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Liz Loves Books.Com.

Book lover. Stephen King Fanatic. Will try anything once. General Lover of Fiction. Reviewer Everywhere.  All views my own. Mostly.

Currently reading

At Rope's End: A Dr. James Verraday Mystery
Edward Kay
Dear Charlie
Huw Parmenter, N. D. Gomes, HarperCollins Publishers Limited
How Will I Know You?: A Novel
Jessica Treadway
The Hanging Tree
Ben Aaronovitch

Everything Belongs to the Future.

Everything Belongs to the Future - Laurie Penny

A short sharp read from Laurie Penny here in a novella length story which I banged through during a working break - intriguing premise, nicely done, but I wanted more to be honest.

One thing that worked for me particularly was the Oxford setting which I know well, living as I do just outside of it, so the sense of place was strong and the Oxford Laurie Penny creates is a compelling one. In a world where you can have longevity of life if you have enough money to pay for it whilst everyone else lives in a rather ravaged world (global warming very current social comment there) a group of activists set out to change things.

Of course things don't go entirely to plan.

I loved what I read but it felt slightly unfocused because it was so short. The concept here could easily be a full length novel which would have allowed for more character development (although in fairness the author gets the sense of them across very quickly) and for more of the scientific speculative element which was so fascinating.

All in all though I enjoyed it very much. Quite thought provoking and a good way to kill some time when you only have a short reading while.

Recommended for the idea if not the execution.

The Roanoke Girls.

The Roanoke Girls: A Novel - Amy Engel

I don't even know where to start with this book so I'll give it some thought and come back to a full review another time.

This book broke me. Not entirely sure what I'm feeling right now.

Practically speaking, although I'm highly recommending it,  if you can't deal with the darkest of subjects, in the sense that you might genuinely not cope well, then I would not read this. Also this is not a thriller, although there is a mystery element.

It is beautifully written and will break your heart.

As I said. Highly Recommended.

Chaos is right.

Chaos: A Scarpetta Novel (Kay Scarpetta Mysteries) - Patricia Cornwell

Ok I've marked it as read but I've only read about 15% not even quite that. I don't know what this is but its nothing like a story. Garbled nonsense. It took me ages to work out what was actually HAPPENING in the first bit. Scarpetta walking to a thing, Marino yelling at her on the phone about a thing, or something. I'm still not clear on where she was walking TOO even though there was some rubbish about a lecture. I just don't get it. Then frankly I skipped forward a bit and still garbled there is no flow to it. I can't cope. Especially since there isnt even a case yet as far as I can see. Unless you count the lecture subject (Challenger) which seems to just be an excuse for people to be "after" Scarpetta again.

I keep getting dragged back in hopeful of some clarity from this once terrific author. I maybe should have stuck with it a bit more but frankly life is too short.

Someone Is Watching.

Someone Is Watching: A Novel - Joy Fielding

I havent read a Joy Fielding book before. Not sure why seeing as how she's bang in my comfort zone and is an established and well respected author but I guess thats the way it is sometimes. You really CAN'T read everything (although hey, I'm giving it my best shot) I'll read more though.

Someone is Watching was novel of 2 halves for me. Going in expecting a psychological thriller of the usual variety I found that it was both that and a story about the aftermath of Rape.

Bailey is a strong, independent woman who falls apart after being brutally attacked. Confined for a lot of the time to her apartment as she struggles to come to terms with her trauma, a lot of the novel focuses on her confusion, her post traumatic stress and her attempts to come back from that. This then leads into not only the mystery of who in fact attacked her but goes off on another tangent also - into dysfuntional family threads and personal relationships.

The strength of the book for me was that level. It was frustrating and emotional as Bailey second guesses everything, believes she is going crazy, cannot hang onto reality. Her family are at odds and have been for a long time, her brother Heath, her half brothers and sisters, all have no idea and in some cases no real interest in how to help her.

The mystery element for me was almost secondary. The resolution was fairly predictable to be honest but I'm not sure that matters realistically when you look at the novel as a whole.

It was certainly compelling - Joy Fielding has that brilliantly flowing, engaging style of writing that always appeals to me, it is certainly a page turner - but in my case not because I was wondering who did what to who but because I wanted to see Bailey recover, take back control of her life, not let the bad guy win.

