Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Good Me Bad Me

Good Me Bad Me by Ali Land
Published by Penguin
August 2017


'NEW NAME. NEW FAMILY. SHINY. NEW. ME.'
Annie's mother is a serial killer. The only way Annie can make it stop is to hand her in to the police. 

With a new foster family and a new name - Milly - she hopes for a fresh start. Now, surely, she can be whoever she wants to be. But as her mother's trial looms, the secrets of Milly's past won't let her sleep . . . 

Because Milly's mother is a serial killer. And blood is thicker than water...

Milly has just arrived at the family home of Mike, Sasha and Phoebe Newmont.  Her mother is awaiting trial on 9 counts of child murder, and Milly (formally known as Annie) is in hiding.  Apart from her foster parents, no one knows who she is or the secrets that she is hiding.  It was tough reading the school scenes between Phoebe and Milly, the bullying, the hatred that seemed to flow towards Milly, and the way that she tried to cope with this.  However it isn't long before you start to wonder about Milly, about how much she knew about her mother's behaviour and what part, if any, she played in the deaths of these children.  She isn't a reliable narrator, as at time there are two voices running through the narrative.  Milly wants to be accepted by Mike and Sasha and when there is a glimmer that she might be about to lose that security again and be moved on, her actions speak louder than words.  Phoebe is right to be suspicious of this girl sharing her home, because there may be more to Milly than meets the eye. 
I didn't find this book as 'thrillerish' as I thought I would to be honest and at one point, Milly thinks her mother has escaped from prison and I thought the book might have been going down a different path, but it didn't pan out that way.  It was a okay read and there were parts of it I really enjoyed  but I think more could have been made of the trial itself and of the crimes committed by her mother, but in the end that isn't where the focus of the book lay; it was to do with Milly herself and maybe there was more there to be revealed?  However, I do disagree that this book is the "new The Girl on the Train" because it isn't; the two books are completely different and there is no comparison between the two.
Happy reading

Miss Chapters x

Monday, 16 October 2017

The Dry

The Dry by Jane Harper
Published by Abacus
June 2017


WHO REALLY KILLED THE HADLER FAMILY?

I just can't understand how someone like him could do something like that.
Amid the worst drought to ravage Australia in a century, it hasn't rained in small country town Kiewarra for two years. Tensions in the community become unbearable when three members of the Hadler family are brutally murdered. Everyone thinks Luke Hadler, who committed suicide after slaughtering his wife and six-year-old son, is guilty.
Policeman Aaron Falk returns to the town of his youth for the funeral of his childhood best friend, and is unwillingly drawn into the investigation. As questions mount and suspicion spreads through the town, Falk is forced to confront the community that rejected him twenty years earlier. Because Falk and Luke Hadler shared a secret, one which Luke's death threatens to unearth. And as Falk probes deeper into the killings, secrets from his past and why he left home bubble to the surface as he questions the truth of his friend's crime.

Karen and Billy Hadler have been found dead in their farmhouse, shot at point blank range it would seem by Luke Hadler, husband and father of the two victims.  Luke then drove his ute to a country lane and turned the gun on himself.  Kiewarra is a small town in Australia where everyone knows everyone and everyone knows each other's business.  This is a murder that is going to be talked about across town by every resident.  Aaron Falk was Luke's best friend when they were at school together, and at the request of Luke's father, he returns to Kiewarra for the funerals of Karen and Billy.  Aaron is not an altogether welcome visitor to his home town however, for some twenty years earlier, he and his father were driven out by the locals for the murder of Ellie Deacon, school friend of both Aaron and Luke whose body was found washed up in the lake that runs through Kiewarra.
Aaron is now a policeman and at the request of Luke's parents, begins to dig into the financial background of the Hadler family, desperate to find something to explain Luke's actions.  Alongside new resident Sergeant Raco they begin to investigate more thoroughly the murders and to probe more closely into the lives of the residents of Kiewarra.
The question is, will Falk and Raco discover who really did commit this crime, or will the ghosts of the past that haunt Aaron over the Deacon killing get the better of him before he has to leave?  After all, neither him nor Luke had a solid alibi on that day in question twenty years ago, and there are some in Kiewarra who know exactly why that is and aren't prepared to keep quiet any longer.
I really enjoyed The Dry especially as it helped to get me out of a reading slump.  The atmosphere of the drought, the need for rain and the fear that goes alongside this is ever present throughout the book.  There are some nasty characters here and you can feel the tension building as old scores are finally settled as the pages turn.  Did Luke Hadler kill his family though - only reading to the very end will answer that question but Jane Harper knows how to keep her readers enthralled right to the very end.  I'm looking forward to her next novel.

