Catherine has been enjoying the single life for long enough to know a good catch when she sees one. Gorgeous, charismatic, spontaneous – Lee seems almost too perfect to be true. And her friends clearly agree, as each in turn falls under his spell. But there is a darker side to Lee. His erratic, controlling and sometimes frightening behaviour means that Catherine is increasingly isolated. Driven into the darkest corner of her world, and trusting no one, she plans a meticulous escape.
Subtle, gradually developing exploration of domestic violence and the psychological effects of terror and trauma. I was very hesitant to give it a try because of the subject matter, but found it educational and interesting—and well read and well written—even if the bottom line was quite disturbing. And the psychological development of the lead character was absorbing and uplifting. So glad I took the chance.
Detective Esa Khattak is in the midst of his evening prayers when he receives a phone call asking that he and his partner Detective Rachel Getty look into the death of a local man who has fallen off a cliff. At first Christopher Drayton's death - which looks like an accident - doesn't seem to warrant a police investigation, especially not from Khattak and Rachel's team, which handles minority-sensitive cases.
I love historical and internationally-based mysteries so that I am learning something new along the way. Khan’s Getty & Khattak novels are really compelling in this way, with appealing characters negotiating serious human rights issues, like here the genocide in Bosnia, and in Dangerous Crossing, the Syrian refugee crisis. While these topics might be for some too intense the mystery genre, I think Khan pulls it off with a delicate balance of fiction and well-researched non-fiction. I like her author’s notes at the end where she explains that balance and offers further reading, some of which I already plan to pursue with my next credit. I did like Dangerous Crossing more than this one, but I plan to read them all.
Pak Jun Do is the haunted son of a lost mother - a singer “stolen” to Pyongyang - and an influential father who runs Long Tomorrows, a work camp for orphans. There the boy is given his first taste of power, picking which orphans eat first and which will be lent out for manual labor. Recognized for his loyalty and keen instincts, Jun Do comes to the attention of superiors in the state, rises in the ranks, and starts on a road from which there will be no return.
Very interesting setting and premise, but fell short for me. The characters weren’t well developed enough for 19 hours, I ended up not really caring toward the end, which was disappointing given the reviews and the long build up.
Frightening, heartbreaking, and exquisitely calibrated, John le Carré's new novel opens with the gruesome murder of the young and beautiful Tessa Quayle near northern Kenya's Lake Turkana, the birthplace of mankind. Her putative African lover and traveling companion, a doctor with one of the aid agencies, has vanished from the scene of the crime. Tessa's much older husband, Justin, a career diplomat at the British High Commission in Nairobi, sets out on a personal odyssey in pursuit of the killers and their motive.
Although it’s hard to complain with le Carre, I’ve had enough of Smiley/Cold War Europe, and his two books exploring post-colonial Africa (this and Mission Song) showcase the breadth of his talent and provide a great change of pace. Here, the mystery involves corporate greed, pharmaceuticals and developing world public health and is all-too believable. I did tire of having the narration driven by insipid English diplomatic types, but heavy doses of irony made it mostly amusing, and by indirection expressed the moral outrage of the author.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Set in the 1970s in a run-down, rainy, industrial town, Jo Nesbo's Macbeth centers around a police force struggling to shed an incessant drug problem. Duncan, chief of police, is idealistic and visionary, a dream to the townspeople but a nightmare for criminals. The drug trade is ruled by two drug lords, one of whom - a master of manipulation named Hecate - has connections with the highest in power and plans to use them to get his way.
I wasn’t as interested in what Nesbo did or didn’t do with the play, but more whether it could work as a stand alone crime novel, and for me it really did.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
In 1558 the ancient stones of Kingsbridge Cathedral look down on a city torn apart by religious conflict. As power in England shifts precariously between Catholics and Protestants, high principles clash bloodily with friendship, loyalty, and love. Ned Willard wants nothing more than to marry Margery Fitzgerald. But when the lovers find themselves on opposing sides of the religious divide sweeping across the country, Ned goes to work for Princess Elizabeth. When she becomes queen, all Europe turns against England.
Follett and Lee are a winning combination for hours of historical fiction fun, and I’ve now read the two trilogies with full satisfaction. The religious/political context of Elizabethan England in this one particularly interesting. Characters are skillfully developed so you care what happens as suspense and romance unfold. Narration so clear and briskly keeps things going. A great use of a credit because you get so much quantity without any drop in quality.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Captain Sam Wyndham, former Scotland Yard detective, is a new arrival to Calcutta. Desperately seeking a fresh start after his experiences during the Great War, Wyndham has been recruited to head up a new post in the police force. He is immediately overwhelmed by the heady vibrancy of the tropical city, but with barely a moment to acclimatize or to deal with the ghosts that still haunt him, Wyndham is caught up in a murder investigation that threatens to destabilize a city already teetering on the brink of political insurgency.
I’m a fan of historical fiction, and some of my favorites are Ken Follet, Hilary Mantel, and Robert Harris. This one is very competitive. A page turner with well placed irony and insight about colonial India. The narration was so well done to develop the rough but grudgingly warm and witty main character, and to distinguish the surrounding cast. I really hope the author comes back with the same crew.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
This much we do know: Sophie Toscan du Plantier was murdered days before Christmas in 1996, her broken body discovered at the edge of her property near the town of Schull in West Cork, Ireland. The rest remains a mystery. Gripping, yet ever elusive, join the real-life hunt for answers in the year’s first not-to-be-missed, true-crime series.
I don’t usually read true crime but this free trial from Audible was outstanding. Careful attention to setting, psychology and legal procedure done with pleasing British narration elevates a murder mystery into a deeper reflection on culture and morality. It was mildly annoying that the full cast and credits are detailed after each episode, but those people do deserve the credit.
Rachel Jenner is walking in a Bristol park with her eight-year-old son, Ben, when he asks if he can run ahead. It's an ordinary request on an ordinary Sunday afternoon, and Rachel has no reason to worry - until Ben vanishes. Police are called, search parties go out, and Rachel, already insecure after her recent divorce, feels herself coming undone. As hours and then days pass without a sign of Ben, everyone who knew him is called into question, from Rachel's newly married ex-husband to her mother-of-the-year sister.
It was pretty well written and diverting most of the way through, clumsier toward the end with a forced epilogue to tie up loose ends. It didn’t make me annoyed about using a credit but I wouldn’t really recommend it.
From the New York Times best-selling author of Chasing the Scream, a radically new way of thinking about depression and anxiety. What really causes depression and anxiety - and how can we really solve them?
For those of us who have experienced depression as a personal crisis, and for all of us who need to recognize it as a public health crisis. Hari is a brilliant investigative journalist (see Chasing the Scream, about addiction) who brings his personal experience, taut and engaging research style, and profound empathy to this widespread but yet hidden malady. The medical and pharmaceutical model of depression is just not supported by the research, and Hari discusses 9 other causes/contexts for understanding depression that are backed by scientific evidence. From the treatment perspective, not much mention of CBT, DBT or mindfulness practice might be a flaw in the book to some. Current practices in psychiatry and psychology are not quite as drug reliant as Hari suggests. But almost. For a book about such a weighty and, yes, depressing topic, it trips along like an adventure story as research findings are tracked down and humane and personable scientists are interviewed. The narration is pleasant, earnest but never harping. Well worth the credit on all counts.
22 of 23 people found this review helpful