Definitely recommended. Probably for the reason that actually for the most part this does NOT do what it says on the tin.

Little Deaths.

Little Deaths: A Novel - Emma Flint

For me, Little Deaths was a marvel of a novel. Poignant, thought provoking, beautifully written and engaging, also randomly rage inducing – I went through a spectrum of emotions reading Ruth’s story and at the end I was wrung out.


Also, warning: Will cause google mania as you look up the case that Emma Flint took her inspiration from. That is also extraordinarily fascinating. I have today purchased her recommended book on the subject.


Little Deaths starts with a tragedy – two missing children. I don’t think its really a spoiler to say there is not a happy ending for the tiny ones – what follows is a multi layered, insightful and scarily authentic dig around the court of public opinion, the influence of the press and the dogged determination of a police investigation headed up by an obsessed detective.


Set in Queens, New York  in the Summer of 1965 Emma Flint brings that time, that place, to beautiful, occasionally awful, always vivid life. You will see and hear it, find focus in the community surrounding Ruth as she faces every mothers worst nightmare. Ripples going outwards, infecting and affecting so many lives, this novel shows you all the nuances, those places inbetween, it was gripping, utterly gripping from the very first page. That did not go away.


I think it should be noted that in this reviewers opinion  if you are expecting a psychological thriller, a “whodunnit” then you won’t get that. Whilst there is resolution in a sense, whilst there is an element of “Did she Didn’t she” that is the peripheral of Little Deaths. Whilst still intriguing on that level the heart of it is in the characters, their influences, a snapshot of a time, a place, a judgement that one would hope we as a society would have left behind us now. We have not though as the cases glaring at us from todays headlines prove all the time.


I’m back to Little Deaths is a marvel of a novel. Literary crime with a dash of eloquence and a story rooted in the truths we don’t like to think about.


Highly Recommended

The End of the World Running Club...

The End of the World Running Club - Adrian J Walker

Before reading "The End of the World Running Club" I'd heard a few things about it, both good and bad, turns out that it gets points from me mostly for addictive quality and for its main character, Edgar, who seems to have divided opinion - but who I loved because he was so utterly whiny yet absolutely determined.

Poor Edgar. Really. He drinks a fair bit and is not that fit, he's not particularly happy with his lot in life, finding family life somewhat mundane. Cue fiery asteroids from outer space decimating the UK and elsewhere, enforcing upon him some kind of actual responsibility.

The beginning of this novel was superbly engrossing, as things go pear shaped in spectacular fashion, descriptively you are right in there with the desperate survivors, I read the first 25% of this novel in record time. Then things settle down somewhat with more introspection from Edgar when his family are swooped away and he has little time to do anything except, well, run after them.

Teaming up with a hotch potch of other survivors a kind of twisted type of road trip begins as Edgar attempts to catch up to his family before they are beyond his reach. Literally by running after them. Across destroyed landscape, facing down danger and erm ok he's still a bit whiny really. But it is SO ENGAGING. The rest of the story also encompasses a sort of coming of age for Edgar as he realises what is actually important, hey it doesnt matter how old you are you can still suddenly come into your own. I liked this aspect of the story very much.

As for Bryce well. I'm not even going to go into that, he was our light relief and our conscience in a lot of ways - definitely a character I'd like to know more about away from the rest. Little small request to the author there perhaps?

Overall I really enjoyed this one, I read it over 2 sittings whilst gulping down lots of cups of tea, it is one of those books that you just bang through because you have to know where the journey ends. I was rooting for Edgar and wanting to slap him for the majority of the time, equalling a recommended tag from me.

Tell me no Lies

Tell Me No Lies - Lisa Hall

Tell Me No Lies is a psychological mystery with bite that kept me turning turning those pages, to see whether it was madness or messing that was the cause of all Steph’s problems – loved how Lisa Hall wrote it so it really could have been either.


Making a new life start, Steph hopes to leave her rather emotional past behind her, but odd things keep happening and she can’t really trust anyone – least of all herself. As a reader I didn’t trust anyone either and whilst I was ultimately right about who was doing what to who and why I always felt there was a slight chance I was wrong, a lot of this story is highly unsettling which is what you want from a psychological thriller.