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x

Friday, 6 October 2017

Death in the Stars

Death in the Stars by Frances Brody
Published by Piatkus
October 2017


Yorkshire, 1927. Eclipse fever grips the nation, and when beloved theatre star Selina Fellini approaches trusted sleuth Kate Shackleton to accompany her to a viewing party at Giggleswick School Chapel, Kate suspects an ulterior motive.
During the eclipse, Selina's friend and co-star Billy Moffatt disappears and is later found dead in the chapel grounds. Kate can't help but dig deeper and soon learns that two other members of the theatre troupe died in similarly mysterious circumstances in the past year. With the help of Jim Sykes and Mrs Sugden, Kate sets about investigating the deaths - and whether there is a murderer in the company.
When Selina's elusive husband Jarrod, injured in the war and subject to violent mood swings, comes back on the scene, Kate begins to imagine something far deadlier at play, and wonders just who will be next to pay the ultimate price for fame . . .

Frances Brody is back with the 9th Kate Shackleton mystery.  This time Kate starts her adventure in Yorkshire, as a chaperone to the stage actress Selina Fellini.  Whilst observing the eclipse, Selina's friend Billy Moffatt, a well-known comedian disappears and later dies.  Selina is then forced to reveal to Kate that he is actually the third of her friends to meet an untimely death this year and she is worried for her own safety.  Can she employ Kate to investigate these incidents, and protect her well-being at the same time?

Frances Brody ties historical events well into her stories.  Set in 1927, the effects of the Great War are emerging amongst some of the men who fought, in this case, in the guise of Selina's husband Jarrod - can his mood swings be responsible for these deaths or it someone else close to the star responsible?  In the close-knit world of the theatre, Selina soons begins to fear who is friend and who is foe but Kate is never one to shy away from danger and is keen to investigate further.  The world of the Northern theatrical stages come to light as Selina continues to perform with the threat of death hanging over her every performance.  Oh, and as an after-read treat, there's a recipe to create your very own Eclipse Cocktail - what's not to enjoy?

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x 

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Dangerous Crossing

Dangerous Crossing by Rachel Rhys
Published by Black Swan
August 2017


England, September 1939
Lily Shepherd boards a cruise liner for a new life in Australia and is plunged into a world of cocktails, jazz and glamorous friends. But as the sun beats down, poisonous secrets begin to surface. Suddenly Lily finds herself trapped with nowhere to go ...

Australia, six-weeks later
The world is at war, the cruise liner docks, and a beautiful young woman is escorted onto dry land in handcuffs.

What has she done?

This is the first historical novel by author Tammy Cohen, writing under the pseudonym of Rachel Rhys and after this stunning debut, it surely won't be her last.  The book begins with a glamourous woman being escorted off of the ship Orontes after sailing from England to Australia during the summer of 1939.  We, the reader, know that a crime has been committed on board the ship but we do not know the name of the victim, nor the identity of the woman charged with murder.  Our central character is a young woman named Lily Shepherd, sailing for a new life in domestic service after a failed relationship.  On board she soon finds herself in the company of a dazzling pair of first class passengers, the Campbells.  Max and Eliza are on a second honeymoon and their flamboyant ways are soon the talk of the ship.  Lily's berth companions soon fade into the background as she begins to spend more and more time upstairs on the boat, accompanied by siblings Helena and Edward Fletcher.

As talk of an impeding war carries across the ship, can living in such close proximity to a group of strangers, and foreigners at that, ever really be a good thing?  One thing is certain though, sailing on the Orontes is to become a dangerous crossing for some.

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x