situation by resorting to chain-smoking. moreover, Meikle stereotypes the Scots’ drinking habits, by suggesting that a stiff drink is a prerequisite for all and sundry. Somehow, his realistic, colloquial, dialogue and well crafted scenes, allow him the license to get away with this. Very early on, it’s clear that this is not a novel for the faint-hearted. The darkness, and disturbing graphical images that Meikle paints may well haunt the reader. In light of this, I would not recommend this to younger readers. But, having said that, the darkness of the plot is lightened by the desperation of the two main characters to solve the mystery, and stop the advancing progress of evil. I’m impressed by Meikle’s imagination, and his ability to combine Fantasy with detective genre in such a convincing, and readable way. I would be interested in reading more of his work. I found The Exiled difficult to rate but decided on four stars, though for originality I think it would score a high-five!
Very highly recommended for readers of thriller, dark fantasy, horror.
William Meikle’s website: http://www.williammeikle.com/
Information from his website: He is a Scottish genre writer now living in Newfoundland. When he’s not writing Willie drinks beer, plays guitar and dreams of fortune and glory! He has 20 novels and several hundred short stories in genre presses, anthologies and magazines. His current top seller is the sci-fi novel THE INVASION with 20,000 copies sold and counting.
Have you read The Exiled? Do leave a comment below I’d love to hear from you.
Bye for now,
Marje @ Kyrosmagica xx