It is one of those books that flies by you in no time, getting engrossed into this tale of woe was no problem at all. Add a bit of a killer ending (if I had one bugbear it was that it was very sudden and possibly unlikely due to some other events) that makes you go OH NO and you’ve got a banging read.


Really enjoyed it. One for a rainy sunday afternoon (of which we will have plenty living here in the UK) when you want to curl up with a good book and lose the world for a while.

Rather Be The Devil.

Rather be the Devil - Ian Rankin

I was a late arrival to the novels of Ian Rankin, it is probably only the last few years I've been reading them avidly, despite the longevity of the series, but hey I'm all caught up now and being late to the party is better than never arriving at all.

The thing with the Rebus series and the writing of Ian Rankin is that it is totally insidious in its creativity - you kind of get hooked without realising you ARE hooked until the next book comes along and you devour it with all the ferocity of a true believer. Well ok maybe thats just me...

Anyway astonishingly this is Rebus 21 and whilst he's not as young as he used to be he is just as tenacious and entirely adorable (ok maybe adorable is not QUITE the right word but its what I've got at the moment) I'm also rather fond and growing fonder of Malcolm Fox - so realistically this novel was always going to be one I was likely to enjoy.

And enjoy it I did - I see no need to go into huge depth on the story, thats what the reading of it is for, but suffice to say the authors trademark dark and devious plotting is out in full force, the characters live and breathe (I'm not sure how bad it is that I often end up feeling rather sympathetic towards the "bad" guys ) and Rebus despite having some fairly troubling personal distractions and not being officially anything, still goes after his man. Or woman. Or any poor soul doing their due diligence when trying to get away with murder.

Entirely brilliant writing, these will endure because they are kind of timeless even as they keep up with the times. Each one is a fully immersive experience and rather than lessening in impact or quality they just grow in both those things.

I'll be sorry when Rebus inevitably has to head for the hills, but the world Ian Rankin has created here, in setting, authenticity and background won't be going anywhere anytime soon, there are I'm sure a lot more stories to tell. And Rebus, the old dog, has quite a lot of life in him yet I'd say...

Highly Recommended.

From first book to last.

Too Close For Comfort...

Too Close for Comfort - Eleanor Moran

Too Close For Comfort was an intriguing and genuinely absorbing psychological drama (I don't want the say thriller because this is more considered than that) about a group of friends who are caught up in a whole lot of secrets and lies.

A possible suicide takes Mia Cosgrove to the small close knit community in which her best friend from childhood lives - Lysette is grieving and needs support - but Mia finds herself caught up in a group dynamic that is baffling and even possibly dangerous.

I like how Eleanor Moran twists and turns her characters, giving them depth and an enigmatic quality that slowly unravels as you read. Mia attempts to get to the truth but the truth is buried beneath many layers of both grief and perception. Mia herself is an intriguing character, not always entirely likeable but determined to help Lysette no matter the cost.

This makes for some fascinating plot development and my engagement with all the characters varied between intense dislike, sympathy and occasionally wanting to throw shoes. To me that shows great writing and a great story, you get enveloped into it and feel every moment.

If I had one nitpick it would be that the ending was not entirely convincing in its eventual reveal but that really is nitpicking because this one wasnt about the reveal moments. It was about the interpersonal relationships and the ever changing ebb and flow of female friendship.

Recommended. Proper storytelling.

Present Tense

Present Tense (A 'Best Defence' Novel) - William H.S. McIntyre

Present Tense was glorious. Loved it. I'm a fan of legal drama/thrillers and there has been a distinct lack of good ones around lately. Then here is Present Tense..

So Robbie Munro then. Going to be firmly on my list of favourite fictional characters for sure. He's funny, a little bit dark, a gorgeous amount of realistic and so readable I barely put this down. Add in some great plotting, a perfect mix of legal, mystery and family shenanigans and really whats not to love?

The setting is great, the background obviously authentic (unsurprising considering the authors background) I loved the vagaries of law and the ironic dual sense William McIntyre brings to proceedings. He also throws a terrifically intriguing mystery into the mix and manages to make the whole thing a whole load of fun. Which is not to say it doesnt have its serious side - it does. This is dark humour, ironic humour, the kind you need when dealing with the things lawyers deal with.

The crime elements aside I also got totally caught up in Robbie's life and interpersonal relationships. Grace his secretary (brilliant) his Dad (double brilliant) his brother (made me smile every time he appeared) and the rest (we'll talk about Joanna when I've stopped laughing at the last few paragraphs you might have to wait for that) it was all so so enticing. Fatherhood is also a narrative strand here and all parents everywhere will completely empathise with the whole Christmas present drama.

Overall utterly enthralling. Banging as I like to say. More soon please.

Highly Recommended.

The Intrusions...

The Intrusions (Carrigan & Miller) - Stav Sherez

The Intrusions is a joy to read even through the fear (switches computer off, deletes all social media never uses a credit card again fear) because as usual for this particular author it is so beautifully written both in style and substance that the world just goes away.


I’ve loved all the books but I am particularly fond of the Carrigan and Miller series because of the beautifully flawed, memorable characters – and I’m not just talking about the main pair here – the gritty yet gorgeous realism ingrained into the storytelling and the fascinating, socially relevant subject matters covered. In the case of The Intrusions my eyes were opened to many many things and this one kept me up at night. Is still keeping me up at night. Will probably keep me up at night for a while.


Its not always about the crime when you read a crime book – not with the good ones anyway and oh boy is this a good one – but often about what lies beneath the crime – within the people, victims and others, a kind of peeling back of the layers of humanity, something which Stav Sherez does all too well. Razor sharp and brilliantly insightful, The Intrusions will take you to the dark side, a place that is sadly all too real.


The plot twists unexpectedly without having to shout about it, the characters who we know progress down an ever more challenging path, the ending is subtle but stunning in its impact and the entire thing is just a little bit epic. That was my smallest childs word by the way – I asked him how he would describe something that he thought was one of the best things ever  – his answer, “that was epic”


The Intrusions


That was epic…

The Beautiful Dead...

The Beautiful Dead - Belinda Bauer

The Beautiful Dead is another one sitting brilliantly absorbing crime drama from the pen of Belinda Bauer - right at the top of the game in the crime genre right now and this one is an absolute corker.

I mean you can't go wrong really when the story is utterly addictive, the characters utterly divinely authentic and the plot is unpredictable with no compromise on the fear factor with a genuinely fascinating concept.

The serial killer thriller is not new. Yet somehow Ms Bauer manages to make it FEEL new especially when its not really about that. Or not for me anyway. For me it was all about Eve (yes I did that) and her struggle to manage a relative with dementia, a hard hitting and uncompromising career and her own self doubt. When she inadvertantly comes to the attention of a madman she is tested to her limits - and this is where the author comes into her own - making you feel every moment of Eve's inner struggle and outer actions.

Peppered with a strong and intriguing supporting cast, a fast moving and often edge of the seat plot and a killer whose motivations are just as compelling as the woman he obsesses over, The Beautiful Dead just rocks on every level. Awesome reading. Brilliant writing.

Thats all folks!

The Appearance of Murder...

The Appearance of Murder - John Nightingale

I enjoyed The Appearance of Murder - although I admittedly thought it had quite a strange narrative flow that I couldn't quite get to grips with.

It is a mish mash of old school and modern - the story itself, that of a crime writer with a gap in his memory who gets caught up in the possibility of an actual murder in his past - all whilst attempting to write his latest police prodedural was an excellent premise and worked very well on most levels.

It is a gentle read for sure, one for those who like their crime less bloody and more character study but it never really got going on all cylinders for me. Having said that it is a solid 3* read with good plotting and an unpredictable outcome. So I'll be looking for more from this author to see whats what.

Sirens....BOOK TRAUMA.

Sirens - Joseph B. Knox

Ok so I’ve been sat here for a while having no earthly idea what to say about Sirens that could possibly get across how emotionally traumatised I am right now having been put through the wringer by debut author Joseph Knox – with whom I shall be having words. Serious words. Here we are (at time of writing) gone 11pm on a Sunday night and I seriously doubt I’ll be sleeping anytime soon. Someone for the love of everything send me all the ice cream…


I can’t remember the last time I read a crime novel that was quite definitively a crime novel but at no point felt like one to me -from the opening salvo until I finally put it down my life was irrevocably linked to the lives of the characters that live within the pages, to Manchester where they reside and to the story unfolding before me. The writing is stunningly immersive, dark yet beautiful, violently gripping and the emotional resonance does not let up for a single second.


The whole thing will haunt me, I just know it will – you always know when those books come along, the ones that stay with you, this one will do that. If you are going to ask me why then the answer is no idea.


Possibly it lies with Detective Aiden Waits who outwardly is your usual damaged detective but don’t let the blurb fool you, there is nothing standard about this character. Just wait. Yes I did that.


Possibly it is the Sirens of the title – the girls who live a dangerous and knifes edge life within the drug trade – it might even be the dangerous men at the heart of THEM – maybe just maybe its the city. The living city which breathes around them.


Take your pick.


The plotting is taut and authentic, nothing is unlikely, everything is horribly gorgeously realistic but the writing talent comes often in the sparsity of prose used to create a mental image. With a few sentences Joseph Knox creates a whole world of emotion, often less is more – he hits you right in the gut dammit, not just occasionally with a twist or a turn but every blinking moment. There were times during the reading of it that I literally forgot to breathe and had to take a sudden gulp. Look now I’m back in it, where is that darned ice cream already…


For those of you reading this who know me just think back to the last few books I’ve been fanatical about and accept your fate – you WILL be reading Sirens whether you like it or not. YOU WILL THANK ME I PROMISE because…


Sirens is intense, twisted, gorgeous and heart breaking on so many levels that I cannot even begin to speak to them here.


HIGHLY Recommended.

Don't be a stranger to Strangers....

Strangers - Paul Finch

So, a new main protagonist for Paul Finch then and I was really? But I want Heck. Now I’m all “GIVE ME MORE LUCY” because this book was excellent.


Its a most addictive story, peppered with memorable characters and with some truly edge of the seat action moments during which I caught myself actively clutching my hair. If I go bald we’ll know who to blame. Also an interesting and fascinating premise – the female serial killer – is only one part of a multi-layered and endlessly intriguing plot line.


Sat at the centre is Lucy Clayburn, she REALLY wants to be a detective. I mean really. She tends to end up in hot water though but hey that won’t stop her so when she is offered the chance to redeem her somewhat tarnished reputation and get back on her chosen career track she jumps at it. Cue many shenanigans which I’m not going to tell you anything about. I COULD tell you but then I’d have to kill you. Just go with the flow. You won’t regret it.


The writing as ever is darkly intuitive – this is what makes me a Paul Finch fan – its got a kind of underlying humerous edgy feel to it which sends you deep into the story and glues you to the page. Characters are always key and this author knows how to create the ones that stick in your head, occasionally irrationally irritate you (in the best reading way) and who you bond with completely practically from page one. And I’m not only talking the good guys…


Overall Strangers is just damned good crime fiction. DAMNED good. Peter James calls Paul Finch a “born storyteller”. That Peter James has a good eye…


Don’t be a stranger to Strangers – you’ll be missing out on a banging good read and really, we can’t have that.



Vigil - Angela Slatter
 I do love a good Urban Fantasy me and this one, set in Brisbane, is totally rocking. Excellent setting, brilliant world building and a main character I adored.


Verity Fassbinder is sharp, witty and different – half human half Weyrd she hovers between two worlds sorting out problems, keeping people (and everything else) in line. Well, kind of. She lives in the shadow of her good old Dad, doesnt suffer fools gladly and is impulsive enough to often get into trouble. Loved her.


The layers built into this imaginary world are rich and enticing – I especially enjoyed the politics of the Weyrd world, kind of like our own but with added spells and stuff.  Descriptively speaking Vigil is a joy to read, Angela Slatter brings Brisbane to life in a beautifully fascinating way.


The story itself is highly addictive with lots of action and magical mayhem, enough reality to keep you grounded, an often emotional tug on the heartstrings and plenty going on – a near perfect set up to what I hope will be a long running series. The supporting cast of characters are all totally banging (loved The Boatman more of him please) – Vigil will cast its own spell on you as you read and you will be utterly captivated.


This is what I like. Those days where the world we live in gets just a little too much, books like Vigil are exactly what you need to escape the rain. Although watch out for them there Angels. They may be watching and you’d never know it…


Highly Recommended.